Monday – our list of things we wanted to do while the kids were visiting was growing shorter and shorter. We had to be up early to get back to Navua by 9:30 to run the upper river. Hate to admit it, but Dew was the only one that stayed awake the whole trip back – good thing – he was the driver.
We met the Peterson’s at the Navua office and prepared to depart. William was our driver again and we climbed into the van and headed towards the Namosi Highlands. It was as usual a beautiful ride, but we were amazed at just how much damage the storm of last Friday had done. Lots of land slips and road damage. We were glad that the trip had been called off, it would have been impossible to get up there.
As we got to the top there was more and more road damage, but the views were just as beautiful as before. At the put in we found Moses waiting for us and again he hauled that heavy raft down to the river on his shoulders and did it all in bare feet. This trip we had Jack along as our official photographer and he rode in a kayak and the rest of us were in a raft.
Kent and Jeff loved Moses safety lecture and wished that they could have recorded it to use on Snake River trips with the boys. Jeff and Kent were in the front, Elder Peterson and Kara next and in the back of the boat was Dew, Sister Peterson and I. There wasn’t enough tube space for me so I sat in the middle of the raft on a center tube. Sister Peterson was a paddler, her first attempt.
My job was to make sure that Dew and Sister Peterson fell into the raft and not out of it. I was rudely told that there are worker bees and Queen bees, and they all knew which category I fell into.
The group loved the river, and especially were excited to see the gorge. After our official drenching under the waterfall Moses told everyone to go in for a swim. I stayed in the raft to take pictures, but finally couldn’t stand it and left the cameras to go in. It was a blast.
Back into the raft and on we went. Even along the river the damage from last weeks storm was visible. We stopped at the waterfall and hiked up. It was just as beautiful as we remembered it. We ran into a local who was wearing Welly boots and he would just jump in and swim around in them and then climb out and bend his knees until the boots drained.
As we got to the take out the long boats met us and we deflated equipment and loaded it in and had a bit of lunch. The group was amazed at the tuna and corn sandwiches and were excited to admit they were very good. Jack, the photo guy, took credit for making the lunch. A man of many talents.
The long boat was heavily loaded with all of us and the equipment and we were floating low in the water. As we approached the canyon with the waterfall that we visited on the village tour they asked if we wanted to visit it as well. Of course we did.
As soon as we landed we became aware of the damage to this little side canyon. A large section of the walkway at the bottom was covered now with dirt and there were lots of rocks and dirt where there hadn’t been rocks and dirt before. We re-lived the excitement of our trip there with Scott and Ann and figured out where everyone was in the canyon when they had to turn back.
We swam a bit. Jeff and Kent would have stayed much longer, but the day was slipping away. On the rest of the trip down we had to have a few of the bigger bodies get out so we could make the trip through one set of rapids with a lighter load. On the way down Jack ripped his swim suit rear out and had to be ever so careful.
Back at civilization and the whole group agreed it was the best day of the trip, even the Peterson’s agreed. As we changed clothes and got ready to depart a couple of the swim suits Kara and Jeff had purchased for their boys found their way out of the suitcases and onto Jack and Moses. And a few pairs of shoes were on different feet when we left.
We all agreed they were a great bunch of guys and the trip had been “the best”. We headed for Pacific Harbor and ate at the Pearl. We were a rather dilapidated looking bunch, but no one seemed to mind.
On home to rest our weary bodies.