Monday, October 8, 2012

Sawtooth Challenge day 1

 photo by Brian Weber

Like most gatherings on the leisure, the group was slow to wake. breakfast good conversation and a lot of milling around.  At some point someone started moving paddling gear and supplies down to the river's edge, like lemmings we followed suit.

The sun crest the trees and the warmth that it brought soothed. Now busy as bees at a fall harvest, boats began to be loaded and gear sorted.  All sorts of watercraft, a home built kayak, Jensen Canoe, Cruiser, Monarchs, Sea Winds, DreamCatchers, and a Superior were represented.  More milling around and discussion ensued, drivers sorted out as the rest would stay back with boats and gear while we did the shuttle.

We were in luck as Elizabeth showed up and was able to provide us with a shuttle allowing all vehicles the ability to be at the take out. (nobody likes the double shuttle retrieving the vehicle at the put in); so, clearing out space in a crusty ole van we loaded up and were on our way; the shuttle for the most part was uneventful, except for the fact that Elizabeth's short cut took us close to an hour out of our way; her fiancee Josh was along for the ride and was getting some glares as he was trying to assist in navigation; tipping her handsomely for her effort,  Tip of the day - "Stay to the main road!!"

Quick to depart the comforts of White Birch campground we were on our way; we figured on getting in 15 miles today as there was plenty of the day left for lolly gagging down  river.

Well, the Muskegon had other plans for us; just out of ear shot of the campground things began to get dicey, down trees and log jams began to build; I mean one after another each more menacing then the last.  We were deep deep into the scat of the river, making only 4 miles.

O.K. so we drastically underestimated the top section of the Muskegon; with that said we cut pulled dragged a crap load of luxury items over a vastly untraveled section of this majestic river. Forget about the gear we really did need like the chainsaw left in Royd's truck; forget that our local shuttle person Elizabeth gave us a raised eyebrow at the put-in as she suggested a different starting point. Note to self, never discount local knowledge even if it's from a girl that got us lost on the way back to the campground.

Jack M. was the topic of many conversations; our original organizer was a couple days behind us on the Iron Mushroom, hoping to catch the main group by Tuesday or Wednesday.  We came up with all sots of schemes for payback, fueling our resolve to keep moving forward.

We found a nice stretch of river's best and set up camp. Spread out a bit small pods of the group gathered and shared food and drink.  Everyone was in extremely good spirits as teamwork prevailed today. Clan of the Sawtooth 1 vs. Muskegon 0.

to be continued...


Chuck Amboy said...

I believe it was at our first campsite, river day 1, that Buffalo Al and I pitched our tents in a field of stinging nettles, Even with long pants I felt them coming through to my legs. Al was wearing shorts. Soon he asked what were these things. I told him the best treatment for his plight was for him to go stand in the cold river for a few minutes to dull the pain. Just as I had done a few years ago on the Shiawassee. It worked for Al too. How many times can you say "Go jump in the river" and get away with it. Chuck Amboy

Chuck Amboy said...

You might find some of the Sawtooth trip on Google Earth. chasamboy