John Day River float

Friday, June 30, 2006 - Sunday, July 2, 2006

I went Rafting with Sandy, John, and friends down the John Day River in eastern Oregon. 

On Saturday, I lost Buddy while hiking cross country.  One minute he was walking slowly behind me, the next minute he was gone.  Harley and I searched for him for the next 30 minutes.  The temperature was 104F, we were out of water, and there very little shade to be found anywhere.  Harley and I weren't feeling very well.  I decided to hike back to camp (about 3 miles distant) as quickly as possible, get water, and return to search for buddy.

Harley and I returned 2 hours later and searched for Buddy until after dark.  We searched again for an hour Sunday morning.  I was extremely worried.  After not finding Buddy Sunday morning, Harley was about ready to collapse.  I left camp setup (in case he should find his way back there) and rafted downriver with Harley as fast as possible.  I found John&Sandy camped 10 miles downriver.  They very nicely sacrificed one day of their vacation and helped me cover another 20 miles as fast as possible back to my trick.  My plan was to drive back to the area where I had lost buddy and resume searching with the help of a motor vehicle.

Very fortunately, there was a county Sheriff's officer near the river at our pull-out.  I explained my problem to him and he alerted the county radio network.  Less than 15 minutes later, he received a call that Buddy had been found and was currently with a nice family about 2 miles downriver from my camp.  I jumped in my truck, drove, and was reunited with Buddy less than an hour later.

This family had spotty Buddy Sunday morning about 1/2 mile upriver from my camp.  He was apparently attempting to make his way downriver (towards my camp) but was being thwarted by sheer cliffs next to the river making it very difficult to hike, and rapids in the water marking it too scary to swim.  The family convinced Buddy to jump off a 3 feet cliff and into the river...they then pulled buddy into their raft and took him down to their camp.  Buddy wasn't very responsive until the family fed him a hamburger and a steak...after which he "perked right up!"

Lessons learned:

  1. Don't hike in Eastern Oregon (no shade) in 104F heat
  2. Don't let Buddy lag behind -- keep him in front of me.
  3. Figure out a good way to carry a dog.

Loosing a dog in the wilderness is a terrible situation that I never want to repeat.

Other things...on day 1, dark clouds loomed ahead.  When it started raining heavily, I pulled the raft up on a gravel bar and overturned the raft to make a shelter.  As soon as we got under the raft, lots of hail fell.  This was an impressive thunderstorm!  30 minutes later, it passed and we continued downriver.
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