National Geographic : 1970 Feb
To us on shore, it seemed minutes before the raft broke free of the falls' crushing force and surfaced with two breathless boatmen clinging to it. The ducking actually had lasted only seconds. "But I'll remember the bottom of Tappen Falls for a long time," Derek said later with a grin. Derek and Charles had no monopoly on river thrills. A week later it was 14-year-old Jana's turn. She and her brother Lance had rowed their raft ahead of us as we approached House Rock Rapids. They planned to pull ashore at the head of the run and photograph us as we entered the white water. Hastening to get well ahead of us, Lance suddenly found himself caught in the power ful current; it was too late to make the shore. Now he was committed to the roaring water without being able to scout his course-our standard, procedure before entering difficult 220 rapids. With unsecured gear bouncing around the raft, he quickly became a busy young man. Lance began stuffing photographic gear into his camera bag while trying to maneuver the raft into quiet water. Jana, in the seat behind him, tied down other equipment. Suddenly their raft slipped into the pit of a giant curler which stopped it abruptly and sent the Middle Fork pouring aboard. Lance became even busier then, fighting his half swamped craft toward a safer channel. Pre occupied with the quarter mile of rocks and white water ahead, he had no time to worry about Jana. We could see only enough to know that something was wrong. There was a brief glimpse of Lance and the raft disappearing behind sheer rock walls of the twisting can yon, but Jana was nowhere in sight. Was she in the bottom of the raft-or overboard? That question gnawed at all of us during the half hour it took us to work our craft through House Rock.