Green River/Canyonlands Backcountry

Trip Start Mar 01, 2009
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17
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of United States  , Utah
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Just returned from a 6-day, 5-night backcountry canoe trip on the Green River.  We arrived in Moab, UT (hub for all outdoor activity in this region and home to Tex's Riverways, the outfitter we used) on 5/4/09 and spent our first night camping at Fisher Towers, and second night at Kokopelli Lodge (a great little inn in Moab, well located for our early morning departure the next day).  While we had this trip on our radar far in advance, we hadn't committed to it upon arrival to Moab, and therefore, lucked out in obtaining an opening with Tex Riverways, two days before the actual trip date. 

Here's the scenario: John and I with all our basic camping gear (tent, two packs, pads, sleeping bags, cookstove, personal items, etc.), food and water for 6 days, cooler, and the following items rented from Tex's (honey pot or toilette, dry storage box,  Grumman canoe with paddles and life vests.  We were dropped off, along with one other couple (more about them to follow), at Mineral Bottom on the Green River on the morning of 5/6/09, and from there, were left to ourselves to make our way to The Confluence (where the Green and Colorado Rivers meet 52 miles downstream) by the morning of 5/11/09, where Tex's picked us up in a large speed boat for the two hour ride back up the Colorado and 20 minute bus ride back into Moab. 

Our selected river trip took us through Labryinth and Stillwater Canyons, Canyonlands National Park and  300 million years of geologic time.  The strange, soaring rock formations, deep canyons, washes, mulititude of tiny fossils found underfoot and of course, solitude, were surreal.  On the first day, we were fortunate to meet up with Mark and Meredith, a super nice and bright couple from Boulder, CO, who are veterans of this Green River run and offered lots of great tips and suggestions; we spent the next 2 nights camping with them.  After that, we were on our own for the next 3 nights, and with the exception of a few kayakers and rafters floating down river, and three people hiking in Water Canyon, we never saw another soul.  Most days, we got on the river around 10am, averaged 10 miles, found a place to camp that night, and then did some hiking before cooking dinner and watching the stars come out.  There's definitely a learning curve when it comes to picking camp sites, and we learned to stay away from sand when we camped at Deadhorse Canyon on a very windy night and had to get up and move the tent (in the middle of the night) to avoid all of the sand blowing in.  We also realized the value of spending the hottest hours of the day on the river when at mile 7, we stopped on river left and were plagued by the blazing sun and dozens of flies that just wouldn't go away for hours.  Obviously, the majesty of the overall experience far outweighed these nuscances, and I definitely feel a bit more confident in my ability to navigate and survive in the backcountry now.   
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