Thursday, July 26, 2007

American Whitewater Fundraiser - Cataract Canyon in 18 Hours

Cataract Canyon, Colorado River, Utah

Anytime you do a run for the first time there is an ominous feeling of apprehension associated with the unknown. Now take that feeling and exacerbate it by being solo in a 14’ whitewater race boat. In addition, the takeout lies 95 miles downriver and you have to arrive within 20 hours or it will cost you over $1,600. That was the situation I was trying to stomach as I put-on the Colorado River for a fundraiser for American Whitewater. If you haven’t heard of the fundraiser challenge: Click Here.

Waking up around 2:15am my friend Jed Woolley, who rocked the shuttle and made this whole thing possible, began cooking breakfast as I loaded up the Pyranha Speeder for its maiden voyage down Cataract Canyon. We arrived at the Potash boat ramp at 11pm the night before and were suffering the effects of less than three hours of sleep. That evening the Moab area was caught smack dab in the middle of an intense thunderstorm which caused the roads to slide and mud to flow. As we loaded up the Speeder and prepared to launch around 4am, Jed heard a strange noise in the water and focused his headlamp to the opposite bank of the Colorado. While Jed spotlighted the river I worked on adjusting the boat and wrapping the spray skirt around the cockpit. With a slight tremble in his voice he called my attention to the conveyor belt of wood floating down the river. Apparently the earlier downpour was enough to funnel a large amount of debris into the already muddy Colorado. As we stared in disbelief we questioned the feasibility of putting on under such hazardous conditions, adding to the already heavy weight on my shoulders. After a few minutes of calculating the risks of such an endeavor I pushed off, caught in a situation which would ultimately dictate my decision.

Speeder decked out with glow stick bracelets.

Engulfing darkness, 4:19am

Mile 21, 8:00am.

Mile 42, Women's Rafting Group enjoying the canyon.

Mile 60, Big Drop Rapids.

Mile 95, 10pm. Take-out - Lake Powell Hite Marina alternate take-out.

One of these days I’ll get around to writing the full story of traveling through Cataract Canyon, for now I’m just happy to be off the water. For all those who took part in the fundraiser I truly appreciate your support. To complete the donation process, please visit: American Whitewater.
Donations can also be mailed to:
American Whitewater PO Box 1540 Cullowhee, NC 28723.

If you need help donating online feel free to email me @ . Please mark in the comment box (you may have to click the modify online, see instructions below) or on the check memo, “Cataract Canyon Fundraiser” or something to that extent so that the total donations collected can be calculated.

For detailed instructions on how to donate:

Enter pledged donation amount in box on the right under “Enter your donation!”

Next click modify and you will be taken to the screen below:

From here add the Cataract Canyon Fundraiser line or something in that regard. Then make sure the quantity is correct and click the "I agree" box. Then click update cart. From there click checkout and sign up for an AW account online if you have not yet done so.

Thank you again for your support.


Paul Gamache


dogscratcher said...

Well done, my ten is on the way to AW,

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