PADDLE THE DESERT
Backpacker|Fall 2020
Can a group of novice packrafters make it out of Canyonlands in one piece?
Heather Balogh Rochfort

PFDS AND PADDLES banged into my shins as I schlepped the last load of gear from the shuttle van and dropped it in the red dust at my feet. That’s when I heard Andrew’s voice cut through the air: “Hey, did anyone grab my raft?”

I did not have Andrew’s raft. Based on the looks Will, Stew, and Kalen exchanged, they didn’t either. Our shuttle driver, having received his payment for the 2-hour journey from Moab to the Lathrop Trail on the White Rim Road, made a hasty exit. “Don’t call me!” he yelled before driving away, leaving us with a one-raft deficit in the middle of Canyonlands National Park.

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