5 Days Solo Packrafting Canyonlands

Desertratgal

Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2022
Messages
15
Last week I headed out on my most ambitious trip yet; solo packrafting Canyonlands.

I started my trip in Island in the Sky, working my way down Lathrop Trail. After reaching White Rim Road, I followed Lathrop Canyon Road to reach the Colorado River. That worked out to be around 11 miles.

Over the next 2 days I worked myself down the 30 miles of the Colorado River that leads to Spanish Bottom. Although the river was at high flow (~16,000 cfs), the days on the water were calm and peaceful. The only moment that was not peaceful was the only rapid on the river, "the slide". I was expecting class 1, but was I felt it was class 2+. It was the roughest water I'd taken my packraft through and it nearly flipped me, but I got through unscathed.

I camped at Spanish Bottom the next 2 nights. I met a few lizards and a harmless snake introduced itself to me while I was napping on a boulder. During my layover day at Spanish Bottom, I cached my gear and climbed out of the canyon and into the Maze district of Canyonlands. I wondered around, exploring Beehive Arch, the Granary, campsites, and 4X4 roads. I cannot wait to get deeper in the Maze, that area left me hungry for more.

The last day I started my morning early, packing up and crossing the river to Lower Red Lake Canyon. The campsite that usually connects with the trail was submerged with the water level, and I went through some rough bushwacking to make things work. After cleaning, drying, and packing my raft, it was time to begin the hike out. I took Lower Red Lake Canyon trail to Cyclone Canyon to the Confluence Trail. It was about 11 miles with a lot of fun scrambling towards the end. It felt incredible and empowering for the last few miles of my Canyonlands adventure to require scrambling around with my 40+ lb pack on.

I reached the Big Spring Canyon Overlook Trailhead where my amazing friends had shuttled my car for me, and a group of strangers congratulated me after asking about my trip. It was a really meaningful ending to my journey.

This trip was an absolute dream. I threw together a video from my trip capturing the visuals. Check it out if you're curious!
 

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futurafree

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2021
Messages
77
That looks like a great trip! Hopefully, you can venture deeper into the Maze next time.
How were the bugs on the nights spent on the Colorado before Spanish Bottom?
I got excited watching the video when I saw the 3 Bean Chili Mac! I usually make my own meals, but lately I've been trying a few dehydrated prepackaged meals in situations without running water. I tried that meal a year ago and wasn't impressed, but after a particularly long hot desert day last week, I added a Sazon garlic/onion/cilantro seasoning pack and 1 oz of tahini to the 3 Bean Chili Mac. It might've been my most satisfying meal in over a year--on or off trail! The same company's Butternut Dal Bhat is perfect as is.
 

Desertratgal

Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2022
Messages
15
That looks like a great trip! Hopefully, you can venture deeper into the Maze next time.
How were the bugs on the nights spent on the Colorado before Spanish Bottom?
I got excited watching the video when I saw the 3 Bean Chili Mac! I usually make my own meals, but lately I've been trying a few dehydrated prepackaged meals in situations without running water. I tried that meal a year ago and wasn't impressed, but after a particularly long hot desert day last week, I added a Sazon garlic/onion/cilantro seasoning pack and 1 oz of tahini to the 3 Bean Chili Mac. It might've been my most satisfying meal in over a year--on or off trail! The same company's Butternut Dal Bhat is perfect as is.
Thank you! I'm planning on returning in the fall, and hopefully I'll be able to work a night or 2 in the Maze in to my route.
Bugs were not an issue at all. A week before my trip, I went on a quick overnight packrafting trip close to home (an hour or 2 from the park) on the Colorado river and I was eaten alive by bugs. I was shocked to not be battling bugs along the river.
That's funny you say that about those meals, I feel the same exact way. The chili mac just didn't have much flavor to it, but the Dal Bhat was perfect. I may have to try your chili mac add-ons. The texture was there, it's just bland.
 

ramblinman

Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2014
Messages
107
Great trip. It's so cool that you were able to visit all three districts of Canyonlands on one trip!
 

Parma

@parma26
.
Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Messages
735
The Slide was actually a rapid for you? The higher water must have made that way more fun. When I did it it was just swift moving water, not even a Class I.
 
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