Local information indicated that the levels were still high for the North Stein, so much to old man Wheelers releif, we opted to fly into the Main Stein instead.
We knew little about the Stein, strange really since it was the main event. We did get some word of mouth from people who had paddled it before about massive logjams and bushwacking portages. A trail follows the river all the way, so we thought any portaging would be easy.
We quickly arranged a plane with Whilster Air, and the next day we were crammed onboard, and flying very close to some very tall mountains....
Stein lake soon came into view and a quick fly by later, we were landing.... From the air, we saw the North Stein, looking good, and steep, and also many logjammed rapids on the main stein.
We paddled to the exit from the lake, and started portaging the logjams via the trail. After an hour we decided we'd had enough of the trail, and bushwacked our way back to the river, which was a painful and tim econsuming process. The group eventually regrouped above the first rapid.... Which was logjammed.... We camped here for the first night..
The next morning we portaged the first half of the rapid, and put in halfway down a glorious slide! Mark showed how not to drop a loaded creek boat into sticky holes on the first two rapids in sucession!!
The river started with some pool drop slides, then quickly calmed down to very flat, before pickup up to suprisingly pushy class 4/5. Many of the rapids were log jammed. We probably portaged a dozen times in the first day. Many on flat, but quite a few good rapids were blocked.
The second paddling day was mostly flat.... With two massive logjams...... But finished with some more great class 4/5 boulder rapids. We camped in the middle of this section, near the end of the river, but too tired to complete it in two days.
The Third day, we completed the whitewater in about 2 hours, and tookout at the first roadbridge.
The Stein suprised us as being a great bouldery class 4/5, despite the flat and the logjams, we'll all remember the many large holes, and all too many boat chases!!
When the Guys were away...
So this time I had a couple of Friends to keep me company, Fran and Robin. We planned three days of plesant boating ending up at the Stein take out to meet the guys.
The first river a mellow class 2/3 turned into a epic... we never learn not to boat with the guy who turns up by himself at the putin. Especially when he asks to borrow a airbag. But seriously how bad could it be it was a class 2/3 river. Well it turns out he swam!! Fran rescued and pinned his boat and paddle. While I did the good smaritan and rescued him...easy. Except the guy was at least 250 lbs (I am 123 lbs) and he grabbed the side of my boat threatening to topple me at every ripple. Fran advised me to smack his hands with my paddle to make him grab the back (after refusing several times). It took the biscuit when he grabbed his pinned boat and then I had him and his boat to rescue!! Finally safe in the eddy (Fran and Robin down stream) he was too shook up to empty his boat... I helped again glad that at least we had given him one airbag.
Fran than as true coach lead and babied him down the river and much to her credit was compared to be as good as coach as Corran Addison..
Our next Paddle the Cayoosh Creek (I must mention we camped at a beautiful spot by the river) Began above the normal guidebook put in to get a little more action. Unfortunately we had a small situation, which meant we had to rope up out of the section. Not to miss a paddle Fran and I had a girl power paddle down the main section... excited that we finally found a river 99% tree free.
More girl power followed when poor Astro had a flat. Both Fran and I did a great job of swapping the flat for a spare!! who said girls can't change tires!!
Then while a tired Robin retired for the night. Fran and I made friends with a few First Nationals (Indians). We partied in to the early hours drinking Cider to Champagne. I learnt lots about the tribes and some words. At bed time we where about to to ahead out when a cheeky cayote came into the camp!! Then the Indians saw a cougar which had retreated by the time we got there.
Thankfully we had a late start the next day and where still around to meet the guys off the river.