Team member Chelsey reporting:
After an amazing trip to California, we are now back in Flagstaff! Santa Barbara kicked off our training schedule with a waterfall run, in which we ran up a mountain and then back down as fast as we could. This entailed jumping off of 7 waterfalls, the highest being about 15 feet!
It was well worth getting poison oak in my belly button. It is quite fascinating to have yellow puss ooze out of your your bellybutton. The next few days we worked on all of our skills- from paddling to biking to acro to slacklining to dumpster diving... We left Santa Barbara fully satisfied and eager to get back to AZ for some rafting as the rivers were going off from the recent warm spell!
We drove through the night, just in time to get back for a good kiting session. The boys went out for one of their best kiting sessions ever while I stayed home and endured the masochistic pleasure of rubbing my belly button raw with Zanfel.
By morning I was able to endure my oak enough for a good day on the river. It was going to be a nice chill day on the river. Well, that's what I thought, but I forgot who we were...
Oak Creek Canyon has a sweet 8 mile creek run, mostly class III/IV and Jason and I had ran it a few weeks before with some friends, but it was a lot lower than it was now. Nonetheless we all got geared up and amped to get on the river! The first few rapids proved to be fun and exciting. It was my 2nd time trying out a packraft, so at first I was a little timid. By the 4th rapid, I was feeling pretty good and decided to take the lead. The next rapid was called the slide, and the last time we ran it it was just a little wave train. "Right down the middle right?" I yelled back to Jason- "Sure". Ok... I scooted forward in my boat and started to paddle through the waves. Right after the 2nd wave I came upon a huge hole. There was no way for me to miss it, so I just T'd up to the massive thing and hoped for the best... Before I knew it I was side surfing and spinning for a good 30 seconds. Jason came in right after me and tried to push me out with his boat, no such luck. Then came Sam, there was no way he was following my line, so he skirted it to the right. Before Tom came through I had made it out of the hole without my boat and paddle. My boat was still stuck in the hole and my paddle had eddied out on it's own luckily! We all got out and hiked back up to the hole. After about 5- 10 more minutes the hole finally let the boat go- but as soon as we retrieved my boat, Jason's boat decided to float down the river on it's own. Jason had left his boat in a pretty precarious spot. Tom ran after his boat and was able to retrieve it... but his paddle had taken off.
Tom, Sam and I took off in a mission to find his paddle, while Jason hiked out of the canyon. We searched everywhere, but by the time we got to takeout, there was no sign of it.
We found Jason still in his wet suit sitting on the side of the river looking a little depressed. We tried cheering him up with some cookies (courtesy of the TJ's dumpster), but that was no use. He wanted to go back down and search all of the eddies himself. I opted to go with him. So while Sam and Tom drove home, Jason and I started part 2 of our adventure. We hiked down the canyon and along the blackberry infested shore for the next three hours searching every eddy... no sign. By the time it got dark and both of us couldn't take another step through the thorny bushes, we called it a night.
Since then we have had more adventures,a stuck chain in a bicycle tire, 5 flat tires, a torn spray skirt on a boat, and some broken peddles. It has all made for some great training days! We have learned so much- from fixing a torn spray skirt to mounting ski bindings (dynafit).... what is next? It seems like we are backlogged at least a dozen blogs!!!