04/03-12/2008

[Part 1]        [Part 2]

Always in search of a new and fun vacation, Jean's aunt Diane mentioned that she was putting together a 7-day kayak trip on the Green River in Utah and invited us along. We certainly could not turn down an opportunity like that! This part of Utah is a magical place and one of our favorites, so what better way to see it then from the cockpit of a kayak while floating through millions of years of geologic time?!

Rough Itinerary
04/03: Drive part way to Moab after work; slept in the car in a State Park outside of Grand Junction
04/04: Mtn bike in Grand Junction; finish the drive to Moab to meet group; Apache Motel
04/05: Meet at Tex's Riverways; transport to Mineral Bottom; kayak 6 miles and camp at Horsethief Canyon002 Green River day 1.JPG (173814 bytes)
04/06: Kayak 4 miles; camp at Fort Bottom
04/07: Kayak 10 miles; camp at Anderson Bottom
04/08: Kayak 10 miles; camp at Turks Head
04/09: Kayak 16 miles; camp at Shot Canyon
04/10: Kayak 8 miles; camp at Lower Spanish Bottom; hike up to The Doll House (Maze District)
04/11: Picked up by Tex's for the c-c-c-cold speed boat ride up the Colorado River; Apache Motel
04/12: Drive back to Denver with a stop in Loma for some more mtn biking

The Details
04/03/2008: Snow is not a big surprise during April in Colorado. That made to drive home from work over an hour and I wasn't looking forward to the drive along I70. Jean had the Subaru all packed up and off we went, luckily we remembered our bikes were NOT on the roof rack before we got too far down the road. D'oh! Much to our surprise, I70 was dry and clear! WooHoo! We chugged along down the highway happy to be on vacation and stopped about 11pm in a State Park outside of Grand Junction and set up camp in the back of the Subaru.

04/04/2008: We woke up early and found a gas station to brush our teeth and fill up with coffee. Not long after, we were at the Bang's Canyon Staging Area TH hoping the temps would warm up and ready to ride the Magellan trail. 009 Green River day 1.JPG (181490 bytes) Some steeps and slickrock, loose rocks and climbs. Jean was not having fun and turned around after a couple miles. I continued along sweating up the climbs and freezing on the downhills. Finished the 20mile loop in just over 3hrs and was back at the car drinking a beer with Jean soaking up the warm sun. We finished the drive to Moab and checked into the Apache Motel. Town was hoppin' with mtn bikers and 4x4'ers and we went up to the Slickrock trail to play around and hone our slickrock riding skills. Back at the Apache we heard from Diane with dinner plans at the Slickrock Cafe at 6:30pm. We went a little early for nachos and a beer, then had a great dinner while making introduction and swapping stories. Diane, Bob, Inez, Jean, Steve, and Jody told us lots of kayak trip stories and we were glad to be with such seasoned vets since this trip was a first for me and Jean.

04/05/2008: Just before 8am we were at Tex's doing some final packing and wondering how the heck we would fit 7006 Green River day 1.JPG (199557 bytes) days of food, water, clothes, and camping gear into a kayak! After the trailer was loaded with boats and the bus was loaded with bodies, off we drove to Mineral Bottom. It was a bit overcast but the sun was poking out by the time we started the steep switchbacks that descend 900ft down an old uranium mining road to the river. Jean choose to duck down and keep her eyes on the floor of the bus while I was hanging my head out of the window checking out the rusted remains of cars that took the express route down instead of the hairpin turns. At Mineral Bottom we unloaded everything into piles then proceeded to fill every nook 023 Green River day 1.JPG (195120 bytes) and cranny of the kayaks with stuff. Man, how do these things float?! Some final snacks and laughs before shoving off into the Green River where we would get picked up 54miles and 7 days later. We barely paddled and just floated along enjoying the scenery and getting into the groove of the river. Aaahhhhh, life is grand! Huge red rock walls were the banks of the river and we went around the occasional island and muddy banks.
Horsethief Canyon was our destination for the evening and we paddled 25yds up the shallow stream when we came029 Green River day 1.JPG (204729 bytes) across it. (Belknap's Canyonlands River Guide is a must for this trip) A quick poke around camp and we found several tent spots as well as a VW-sized boulder with Fremont Indian petroglyph's on it! Nice! We all unpacked, set up our tents, set up the well-equipped kitchen, then drank some wine while chatting and eating awesome food. This became the routine every night.... no complaints here! Tonight was thai soup and veggie rolls. A stroll up the Horsethief Canyon wash was windy but beautiful as the sun was casting great light and shadows everywhere. We all went to bed with smiles covering our sandy faces.

04/06/2008: Aaahhhh, waking up in paradise! It was a leisurely morning of eating breakfast and packing up before 040 Green River day 2.JPG (133787 bytes) heading down the river an easy 4 miles to Fort Bottom. Once again, the paddle was a float through time passing the large sandstone walls that were beaches and sand dunes from 200 million years ago. The skies were a deep blue as can only be seen in this part of the world. At Fort Bottom we repeated the process of unpacking the kayaks and setting up camp for the night. Jean and I soon set off to see the "Outlaw Cabin" and the Fremont Indian granary perched up high on one of the nearby bluffs. The views from the057 Green River day 2.JPG (168741 bytes) porch of the cabin were some of the best in the world as the river does a huge 2 miles and 180 degree bend around the rocks. The trail up to the granary kept getting steeper and steeper until we hit the 3rd class scramble up to the cap stone. We easily found the best was up then took in the awesome 360degree views. WOWZA! Postcard quality views here. Shortly after Diane, Jody, Steve, Inez, and Bob joined us up at the granary after some quick tips on the easiest way up. More pictures and jaw-dropping views before heading up Big Horn Mesa trail where the river narrows the bluffs to just 062 Green River day 2.JPG (138052 bytes) 100yds as it slowly chips away and tries to connect.
Another stellar dinner of fresh veggies, bread, and chicken/veggie soup... complete with chocolate cake! The sunset on this evening was my favorite as the cloud, skies, and rocks all danced to a tune of perfection.

04/07/2008: Okay okay, so it rains sometimes in paradise! But only for a couple hours in the morning. We took this092 Green River day 3.JPG (123801 bytes) opportunity to hide out under some rocks ledges and cook up a huge breakfast of leftover soup, eggs, and biscuits. More YUM! Of course it didn't take long for the sun to come out and we packed up the kayaks for 10miles of paddling to Anderson Bottom. It's hard to imagine, but the riverside scenery just kept getting better! We first rounded Fort Bottom and got to see the other side of Big Horn Mesa. Buttes of the Cross soon appeared and looks like a fallen cross, once you get a couple miles farther you can actually 101 Green River day 3.JPG (166074 bytes) see that it's made up of two buttes. White Rim Sandstone dipped down to the rivers edge and would be on our sides for quite some time. The old sand dunes were quite obvious. A stop at Millard Canyon for lunch and poking around the rocks was fun. More great views and the temptation to stay the night to do some exploring! Anderson Bottom was just another couple miles and we started the unpacking process. This place was kinda cool... it was tumbleweed alley! So this is where they all end up?!
Millions of years ago the river cut off a loop in the river leaving a large cap stone island. On the north side are some114 Green River day 3.JPG (214113 bytes) petroglyphs that Jean and I set out to find. Hiking through the sandy wash we talked about what it would be like to be stuck out here lost in the middle of August... YIKES! Sand dunes had us sliding around and eventually near the petroglyphs. Freakin cool! Animal tracks, shields, people, etc.... imagination is the best source to re-tell their story. We hiked the rest of the way around the "island" before getting back to camp for tofu taco's and more swapping stories. Man, this trip cannot get any better!
Continue onto Part 2.....

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[Part 1]        [Part 2]