The Lower Green River re-Visited
My last article discussed the set up for this year’s canoe trek down the Green River in Utah. To do this trip you need to use an outfitter, who gets you to the river and picks you up at the take out. There are no roads near the take out. The Green flows into the Colorado River in Canyon lands National Park.
The outfitter is based in Moab, UT, which is on the Colorado River. Once arrangements were made with the outfitter ahead of time, we all met in Moab for the beginning of our adventure. The outfitter loaded our canoes and other gear on a trailer and drove us to the put in. Ten years ago we put in at Green River State Park, which made a 125-mile trip to the Colorado. This year we opted to put in at Ruby Ranch, which made a 100-mile trip. Ruby Ranch is a little hard to get to, as it is a private ranch in some rough country. It was a bumpy ride.
At last we made it to the Green River, after all those months of planning, fear of cancellations, etc… We unloaded our canoes and gear to find a problem. Several of our wooden paddles had gotten beat up and split/broken in the rough trailer ride. Also Jim’s 5-gallon wooden keg had come uncorked and most of his water was gone. We had extra paddles, enough to meet minimum gear requirements, so no emergency there. We had brought water filtration pumps to re-fill containers, etc… so again, no emergency. We loaded the canoes and shoved off on our five-day adventure.
This stretch of the Green is Class I+, which is relatively flat water. We had our life vest (required), first aid kits and water filtration pumps. These are not primitive, but necessary in today’s world. It was a good trip; we didn’t need the vests or first aid kits. We used sunscreen and bug deterrent. The rest of our personal gear was primitive. No coolers, etc… It was hot and buggy, but got better day-by-day. The first 60 miles of our trip was in Labyrinth Canyon, and ended in Stillwater Canyon. John Powell gave these names; who first explored the Green River after the Civil War.
We had hoped to do more hiking and exploring on this trip, one of the reasons we chose the shorter trip – more time for exploring. But, the river was high, the brush was thick, the mud was bad along the canyon bottoms, and the bugs were real bad in the brush. Our first hoped for hike was Trin Alcove (3 canyon), but we couldn’t get through the mud. Trin Alcove is an amazing conjuncture of three canyons, with an alleged spring (hopes of filling Jim’s Barrel). We had a hard time finding decent camping spots. We prefer camping on islands, but they were all under water. Camping on the banks meant brush, and brush meant mosquitoes. Oh well, we made the best of it although I was having a hard time with the heat and mosquitoes. Where I live it doesn’t get hot, and we don’t have mosquitoes – I’m too spoiled.
There are several interesting must see sites in these canyons. One is the Denis Julian inscriptions. Denis was a French fur trapper who etched his name and date on the rock walls in several places in the canyons, in 1836. Another is the ‘outlaw’ cabin; an old cabin that has been there for 100-years. There are Anassazi ruins, besides the amazing natural rock formations, etc…
The trip went well. We had some high winds the last day, which created a couple of scary moments of rough water and wind shears, but we got through with no upsets. We had some wonderful camps with good friends. We had some great meals, with a lot of sharing, as usually happens. We spent nearly a week under the sky, and in awe of God’s creations. But, all things must end. Before we knew it we were approaching the confluence of the Colorado River. We merged with it and were to go a couple miles further down, but the winds were so fierce we decided to wait where we were for the pick up. Before too long here came our pick up, a twin diesel engine flat bottom boat. Our canoes were loaded on top and we and our gear inside. We settled into the old airline seats mounted in the boat and enjoyed our pilot’s gift of ice-cold water… ahh cold beverage. The 3- hour boat ride back up the Colorado was fantastic, so many miles covered without a paddle stroke. Upon arriving back at Moab we unloaded our gear, packed our mules and headed our separate ways – with hopes of doing something similar before too long. If anyone is interested in this trip, e-mail me questions, etc… I can point you in the right direction for further information.
Paddle Hard, Life is Short.
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