Hello! Sean Bierle again... just wanted to report on a recent rafting trip I helped lead down in N. Cali. For the past three years, I have head to California for the last two weeks of May to help lead a two-week rafting trip for a group of graduating high school seniors. The trip is always a blast because the whitewater is great and the students are at a really unique time in their lives. This year, the water levels were incredible, allowing us to hit up several stretches on the Klamath River, Clear Creek, the Methodist Creek section of the S.F. Cal Salmon, Butler's on the Cal Salmon, and the Pigeon Point run on the Trinity.
Just prior to this trip, I received the new football-shaped throwbags from WRSI and was excited to try them out. First, since there were a bunch of high school guys who were football players, we tried it out on the ground. We had trouble getting a perfect spiral, but had a blast tossing it around.
The real test came when I needed to use it for real in a live rescue situation. On the Cal Salmon there is a rapid called "Overhang" which punishes rafts that go into it. It is notoriously sticky, and every year I've been down on the river I've seen rafts spend minutes surfing, unintentionally doing tricks I'd struggle to pull off in a kayak. Well, this year, our group had our fair share of rafts going into the hole, and I was stationed at the bottom of the rapid with the bag. I managed to tag a couple of swimmers, really feeling accurate with the easy-to-throw design.
Also, when one raft was surfing in the hole, I threw my bag to the guide in the stuck raft. He held onto one end of the line and I had the other while my crew paddled our raft furiously downstream. We actually towed the stuck raft right out of the hole! I wish we had video of it, because it was incredible.
We're looking forward to the great water levels here in Idaho now, and plan on putting our WRSI gear to good use.