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The Gearboat Chronicles

Imnaha River fencepost ferry

Got to help out on a fun river project recently, helping Mike Hale get fence posts across the Imnaha River. The country down there looks like this –

And here’s a view of one of his bulls, taken last year when I was cautiously, unobtrusively tip-toeing across his pasture in waders, whispering, “nice bull, nice bull . . . just passin’ through . . . I never liked red capes either . . . niiiiiiice bull. . . .”

I think it was Robert Frost who said, “Good God, look at the horns on that thing, let’s make a good fence.”

So I was happy to help carry posts across the river. And also I would finally get to use the little pontoon boat I bought at an auction last summer. High time I got that thing wet.

Mike had waded across and rigged a line across the river, so I was keen to try out an honest-to-goodness ferry setup like the olden days where the current pushes you across once you get an angle against the downstream flow.

Here’s the pile of fenceposts and site of the ferry operation.

I should mention this wasn’t an official Winding Waters sanctioned event. I was freelancing this one hillbilly style, using a banged-up pulley from my truck that I use to drag logs out of the woods. Also a chunk of rope I normally use for my dog’s leash. O yeah, and some duct tape. What could go wrong.

Everything went right. At first. Here’s phase one, where I got a ferry angle and physics or whatever did its job, shooting me across the Imnaha at a brisk pace. It was fun. I was all smiles.

Then a little pocket of slower water behind a submerged rock had some physics too, and that slowed me down, plunged the back tubes under water and I was less smiles, more frowns, stuck out there shifting weight, digging in blades, trying to get out of that little vortex.

Eventually physics got its fill of messing with me so it spit me and the pontoon boat out, sending me back to Point A so Mike and I could come up with a Plan B.

 Plan B involved just pushing and pulling the boat across. Less exciting, which was great.

Christmas Countdown

We got our usual call from the North Pole, asking which rafters had been naughty and nice. Happy to report that this year we could sign off on everybody qualifying for the nice rating, giving the go-ahead for all those pairs of Chacos and sunglasses and SPF shirts, carabiners, water bottles, new oars, sleeping bags, fly rods, waterproof cameras, rafts, kayaks and all the other watersport related items Santa received on wish lists this year.

So hang your stockings in confidence and enjoy the holidays with friends and family. I’m excited to go meet my new nephew, Jack.

And we’re looking forward to rafting with all you fine folks in 2013, after we get our new Mayan calendars in the mail.

Happy Holidays from everybody at Winding Waters.