French Alps 2019 paddling trip
Monday was to be a two-river day, and in the morning, we headed to the Upper Durance. It was to be a warmup for those who would be paddling the Gyronde in the afternoon, and with plenty of opportunities for eddy hopping and mini wave surfing, an all-round nice river for everyone. We unloaded the trailer in our now well polished fashion, and in our groups (today our group adopted John), we set off down the river. Ian took the opportunity of this friendly river to give us all an opportunity to lead (some might say that he was delegating to avoid the leaders ‘curse’ that has unfolded over the week…!). During our turns leading, he reminded us all of four key points of leading;
- C=communication – to communicate clearly with your group using a combination of speech and river signals
- L=line of sight – as the leader you should maintain line of sight with the rest of your group
- A=avoidance of hazards (rocks/weirs/trees/even forgetting kit)
- P=position – as a leader you should position yourself where you are most useful to the group, be that at the front, in the middle or at the back depending on the river features/bends etc.
In our group we took it in turns to lead, signalling into eddies frequently
until we were about 1km from the end – then we eddy hopped and surfed our way to the get out, a bank just before the dam where we sat in the sunshine and waited for the shuttle to the afternoon river.