Was down at Portage Creek using one of my new demo 15' SATURN rafts to enjoy a piece of water yesterday afternoon and to keep getting the little dog more familiar/comfortable with river rafting. Just below Williwaw Creek tributary coming in at river left... noticed an empty canoe, two people (cold mother and son) standing on the left bank.
Water was up a bit, yet wind also was blowing pretty steadily to stronger gusts downstream.
They had an older model Aluminum Canoe (neat ol' flatwater design), 3 paddles, small lunch cooler, a couple float cushions, a dry-bag and a day pack. Nothing really tied in securely.
Unfortunately a combo of indecision, not knowing river techniques, water current, driven wind, and a small tree hazard messed up a sunny Saturday afternoon in a heartbeat. The two (wearing pfd's and light synthetic clothing) flipped the tipsy canoe in relatively shallow water and had been able to recover the boat plus some essential gear bags, but stream was packing enough current to bruise knees and elbows, diminish confidence for further progress and they had lost all 3 paddles with other gear.
While it was sunny and warm enough out... the decision was made to have them leave the canoe, grab their gear, and come with us in the oar-rigged Saturn to the take-out. Weather changes in such a hurry in the Portage Valley, and they were literally up Portage Creek without a paddle.
At the take-out... we made a plan to coordinate vehicles, then for me to go from the put-in again with the raft and head downstream to recover the canoe.
All ended the day in good spirits, boat recovered, even lost gear 'accounted for' (but not in hand) due to being caught in strainers. All in All... lessons learned, practices gained, with friendship contacts made. I even think the dog had a good time!