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Yes, Here!

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One dump or two?

Yes, Here!

We were not very water savvy due mostly to not being blessed with enough deep water to learn to swim. In my teenage years, this began to change through visits to swimming pools and making friends with the Layborn’s, who were passionate white water enthusiasts.

I eventually bought a 17-foot aluminum canoe, and we found a favorite float trip down Wendover Canyon above Gurnsey Dam on the Platte River. Most of this trip was like the river’s name, flat, but in the canyon, there were 3 or 4 rapids worth running. One weekend I decided to bring Mom along on the trip for a change.

All went well as we looked at deer and antelope along the river banks, ate lunch on the water and generally enjoyed the peaceful float. As the canyon approached, we prepared for the brief thrill of shooting the rapids.

The first rapid was small and easily navigated, but the major rapid was yet to come. This was a typical river bend turn and back eddy rapid with 4 or 5 large rollers hugging the right-hand side. A direct run of the rollers wasn't advisable since you would take on enough water over the gunnel's to maybe swamp the canoe. The far left wasn't advisable either as the shallows had many rocks waiting to snag the canoe and upset it in mid-rapid.

I decided to take a conservative route, splitting the middle, to the left but not too shallow and try to shoot into the backwater thus avoiding the rollers. All went well as I lined up the canoe for our run. I hit my spot perfectly, and we began the run.

CRUNCH! A huge boulder snagged the bow of the canoe and held the bow fast as the stern came around to starboard hard, and the port gunwale dipped into the upstream side. BRUNCH! The stern suddenly grounded on a second boulder! There we were, pinned on two boulders, gunwales tilted upstream, so we had the whole river coming in the canoe. Mom was obviously completely lost as to what to do next. I was deciding just what to do when she asked for direction.

“What do we do now?!”

To which I answered calmly, “We get out.”

“HERE?!”

“Yes.”

I assisted her to the left-hand bank where she helped me find a long pole and using it as a pry bar; we freed the canoe from the clutches of the boulders. I then jumped in and swam after the canoe. Catching it, I guided it to the shallows, emptied out the water, and popped out a huge dent. I then paddled back upstream to dry out, and after reloading the canoe, we resumed our interrupted trip.

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Copyright © Copyright © 2016 by Vernon Fawcett

All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the copyright owner, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below.

Vern Fawcett
710 Charter Place
Charlotte NC. 28211

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