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  1. Default When things go wrong

    Sit down with your favorite beverage, snuggle up and enjoy.

    A couple of weeks ago a buddy and I decided to head to ID to hit a section of water we have been eyeing for the last couple of years. Life, family, jobs had kept us from making this trip in the past but we finally committed and at about 5am the reality of the trip hit as I got out of bed, already awake due to the anticipation and I quickly jumped in the shower to try and make myself feel alert.

    My buddy showed up on time, as usual, and I as usual, was still throwing stuff into packs and bins as I was throwing them into the back of his truck. We made the 4hr drive and navigated the dirt farm roads via google MAPS and arrived at our location at about 10:30am. We were anticipating summer fishing; wet wading, t-shirts, swim shorts, and the thought of taking a dip in the cool water to cool ourselves off. However, when we arrived we found the exact opposite. I had on a pair of jeans and a flannel shirt, getting out of the truck to start gearing up the first thing I went for was my pack with my jacket, it was cold and the wind was biting! We dealt with 40+ MPH wind as we pumped up our boat, organized our gear and put on waders, which were an afterthought for this trip.

    This particular section of water, I am sure a lot of folks here know of it, has a BRUTAL 1,000FT decent to the river, which you have to drag, pull, throw, drop, shove, ride your boat the whole way down. Yeeehaaaw. We would go a couple of hundred feet then take a break, go another couple hundred and take break. We were trying to be easy on the boat as it was loaded down with gear, so we were trying to lift the front by the frame to try and reduce the weight being dragged. This worked, but it also made us extremely tired. After about ½ way down it starts to get steeper and there are drop-offs/cliff you have to get your boat down. We did this by me holding the front of the boat and slowly sliding it through my hands then my buddy would run ahead as I passed it through and he would grab the front and we did this leap frog technique with a lot of success getting down some of the bigger drops. We got down to one drop that had a couple of rocks 2-3 feet tall right above the main drop, kind of like a couple of stairs before the drop. I stepped down the two boulders to edge of the cliff and told my buddy to start letting the boat slide, I had a good grip, the boat was slowly sliding and it was about ¾ the way down when I started to lose my footing, I told my buddy to grab the boat as I needed to readjust, “I got it” he says, so I let go of the boat, he had it by the back center handle and was slowly lowering the boat the rest of the way, well I don’t think he saw the stair type rocks right above the main drop, so as he came over the first rock he kind of stumbled and fell forward, still holding the boat. He told me later, he FULLY expected his boat to hit the bottom of the drop before the back of the boat went over the edge. Well, that didn’t happen, the boat’s nose was still about 4-5 feet from touching ground and my buddy just kind of let go of the boat, but did not release his grip, so as the boat surged forward over the edge it took my buddy with it. This boat is 16ft long, and it didn’t bottom out, so I am guessing the particular drop was around 20ft, with nothing but death below, large sharp rocks the size of microwaves to the size of a freezer were scattered at the bottom of this drop. As I watched my buddy go over the edge all I could do was yell “OH SH*T, DEREK!” then what happened next is one of the most amazing feats of man I have ever witnessed. In mid-air, my buddy still had the handle of the boat in hand, somehow rodeo’d himself into position and maneuvered the boat directly under him then he did a “spread eagle” for those none skiers, he basically spread his arms and legs as far as they could and when he and the boat landed, by buddy landed perfectly in the center of the boat and was cushioned by the pontoons that his legs and arms somehow were cradling. The boat and my buddy then proceeded to shoot down the slide another 100ft or so before the boat came to stop. I came running down, yelling “OMG, DEREK, OMG Blah blah blah, YOU ALMOST DIED, you should have DIED, HOW THE HELL did you pull that off!” he just kind of looked at me said “some people are survivors” then broke into a laughter, it really was the only way to react to such a near death experience. If he would have fallen I have ZERO doubt it would have been fatal or at the very least a Helicopter evacuation…

    The boat is also what really helped, it is basically the shape of a canoe, narrow and long with two pontoons, one on each side and an inflatable floor. Pretty cool boat!

    We finally got down to the water and started to rig up our rods. Again, we were anticipating summer weather, so we had brought a TON of hopper patterns and even though it was COLD we decided to try the hoppers anyway. On the third cast my buddy got a really nice Cutty. OK, so maybe this trip was worth it! I headed up river to a section that looked promising and fished for the next hour, NO LUCK! We decided to get in the boat and start working our way down the canyon, it was cold and overcast so I decided to try a streamer, we started to get chasers right away so I was starting to feel more optimistic. After a couple of hours fishing both from the boat and shore we had caught about 7-8 fish between the two of us, so we were happy.

    At one point my friend had to go to the bathroom so he rowed us over to the bank and jumped out and was standing on the edge of the river and was peeing into the grass and all of sudden jumps back and yells “Rattlesnake, I was peeing on a Rattle snake!” “WHAT?!?!” I said, so I jumped out of the boat to see if he was kidding or serious, sure enough, right between my buddy’s legs was a decent size snake, still dripping from being peed on! The snake uncurled and slithered to top of the bank and turned around and just looked at us like “I didn’t hiss, I didn’t rattle, I didn’t even try and bite you, but you still peed on me!” My buddy and I were dying, as my buddy has two fears in life, SNAKES and LIGHTNING. (MORE ON THAT LATER)

    We went down another mile or two and found a good section to wade fish so we pulled over. I was starting to get hungry so after a while I put my rod down and walked back to the boat and started to make a PB&J sandwich. Just as I was finishing my buddy was walking back over and said “get in, I want to go down just a little further” So I quickly gathered all my sandwich making supplies shoved it back in the cooler and we were off! Just as we hit the center of the river my buddy asked me to hand him something, so I got up and turned around to hand it to him and as I sat back down “SPSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” “What is that” my friend asked, I frantically looked around and then looked under my seat, well in my haste to get the sandwich stuff put away I had forgotten to put my knife away, and even worse, I forgot to put the blade away. So there in the right pontoon was an 8inch knife fully inserted. “Ummm, we got a problem” I said, “get to the bank” as I stuck my thumb in the whole to plug it. We get to the bank and my buddy says “Dude, I didn’t bring anything with me, no patch kit, no pump, nothing” So we proceeded to dig through our packs and look for any sticker we could find, UPC stickers, wrappers, anything! After sticking about 3 UPC stickers to it, it was kind of holding, but the issue being these stickers are made of paper… not good, cause ummmm we on water. Luckily I found a BIG sticker on my streamer box, so I held the sticker up in the sun for a while to make it little more malleable and slowly peeled it off. This sticker was more of the vinyl style and it stuck well, it leaked a little, but better than not. We then were able to wedge the cooler in the middle between the two pontoons, giving just enough pressure. Whoooo. “So we are done, right?” My buddy said, “What do you mean” I asked, “Well don’t you think we should hustle to get to the truck” “We are barely half way down, lets just keep an eye on it” I said… So on we went.

    This section of water is pretty mellow for the most part, but it also has some pretty big rapids that have some decent vertical. As we approached one section it was pretty intimidating, it was S shaped, with a HARD right turn in the middle, we made it past the first turn and as we entered the next the bow of the boat caught a rock and got stuck, which then caused the back of the boat to start to come around, as we got pushed sideways we got jammed up against another rock that sent us into the side of the boat, then the water caught us and flipped the boat like a match stick. We both got tossed out and went in upside down and I went through the main tongue of the rapid under water, upside down. Once I popped up about 10-15 ft below the rapid I was facing up stream and I saw a blue thing pop up out the water then submerge again, well Derek my buddy was wearing a light blue shirt, so my first thought was he got hung up on something and was stuck, so I frantically start trying to swim back up towards Derek while yelling for him. Now remember, I am fully dressed with waders, try swimming up river in swift water in flooded waders, doesn’t happen. Then a couple seconds later I hear “MARC” and I spun around to see Derek about 20 yards below me with 3 rods in his hand and the the boat in the other, what a relief! He somehow saved the rods! What I saw pop up was the seat cushion from boat, which was the same color as Derek’s shirt… So I start to let the water spin me around to get back to Derek when my foot gets stuck between two rocks, it instantly stopped me, and the panic hit me fast, I gave a couple of tugs, nothing, and now I am starting to feel like a flag in the wind, I was grounded but being pushed under by the water. I gave one more kick, all that I could and felt my foot be released, thank god! Then I started to swim to catch up with Derek, I caught him and the boat in the main channel of the river and we were being pushed to the far side towards another rapid, so we both started kicking to get to the side of the river, after a couple of minutes we made it to the shore, we didn’t have time to empty our waders or reorganize, we just jumped back in the boat to try and retrieve all our gear that was now floating along down the river. We caught up to our gear just before another rapid section. After we got through this rapid section we pulled over and emptied our waders and got our gear somewhat back in place. It was starting to get a little late in the afternoon so we decided to boogy.

    We had a couple of really flat slow sections that we powered through then a couple more rapids. We got through a pretty gnarly rapid section that dumped into another super slow flat section and as I looked up I saw some clouds, grey/blue dark and scary looking. You’re kidding me right. Well about 2min later you could see the gusts of wind coming up the canyon as the ripples started to get bigger and bigger and eventually turning into whitecaps and blowing us back upstream and to the bank. We tried to fight it for a while, but there was no way. So we pulled over and got out of the boat just as the rain and hail started to come down in sheets. At this point, all our gear is soaked, we are cold and wet, and its getting late. We saw a pretty tall rock that offered some shelter so we made our way dragging the boat along. We huddled up against the rock as the thunder and lightning were directly overhead and as the rain and wind battered us. At this point it was about 6pm and we knew we had about 1-2 miles to go. We made the decision that at 7pm no matter what, we were going to have to get back in the boat and make a run for it. So at 7pm on the dot, we looked at each other and said “here we go” and we got back in the boat and started to battle the wind. Well God finally had enough fun with us and said “ENOUGH” the clouds parted, the sun came out, bugs started flying, birds chirping and we made it to the takeout and to the truck.

    We had originally planned on camping at the takeout then getting up the next morning and heading down the next section of water. But, after all we had just been through, we said screw that. We ended up driving to Rexburg got a hotel room and ordered a pizza for dinner. The next day we just hit the Snake river on the way back home to SLC.

    We will be back. And, we will win.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: When things go wrong

    I feel more alive just reading that, thank you!
    Wherever you go, there you are.

  3. Likes weiliwen, corn fed fins liked this post
  4. #3
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    Default Re: When things go wrong

    Dude!

    That sounds like something that wouldda happened to me and my buddy Steve 30 years ago! Several times one or both of us should have been killed by our bad choices but somehow we are both alive today.

    I have to pieces of advice from a former member of the lucky to have lived club, Patch Kit and PFD's with back up inflation cylinders. That story needs to be submitted to a fishing publication, hell, save it into a bolg here (you have that option on your profile page) and I'll contact our editor and see if he wants to run it in Fish & Fly.

    Great job of telling it like it was!

    Ard

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

  5. Likes brownbass, trs, ia_trouter, corn fed fins liked this post
  6. #4
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    Default Re: When things go wrong

    First off, I'm glad you guys made it through.

    Second is, if Laurel & Hardy were still alive today, they would pay handsomely for your story for their next movie.
    The only thing human kind ever learned through history, is that through history, human kind has learned nothing.

  7. Likes dharkin liked this post
  8. #5
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    Default Re: When things go wrong

    Oops, sorry. Double posted.
    The only thing human kind ever learned through history, is that through history, human kind has learned nothing.

  9. #6
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    Default Re: When things go wrong

    Peaks, you should really post a warning at the top of that post, advising people to pee before they read your words, because they are going to wet their pants laughing themselves silly. I'm not saying that's what happened to me...

    The thing that makes humor work is the truth at its core, and I laughed out loud repeatedly, knowing that in the end it all had to turn out OK since you were there to write about it. That reminds me of one of those Darwin Awards you see now and then, it was so funny. You guys will have a lot to talk about over beers and the years.

  10. Likes trs liked this post
  11. #7
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    Default Re: When things go wrong

    Holy cow! That has to be one of the most epic days in the history of fly fishing. Good reminder to be safe while having fun.

  12. #8
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    Default Re: When things go wrong

    Forget "A River Runs Through It"! Fantastic story and thank you. I bet the pizza tasted pretty good!!



    Denny

  13. Default Re: When things go wrong

    10' of duct tape is a must.

  14. #10
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    Default Re: When things go wrong

    Wow that was a bad day beyond comprehension! I was waiting for you to say they screwed up your pizza order to end the day Seriously, we need a thread "The stupidest day I ever had on the water". I bet most of us have a tale of self-inflicted woe to share. I can't come close to topping your story but I have pulled a few bone-headed moves in pursuit of fish. I am going to start the thread. I don't mean to detract from yours but I bet we can collectively assemble a collection of tales fit for a magazine. With your permission we'll drag your story there too.

  15. Likes peaks2creeks liked this post
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