Journey Through The Maze - April 2017 (Day 1 of 5)


Jan 9, 2017
My fourth multi-day backpacking trip was quite the adventure. @Curt, @b.stark, myself and SteveW set out from Moab, UT with Tex's Riverways on Tuesday morning, April 23rd. There were six of us on the bus down to Potash to take the boat down to Spanish Bottom. Pete and his wife Ruth were doing an eight day trip, while we were in for four nights / five days.

After an early breakfast at Denny's, we arrived very early at Tex's to get signed in. Everything went very smoothly for us - the boat was fueled up quickly, the bus ride was totally fine, and the boat got into the water without issue. Really happy with Tex's on both the front end and back end of the trip.

All six of us threw on a few layers for the trip down the river. It was chilly, but BEAUTIFUL. The scenery on this 53 mile stretch of the Colorado is simply gorgeous. I'd highly encourage anyone to take the opportunity to see this, even if you merely just take a tour boat down the river.

Note: all photos shown below are courtesy of @Curt unless otherwise indicated



We arrived safely at Spanish Bottom and shed some layers in anticipation of the 1200'+ ascent to the Dollhouse we were facing. A few folks were waiting for a ride back to Moab, so we took the opportunity to quiz them a bit on the water situation. We had pretty good intel, and took off up the steep switchbacks.


We had Pete and Ruth snap a photo of us on the way up. It wasn't long before SteveW and I were huffing and puffing. The ascent was a brutal reminder to me of the challenge ahead of us. I was hoping this was the hardest ascent we would face - more on that later. It took @b.stark and @Curt about 45 minutes to make the ascent, while Steve and I clocked in at about 50 minutes. Sure felt longer than that!


We had a nice view down into Surprise Valley as we made our way towards the Granary Spur. We already looked forward to dropping our packs for a bit.



We rejoined SteveW (who elected to skip the Granaries to "guard our packs") and made our way up through the Dollhouse.

As you can see from the skies, the weather was more than questionable throughout mid-morning and the afternoon. We passed by Beehive Arch on our way up to the Confluence Spur. We found water about 1/2 mile north of Beehive and elected to stop near it to have some lunch on the slickrock. Not long after eating, the weather blew in and we got a bit of pea-sized hail! We rushed to find some meager shelter, and fortunately the hail and rain stopped rather quickly.

We got to the Confluence Spur and headed down the trail a bit before finding a wash that would lead us to our campsite for the first night near (38.1828, -109.9168). The location was a bit crowded for four of us, but was serviceable. SteveW and I elected to cowboy camp, despite having the inclement weather during the afternoon. The skies looked quite favorable for the remainder of the day. With a campsite identified, we hopped back on the Confluence Spur to catch a glimpse of the Green and Colorado that we had seen just hours earlier from the water.


Pete and Ruth were already at the Confluence, and we spent the remainder of the afternoon exploring the Confluence overlook. Quite amazing views! We then headed back to camp and did a bit of exploring around the camp until sunset.


I slept horribly that night. Afraid this city-slicker is too used to a sound machine. Being cold wasn't an issue - my gear served me quite well - it was just the deafening silence that was interrupted by wind or another restless member of our group.

@Curt awoke around 4am to get some night sky photography, which in my opinion was remarkable. This was the first time in my 42 years of life getting to actually see the Milky Way from a dark enough sky. It was incredible.




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Feb 1, 2014
Some nice reflections on the river that morning. You'd never know the water was chocolate brown. Thanks for posting this Brian.


Feet on the ground, head in the clouds
Apr 11, 2012
That trip using Tex's has been on my list for a long time. Looks like it was a blast.
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