Major Runs Run By Alpacka:\
Hance, Class 8ish (Canyons scale is 1-10): 3 Alpackas ran it, myself 1. No swims.
Hermit, Class 8ish 2 Alpackas ran, myself run. High point of my trip: massive wave train. Regular fire-hose of fun.
Granite, Class 8ish run by 1 Alpacka my oar-boatless friend... that hooligan! I didn't get a chance... Recommended for anyone who loves big, deep, friendly wave trains.
Crystal: 9/10 - no runs. we missed out, when someone flipped an oarboat. Would have been bad etiquette to leave them swimming... I hear Roman, RII, & Gordy went big on it, though.
Lava Falls: I wasn't ready to eat that hamburger yet. Lava Falls was the only rapid on the river I didn't feel ready to run an Alpacka in. The fact that it ripped one of my oars out of my hands and hit me in head with it probably didn't help...
Otherwise, we ran a lot of 7s and lower ones, and discovered the boats do very well. Salient things I noticed:
- 1. The Buoyancy Matters. You launch off the tops of waves kayakers go through. You also float well, even in the big holes (I got knocked butt-first into a HUGE hole at the top of Saphire, and was fine).
2. Self-Rescue is Important I swam at least a half dozen times, but always got back in my boat. The forces are a little different in big water. You're more likely to get swept away from your boat, and deep currents might try to grab at your paddle.
3. The Turn-Speed Matters. With the raft's high turn speed, I could quickly turn and face laterals, etc. so I rarely got hig hard from the side.