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July 30, 2009 Westwater Canyon Story (Thanks Adventure Bound!)

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Five of us went for a fun day in Westwater Canyon on Thursday, July 30. Three of us were playing with a “super-duck,” that is two duckies hooked together with two, 7-foot pieces of frame tubing. It was pretty cool, kind of a weird paddle boat. Another friend was duckie-ing alone and one more friend was in a playboat (hard-shell kayak). The kayaker dislocated his shoulder doing a high brace in Funnel Falls. We fished him out and eddied-out to assist him. It appeared to be a posterior dislocation and he was in a lot of pain. We knew that two rafting parties were behind us, one was the Adventure Bound trip and one private party. We made a decision to wait for Adventure Bound knowing that our injured friend would not like a ride in a duckie, especially through Surprise and Sock-It-To-Me. He was in pain and getting tossed even a little would’ve been very painful. While we wee waiting for Adventure Bound party I saw a single 16-foot oar boat come through Funnel. Besides the guide there were four teenage passengers and almost no gear in that oar boat. I flagged the boat down and asked if we would take the injured kayaker past Last Chance. The man who was guiding the boat actually said "no." I couldn't believe it. Asking him for help was meant to be just a rhetorical question. Knowing that Adventure Bound trip is not far behind I told him to go. But can you believe it?

Thanks to Shana and the rest of the Adventure Bound crew for being so accommodating, super nice, and for motoring us to the take out. Our friend greatly appreciated getting to the ER sooner rather than later.

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Wow. I've always been impressed with the willingness of people in the outdoors to help each other out - boating, skiing, hiking, whatever. It's always sad to hear stories of that aspect of the outdoors community falling apart. Things can get weird fast, regardless of experience. Take care of your unspoken friends - you never know when it may be you that needs the bailout. Glad your buddy got a ride - props to the folks that helped you out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I asked him if he was comfortable running a boat through the Canyon. If not, we would've run it for him. He responded by saying that he's been rafting in the canyon for 30 years... Still, I agree, just because he's been coming there for 30 years doesn’t necessarily mean that he could guide well but watching him come through the Funnel he looked pretty comfortable. he gave us no excuse. Just a plain "no, I'd rather not" and peeled off.

What was his excuse?

Probably knows he sucks on the sticks and didn't wanna be held liable....
 

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Wow, I can't count the number of times that groups I've been a part of have stopped to offer assistance. Often this means changing our our plans and timetables to help others. I consider this a part of the experience and responsibility of exploring and enjoying rivers. I am sad to hear that someone would just say no to you. Hopefully that was a good reason that he said no to you even if it is painfully un-obvious to us.

Did you consider re-setting the shoulder in the field? I have heard that it is generally better when help is hours away to re-set dislocated shoulders. Disclaimer: I have never re-set a shoulder - but have been trained in how to do it and it seems like a fairly simple procedure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah, funny but on this trip of five people, we had the following skill sets among us: Marc, a physical therapist who also thought for Outward Bound and is, among other things, WFR certified; Cynthia, a registered nurse, Jim R., another WFR; and me (Martin), a First Responder. Marc and Jim tried but couldn’t even reduce his shoulder. It looked like a weird posterior dislocation. Later on it took ER doctors quite a while to find a good angle to reset his shoulder (and they had the x-rays to see it better).

I also consider assisting others a part of the wilderness experience. We always carry extra emergency and first aid supplies thinking of others that might be in need.

Wow, I can't count the number of times that groups I've been a part of have stopped to offer assistance. Often this means changing our our plans and timetables to help others. I consider this a part of the experience and responsibility of exploring and enjoying rivers. I am sad to hear that someone would just say no to you. Hopefully that was a good reason that he said no to you even if it is painfully un-obvious to us.

Did you consider re-setting the shoulder in the field? I have heard that it is generally better when help is hours away to re-set dislocated shoulders. Disclaimer: I have never re-set a shoulder - but have been trained in how to do it and it seems like a fairly simple procedure.
 
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