It’s our final day on the river. Day trip rafting is popular out of Maupin, so we are trying to avoid the largest crush of crowds. Our plan is to leave late enough to miss most of the morning float trips, and arrive at the city park ramp after the afternoon bookings have pushed off the shore. We had a leisurely breakfast of French toast, juice and coffee. We didn’t linger long on the clean up: the next time I open the kitchen box will be to load everything into the dishwasher at home.
We expect that we will be behind most of the groups that paddled past us yesterday afternoon. Indeed, we don’t run into much “traffic” for several miles. The river flow is good, and the miles go by quickly. We have now reached an area more accessible by vehicles, so we see more houses and fishermen along the banks. BLM has several camps/boat ramps accessible by vehicle, including one used as a launch site for day trips. Generally, we’ve timed it right – there are not many groups, and we let several “in a hurry” to pass us. We breeze through the named rapids.
But, as we round the corner near the bridge at Maupin, we were not quite prepared for the spectacle of rafts lining the city park shores. Adjacent is an RV parking lot full of campers – surely there are five times more people in this park than actually live in Maupin. We found an open spot to land, and Steve started unloading the boat while I went off in search of our shuttled truck. Back with the truck, the mob of day-tripping rafts pushed off, and we largely had the shoreline to ourselves. Unpacked, dried out and deflated, we stowed the raft and gear in the back of the truck.
Stopping off at the local fly shop and market for information and ice cream, we decided we would just stay in Madras to make the big run home all in one day. Circling Madras’s main roads through town, we stopped at the local Best Western for the night. We walked two blocks over to the Rio restaurant – some of the best Mexican food we have had. Ever.