Keith Lynch recently completed a 4,000 mile canoe voyage from Twin Bridges, MT to Dallas, TX.
His journey was an eye opening experience and a true adventurers accomplishment given his inexperience and lack of outdoor knowledge. He had planned for his journey for months, and after reading countless gear reviews, he finally settled on the gear he would use for his trip. This gear included Watershed Drybags for his most trusted possessions and electronics.
On June 6th, the 4th day of his journey, Keith capsized.
He hit a train trestle beam and his canoe flipped into the Jefferson River. He had not lashed down anything to his canoe. All of his gear, including over $3,000 worth of electronics floated down the river. Luckily he recovered a good majority of his belongings, but one of the bags that got away was his Watershed Ocoee bag which housed most of his expensive electronics including his GPS tracker. The challenge was that the bag was wedged in an almost impossible location to find despite having the GPS coordinates.
Enter Norm Miller and Kris Walker.
Norm and Kris are natural born kind souls who also happen to be outdoors experts! Norm is a staff historian, photographer, and year-round guide for River Source Rafting. He even retraced the entire Lewis & Clark route in 2004- SOLO. After Norm and Kris reviewed the location of Keith’s canoe flip, they speculated the landing point of the Ocoee bag, and set out to find it. Unfortunately he couldn’t paddle to the assumed location of the bag given the high water levels on the Jefferson River during June. Norm decided that he would try to recover the bag later in the summer when water levels receded.
Keith was devastated by the loss of his Ocoee bag and the gear it contained. By day 5, the whole dynamic of the trip had been altered. He had given up on finding his Ocoee bag, and doubted that even if it was retrieved, his gear would be in tact. He wasn’t entirely certain he had even zipped it up properly!
Throughout the summer Norm and Kris set out to find Keith’s bag.
Each time, they came back empty handed. “Who the heck attempts to find another person’s lost belongings on multiple occasions? Norm & Kris do.” said Keith. Finally, on Labor Day, (85+ days after Keith capsized) Norm and Kris’s determination paid off. They finally found Keith’s Ocoee bag! Norm initially thought that the bag was a dead animal due to the muck and foliage covering it… but once he gave it a closer look, he saw the straps and knew that he had found it! Norm picked up the bag. Immediately he thought that it was waterlogged given its weight. He didn’t realize that Keith had packed the Ocoee bag full of electronics.
Norm slowly opened the bag, and to his surprise, EVERYTHING WAS DRY!
He couldn’t believe it. Norm and Kris had spent countless hours paddling the river searching for Keith’s lost Ocoee bag, and neither one of them thought that there was any way the contents would survive 3 months in the Montana elements. They were both wrong. Norm contacted Keith and let him know that he found the Ocoee bag. Keith truly felt like an 8 year old on Christmas Day! He was shocked beyond belief. At the time, Keith was some 2000 miles downstream of Montana, (in Missouri ) so Norm shipped the bag over-night to him.
“A big thank you to Watershed and Norm for getting my contents in perfect shape back to me.”
Check out the latest update from the Pittarak Expedition team. Follow them on the listed Twitter or Facebook links below.
We just successful finished the first section of our expedition, and tomorrow will be heading out on the second leg.
These last two weeks were spent skiing up and over the the 2000 meter summit of the Penny Ice Cap. With us, we hauled Boomer’s kayak and pack rafts across the snow, and descended into the Weasel River. Here, we met up with filmmakers and friends from Camp 4 Collective who traveled and filmed the next week of our journey.
Boomer, a professional white water paddler, first descended many rapids on the Weasel river, while the rest of us used our pack raft to float the mellower sections.
Now in the community of Pangnirtung, we are trading our modern boats for our self made Inuit sea kayaks, and are heading out to finish our crossing of southern Baffin Island. From here, we will spend another two months paddling and portaging across the fifth largest island in the world.
We will be posting blog and pictures from the field on our website and facebook account:
After a long day on the river, sometimes all you need is a Watershed drybag for a comfy pillow.
If you have any pictures of your furry friends enjoying adventures with you and your Watershed gear, please feel free to send them to Orders@drybags.com. We would love to post to our blog and share with the community.
Dan McCain and Jeff Compton are endeavoring to become the first to raft the entire 29 mile stretch of the Middle Fork of the Kings River in California. This feat was first attempted in the 90’s, but the group ended up walking the whole stretch and classified it as “un-raftable.”
Now, close to 20 years later, Dan, Jeff and a group of safety kayakers are making a fresh attempt.
Darin McQuoid, world renowned extreme kayaker, describes the Middle Fork of the King River as the pinnacle of expedition kayaking in the United States. He says, “Everything about this run (from Le Conte Canyon to Yucca Point) is epic. It has an eight hour, one way shuttle, fourteen mile hike over 12000′ Bishop Pass, and forty miles of world class whitewater dropping 7000 vertical feet.”
After a lot of research and planning, Dan and Jeff have coordinated an approximately 5-7 day expedition, assisted on the entrance shuttle by a packhorse or mule, and after running the Garlic Falls section, meet a shuttle at the takeout.
They have outfitted their AIRE raft with a GoPro mounting system to ensure a lot of epic footage and insight into the technical nature of some of the nation’s largest waterfalls, difficult boulder gardens and trickiest whitewater.
This expedition promises to be a heart-pounding, adrenaline filled voyage!!
You can follow the team’s progress via their SPOT tracker link here:
Zach is one of the owners of the Northwest Rafting Company, which is a leader in the Pacific Northwest for epic, well planned, safe and one of a kind trips. NWRC enjoys pushing the limits in both training and just for fun trips. Check out their website here: www.nwrafting.com
Below read about Zach’s adventures with his Watershed bags over the years:
My Watershed Moment
When I began my illustrious career as a river guide I noticed all of the legendary guides used Watershed bags to store their personal gear. Obviously, I had to order one. When it arrived, I was officially in the club of the select few whose dry bags looked different from the dry bags we provided our guests. Beyond looking cool, it opened easily and I didn’t have to dump out the entire bag to find what I needed.
A few seasons later, I had my Watershed bag while teaching a guide school on Oregon’s Rogue River. The weather was terrible, and we had done two major raft repairs which put us behind schedule. On day 3, we had successfully rafted through Mule Creek Canyon and were coming around the corner to the infamous Blossom Bar Rapid. On our approach, we were overcome by an ominous hail storm that set the tone for our run through rapid known as “the most expensive in the West.” Oars, paddles, dry bags, coolers, sunglasses and anything else you can lose on the river routinely finds a resting place at the bottom of Blossom Bar.
We pulled over to scout, discussed our routes, and sent one boat at a time through the roaring whitewater. The second boat through had a student rowing with one of our instructors on board to provide support. Unfortunately, it also had my trusty Watershed bag.
As I’m sure you can guess, this fully loaded 18 foot gear boat pinned in the entrance move. The flow was 5,000 cfs and rising, and it was late in the day. We quickly came up with a plan, set safety, and got to work freeing the raft.
Just as we had set up our anchors, I saw my beloved Watershed bag come loose from the boat and watched her bob gently downstream. I knew my friend Jim Toney was out in the world somewhere shaking his head in disappointment that I was separated from my kit. But I had work to do.
We spent the next hour setting up a rope system that would make any engineer proud and finally pulled the boat off of the rock, sadly flipping it upside down in the struggle. We paddled the boat to the bottom of the rapid where it took the entire group, in a Herculeaneffort of pulling on ropes, to flip it rightside up.
Seeing that all was well, I pushed ahead on what I assumed would be a fruitless search. Much to my surprise, I caught up with my trusty Watershed bag only a few miles downstream. She was enjoying a nice float through Huggins Canyon as I hauled her back into my raft. I immediately opened her up to assess the damages but found everything was intact and bone dry.
15 years later, I’m still using the same bag. We’ve had quite a few adventures together, and I’m now a river outfitter myself. When it came time to decide what kind of dry bags to provide for my guests, I made the easy decision that they will all be using Watershed bags!
Southern Raft Supply is the South East’s premier raft supply store! Located in Asheville, NC at the Riverside Business Park, Southern Raft Supply is right beside Watershed’s office, and on the French Broad River.
Southern Raft Supply will be offering Watershed’s complete line of products.
Check out the photos below and look for SRS’ flier in the new Mountain Xpress.
Website to be complete by the new year: www.southernraft.com
Check out this awesome blog about everything motorcycle! Watershed Drybags is featured on pages 28-29 with an amazing write up! Watershed Drybags make excellent waterproof luggage for that motorcycle trip you have been dreaming about. Get out there and stay dry!
Head over to the Amazon 5000 website where you can follow Mickey Grosman’s trail. He is tracing the El Dorado Voyage of 1541 led by Francisco de Orellana, who did not complete the extent of this trek. The expedition kicked off on May 19th.
Mickey will traverse 800 miles over the Andes, then 4200 miles down the Amazon River!! The adventure is expected to take at least 9 months. Watershed has outfitted Mickey with a variety of our gear to help make his voyage a success.
For details, information, how to support Mickey and much more please check out the site!!