French Alps 2018 paddling trip
Earliest start of the trip so far for the clubs 2018 Alps trip, at an on the bus time of 8am. The destination for today’s trip was the Upper Ubaye a grade 3, despite the early start the long drive to the river resulted in getting on at 10am, a slightly later time the planned due to the placement of a boulder in the usual get on point. So, instead of a quick jump into the boats they had to be lowered down a steep embankment and herded across a small stream to the river. This wasn’t a total inconvenience as we got a good view of Fort De Nournoux built in 1843 into the cliff face above the river.
We split into the groups of 5’s for this river led by Keith, Helen, Kirk and mine was led by the Silver Fox, John. We had a fun bouncy journey down this river as even though it looked low there was still ample water in the main channel. The run has more than a few class 3 rapids including long wave trains that the whole group bounced down. During this enjoyable run we took the opportunity to practice frequent eddy hopping and even a good bit of surfing. I even got a few tips from the club’s playboating coach Graham on how to ride a wave for longer durations. Unfortunately, I got a bit carried away surfing and got caught sideways with water gushing over my hip and forcing me over, luckily there was enough room for a quick role up again.
The final stretch of the river had an interesting section with several boulders across the river to avoid. At the get out we climbed out of our boats some less graceful than other as my dad Dominic crashed into the water on his back as his boat floated an extra 6 foot down the river from him before being rescued. After the boats were all loaded up we headed ff to the second rver of the day the infamous Ubaye racecourse.