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white water rafting

White Water Rafting Along the Chico River August 6, 2006 Sunday

hite Water Rafting Along the Chico River

Steve Rogers texts me an invite to go white water rafting this Sunday along the raging waters of the Chico River from Dantay to Bontoc. I haven't done this thing before but I've always wanted to give it a try. Without having to beg on all 4s for an invite, I get it. How could I refuse?

With Siegrid, Rachel and a friend, we loaded up 2 cars and headed down to Dantay. Because of the on-going rains, the river is at its high level, allowing for white water rafting. This would not have been possible during the summer months. It was an 8 kilometer stretch of the river that more or less paralleled the road.

Who Drives the Car?
Rafting is not without its challanges even from its logistical standpoint. From what I've seen, transportation should be available on the destination site to load us all + raft and equipment. Who's driving there? If the driver wants to join, how does he get back?

Portaging
We pumped the raft and carried it from the main road to the river bank. It was only a short walk, but according to Steve, there are times when the raft needed to be carried at a distance...it's not exactly light.

Benevolent Dictatorship
The way it works is, one guy (Steve) acts as taskmaster and rudderman while everyone else paddles in compliance to the command. It's not a democracy. He could call for 2 paddle strokes on the left or right, or maybe even to back paddle. The point is not to be at the same speed as the current since that would render the ruddering useless. At times, he would yell 'hard paddle' - that requires almost an explosive output from everyone to generate an immediate thrust. Responsiveness is crucial since unlike a kayak, a big raft cannot turn on a dime.

River Run
After a few dry-runs (pun intended!), we started paddling down. It wasn't long before we hit the first of many raging sections. It was a walk in the park for Steve but it was a white-knuckle roller coaster ride for me...and there was more to come! We hit white water after white water as Steve navigated the raft to slalom around the rocks up ahead. One section was strong enough to knock Rachel off the raft! Along the river bank, we saw sites that couldn't be appreciated from road level - sandy beach portions, bayawak (monitor lizards), hidden falls, etc.

Ending Thoughts
Wow...the exhilaration reminded me of my early days in mountain biking. I was so pumped and stoked, I couldn't stop talking about it. The best part is, it's only a trial run for the bigger waters upriver. Steve is planning on bringing in 2 more people to provide more thrust. Yeah...can't wait.

--- TheLoneRider

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