Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Green River, Utah - Kayaking

Hunter, Col, and I discussed the possibility of doing some sort of river trip in the Moab area a few months ago. There were many different options on the Green and Colorado Rivers, but we finally settled on the best option for us: a self-guided kayaking trip down the lower portion of the Green River in Labyrinth Canyon. We would put in at Ruby Ranch and travel about 45 miles to Mineral Bottom, both accessible by shuttle vehicle and eliminating the need for a jet-boat pickup or travel through any significant rapids.

We arrived at Dead Horse State Park on Thursday night with lightning flashing in the distance and obvious signs on a major storm just hours before. The air was completely saturated - an usual feeling in the desert - and my tent was soaking wet by morning despite the clear skies.

Dead Horse State Park on Friday morning

We arrived at the river touring company, Tagalong, to hear the bad news on Friday morning - the road to Mineral Bottom, along with numerous roads throughout Moab, had been washed away in Thursday's storm. It was decided that we could still go on a river trip, but we would go from Green River State Park to Ruby Ranch instead - less scenic but much better than not going at all!

The group ready to launch at Green River State Park

My first river trip in Utah begins

Heading out of Green River State Park

With a shorter trip than originally planned, we had plenty of time to cover the miles. We took an easy first day and made a few stops at some random islands and floated leisurely down the Green with little effort. Some shallow water in the beginning made for some interesting moments, but once we got going it was smooth sailing and perfectly clear weather.



Denise and Frank

Along the way we stopped at a place called Crystal Geyser - a rare cold water geyser formed when and oil well went wrong and water came out instead. The minerals deposited by the geyser were beautiful and we were lucky enough to see it erupt while we were there.

Travertine deposits near Crystal Geyser

Oil well gone wrong - now a rare cold water geyser


Beautiful mineral deposits around the geyser

We found a great place to camp along the Green River on Friday night and I had one of the best night's sleep ever, thanks to the sound of the river and perfect nighttime temperatures. I even got to sleep in for a change. We only had to cover about 15 miles so there was no rush to get started in the morning. Very, very relaxing!

I love my new backpacking tent

Green River

Taking a nap

Our second day was a bit longer on the river. We traveled about 16 miles at a fairly leisurely pace and enjoyed a few stops along the way at various islands and shady spots. It was great to see the rock layers and formations change as we headed downstream. We found a nice sandy dune to camp on Saturday night, high above the river with great views of the river and the surrounding area. It was also full of critters like scorpions - another first for me.

Day 2

Group shot - me, Denise, Frank, Col, and Hunter

The view from our second camp site

Denise, Col, and Hunter .. Hunter is fussing with more wine

Scorpion friend (with dinner)

We exited the river on Day 3 and immediately headed to Moab Brewery for some delicious beer and food. We camped at Fisher Towers, near Castle Valley, on Sunday night before heading home to Salt Lake on Monday morning. We were treated to a spectacular sunset against the red rocks of Fisher Towers and even caught a glimpse of a rainbow from a passing storm.

Fisher Towers

Fisher Towers at sunset

Rainbow over Fisher Towers


Hiking around Fisher Towers before returning to Salt Lake