- May 19, 2012
I have floated this river 4 times before, and either I am a different person each time, or the river changes in significant ways through time, and I am the same. Doubtful. On all counts.
I hope that made sense.
But going by yourself is a trip in itself, and a good learning experience too.
I decided not to paddle the boat backwards, as I have always done when paddling solo. I added 120 lbs of sand in the front, and it handled like a dream. I had the great fortune of calm glassy waters the whole way, which I was extremely grateful for.
I was also looking forward to using my new toy, a 70-200mm f/4 IS for my Canon 5DII. I could not afford the 2.8 version, and with the slower lens (f/4) I was afraid it might inhibit things in a moving canoe, but I only had issues in the early morning and evening. I have never had a stabilized lens before, so this was a treat. I liked it a lot.
I decided to leave around 4am from Carbondale, arriving at the Potash boat ramp around 7:30. I saw several large groups getting ready, with the usual congregation of tour boats to go to the Grotto. I was braced for this. Going down the Colorado has it's advantages, and disadvantages. The big advantage was that no one was tripping down the Colorado. They were either tourists going to the grotto (this stopped around 2pm) or people headed to Spanish Bottom, 2 miles below the confluence with the Green. I saw no one the second day. Had the place to myself. The third day I saw 2 jet boats (picking up paddlers at Spanish Bottom) and a few "party barges", big rafts tied together, with lot's of umbrellas, hammocks and drunken individuals bobbing up and down in the river in yellow duckies.
It started to rain as I packed the boat. Shit.
I started to really enjoy being out on the river in the rain though. It was a light rain, no wind, with great sound effects. The rain kept the temps down, so I decided to paddle hard this day, and I covered 24 miles. Not a bad day.
It was one of the most memorable days of my life.
Every other river trip in the rain has been a drag: cold, windy and wet. This day was filled with saturated colors.
View larger map.
Below, from my first camp site, on an island at mile 24.
Around 10pm I woke up, laying in my tent, with a light rain on my face. Alas, a little too much of that chilled red zinfandel put me out, and the result was a bit of water in the tent.
It rained hard all night. I slept great.
Around 5:30, when it was getting light I felt something on my arm. It was a small spider, white, about 3/8" long.
I don't like spiders.
I am tolerant of most creatures on this earth, but spiders I cannot abide by. Especially in my tent. When I turned the light on there were at least 20 of the little bastards all over the tent. They must have sneaked in when I passed out. I decided to get an early start, and get the hell out of my tent.
The next day was warm, blue skies with big puffy clouds.
The water had turned into tomato soup.
I found a camp site on the "neck" of the loop @ mile 8. This place was nearly perfect. Clean white sand, no friggin spiders, spectacular view and plenty of shade:
Looking down river towards the neck in the loop. There is a trail where you can hike over to the other side:
Next morning, 8-15-14:
Leaving, camp spot on the right:
My last full day on the water. I had 8 miles to do in a whole day, as I wanted to see the confluence, and a camp site the guy from Texs's told me about. In past years the camp spot at the confluence was on the far side, or the right side of the Colorado below the Green. Now it is on river left, just down from the confluence.
I decided to try to canoe up Elephant Canyon @ mile 3 and do a short day hike, as I was able to fairly easily paddle up it about 300 feet:
It was a muddy hell. I hiked about 50' and gave up. What the hell am I doing here?
Back to the River!
And cold beer!
Right at the confluence on the left I found a spot. Unfortunately there was a couple that had just arrived shortly before me at the point of the sand bar . I went over to talk to them. They were going to be picked up by Tex's the next morning. I explained that there was a chance I would not find a camp spot below here, and I sure did not want to spend the night @ Spanish Bottom. They were very gracious and said I wasn't going to bother them, they did not care.
From my camp spot, the Green coming down on the right, the Colorado in the foreground across to the left:
I kept on getting woken up by flashes of lighting, no thunder, happening a long way away. So I ended up getting out of my bag around 2am, with a shot of my neighbors, looking down river:
About an hour later:
Looking up the Colorado:
All that was left was to load the boat up and tow it over to the point, clean it out really good and wait for the jet boat.
It was going to be another hot day.
Thanks for looking.
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