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I have found as I age, the body is not fond of getting up and out of bed at 4am. However, one must make exceptions once in awhile and Friday was one of those days. The plan was to hit the upper river early, then have lunch and pontoon the lower river from Tesky's Rock to the Heron Park, so for three guys, there was a lot of planning & gear to pack.

The Outcast Discovery 9 that I purchased last year had not had much of a test, and I was anxious to get her wet in the Chilli/Vedder, with a couple of other guys who also had some moving water experience. In my "youth" I paddled almost every navigable waterway in the Lower Mainland as well as several rivers in the interior and Vancouver Island, and unfortunately sacrificed a couple of nice canoes to the gods along the way...One of them under a logjam in the Vedder, when we ran it from the raft center in high water conditions, and the other over on VanIsle, when one canoe was used for a swift water rescue of others we did not know, and in our haste to help, we lost our boat to the high water as well!......

I have had this urge to get back into the saddle and drift some moving water once again, after 'tooning the Kitimat River with Tacheeda and another fellow from Terrace over two years ago. Pontooning is much different than canoeing in that you have so much more control over the craft in fast water conditions.

The important features to note are the position of your footrests (so your knees are not fully extended), the seat position (so you are centered on the raft and not too far forward or back of center), and the length of the oars (you should have the grips align with your shoulders, so your hands are not too close together). This allows you to have maximum pull and push on the oars to control the drift.
Your choice of clothing/gear is important. Firstly, it is a given that you will be on a river that can be extremely dangerous for the unwary and inexperinced person. It only takes one small mistake in some difficult water and your day can be ruied. Here's the basics......... .
LIFEJACKET, THROW ROPE, EXTRA OAR. SAFETY BELT for WADERS, WATERPROOF MATCHES, EXTRA CLOTHES/JACKET, DRY PAPER & TP in a DRY BAG. On Friday a good rainjacket was a must as it poured all afternoon.

This activity should always be done with a min. of three pontoons, with the most experienced going through the river first and setting the way for those that follow. It is very easy to miss-read the water and go down a channel that dead ends in a log jam, or bottoms out into shallow water, as is the case at the present flow level in the river...There are several decisions to make at the Lickman/Peach Road areas as the river splits several times.

Once we had assembled all the gear and positioned a vehicle at the take out spot, we were off and drifting to the delight of many spectators who had stopped to see us off. Twoo hundred yards below the cable crossing the water picks up speed and we were into our first rapid with some nice smooth "haystacks". I have run this type of water many times and if you were in the bow of a canoe, you were going to get wet!!.......To my surprise, I was getting more skywater on me than river water......Cutting thru the water like a knife and with a few more Yehahhhs from the guys following, we were on our way.

A beautiful river when seen from the river itself...We passed only three other fisherman on the drift and we managed one hookup at Lickman but the big bruiser spit the hook after a few headshakes and a surface "hello & see ya"!
It poured all afternnon but the spirits were high at the end of the 2 hr. trip and my boat performed much better than anticipated. The next trip, we will likely put in at just below Tamahi and hit some heavier water, but I think I will plan a nice, warm, sunny day for that trip...........Ortho 8)
 

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Sounds like quite the ride. I haven't heard of anyone pontooning the vedder but then again I try to avoid it. That does sound like a cool approach to it though. I kayaked down it a couple of years ago in the upper and down through Tamahi and that was loads of fun. And I didn't even get to fish. I'm jealous and have come to the realization that I will at sometime need to join the pontoon revoloution. Have fun and next time try to take a pic or 2 for us to drool over... I realize that was probably the last thing on your mind though.
 
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