Day 77

Wednesday, August 10, 2005Cascade Locks, OR
Miles: 9004Wheeeee!
In a last ditch effort to get on a whitewater trip before leaving Maupin, we stopped at High Desert Rafting Outfitters and waited for the office to open at 8. When no one appeared at 8, Keath checked around for employees and found out from a guide that the office didn’t really open until 8:30. At 8:30, we wandered into the office and ran into the guide manager, who had just woken up. He told us that he could fit us on a trip, but that we would have to wait until 9 for the office to open. We waited, and around 9:15 we were all signed up to get on a raft.

The other people that were waiting seemed to be very annoying. They were a family originally from New Jersey, and they had 6 teenagers and 5 adults who were very concerned about when and where they could drink their beer. At 10 am. We secretly hoped that we would be on the boat with the teenagers, but it was not to happen. The five adults and us piled into a raft with a guide named Kim and headed off down the river. We soon learned that the trip was made a whole lot more fun by our slightly inebriated companions, as they were loud and interested in having water cannon fights with their offspring. Since it was sunny and hot, any of the frigid water that got splashed on us felt very good.

The raft trip included a trip down a natural water slide, which we both did twice, and a ride through Upper Elevator Rapids, which we also both did twice. Sadly, there is no photographic evidence of any of this, since we were too wussy to take our digital camera on the wet, wet ride. But we had a marvelous time going through rapids, despite two minor injuries. Ceridwen jammed her thumb while going through Boxcar Rapids, and Keath hit his elbow on the rocks while going down the natural water slide. Other than that, we came out in one piece and were on our way around 4 pm.

Our original plan was to stop at The Dalles, a town along the Columbia River, but it was deemed unexciting and we pressed on along quite possibly the windiest road in America. When we dipped into the gorge, the hated sage brush was blessedly replaced by Pacific Northwest conifers. Aah, woods. The highway runs right along the Columbia River Gorge and the wind just rips through, blowing vehicles higgledy-piggledy. Craziness. We finally stopped in Hood River and had a nice dinner overlooking the river. We then went and set up camp in the middle of the woods right off the river. The good news was that it was far enough away from the river to be less windy and far enough from the train tracks to be quiet, but the desolation and the blowing pines creeped Ceridwen out at around 3am and, with visions of Twin Peaks' Bob in her head, she found it very difficult to get back to sleep. Her over active imagination took over from there a rather sleepless night ensued.