CROSSING THE YUBA RIVER part 2
We had an inflatable raft to move the items that were too small to simply attach to the dredges. After last year and not being able to take any metal detectors across, we came better prepared. Also we wanted to keep the dredges as light as possible to make the crossing easier. We sent several loads across using the raft. Everything went smoothly as long as the rope was not allowed to become tight from both sides at once. If the rope was tight to the side where the load was going and loose from the originating side, the boat simply slid across the surface of the water. If it was allowed to become tight from both sides at once, the nose of the boat tended to try to submerge.
Finally we had put off trying a dredge as long as we could. Our theory said that if we moved down river from the tie rock on our side about 30 feet, pulled the rope tight from the other side, then pushed the dredge into the current while hanging on to keep the nose up, the current would swing us gently to the other side. In theory at least. Since it was my theory, I got to go first. I carefully tied the dredge onto the rope. I didn't want it to come off especially since I was going to be hanging onto it on the downriver side. If something went wrong, the dredge and I were in for a wild ride through the whitewater below the crossing spot.
I didn't trust anyone else's knot tying ability. I definitely wasn't a sailor but I could tie a few good knots. If the rope came loose, I wanted it to be my fault. Otherwise after me and the dredge were able to get over to the side of the river and I walked about a mile to get back to camp, I'd have to kill someone.
Anxiously I waded into the current pushing the dredge in front of me. The rope was tight to the other side and it was being held loosely on my side. The moment of truth had arrived. I gently lay down in the water and put weight on the back of the sluice box to raise the front of the dredge out of the water.
The current grabbed the dredge and gracefully the dredge and I swung into it. Hanging onto the bar across the back of the sluice box I couldn't believe what a smooth ride it was. All of the nervous tension felt in the anticipation melted away and as I stood up on the opposite side of the river, a sense of elation at the smooth crossing swept through me. If I would have had a football, I would have spiked it.