Thursday, October 16, 2014

Day Ten - Green River

Saturday, October 4 - We were on the water from our sandbar camp at the north end of Turks Head by 9:30 a.m. Our campsite isn't visible in this photo from one of Canyonland's viewpoints - it's hidden by the mesa in the right center of the picture.

There were six canoes at the high water camp on river right just below Turk's Head when we passed by. Each pair was rigged together as a catamaran that Tex's calls a T-Cat. The stability makes it especially ease to unload the rig onto the ledges at this camp.

It looked like the high site at Dead Horse was accessible this year as well as space for a couple tents on the upstream side at the mouth of the wash. This one seems to change every year.

By the time we got to river mile 19, John was getting into his "kick back and enjoy life" position. The olive drum in his tank well made a brace for lounging.

Ian used a kayak paddle with his 15' canoe which he paddled solo. Beth's Caper sported gossamer wings for the last portion of the trip. They had other functions at night.

 It was another great day for reflections. Not a cloud in the sky!

We stopped at the island sandbar near the mile 15 corner. It's almost always there, but often in poor condition. I expected to find just mud but was surprised to find a high buildup of sand, perhaps because of the large amount of branches buried at the head of the island. If you look closely you'll see that not everyone got out of their boats to stretch.

As usual, the edge of this island was really muddy! The price to pay for a stretch break was trying to minimize the amount of mud taken on board when we got back in the boats.

John had a government biologist friend who told him there weren't any bugs on the river. Not so! We dealt with some mosquitoes at a few locations, and had bug hatches on several short sections of the river. The section at Horse Canyon was the worst. We just tried to hold our breath until we got through it.

I tried to cheat a line about mile 11 and ended up walking for 50 feet or so. The joys of the very silty water is that you have to pay close attention to clues as to the channel's location. I thought I was going to have enough depth to slip past - I did, once I got out of the boat!

Some of the group were having great fun identifying rock formations such as the monkey's head at the top of the cliff.

We spotted the group of kayaks from the day before as we approached Jasper Canyon. They appeared to be stopping to view the famous dwelling hiding under the ledge so we elected to continue on.

At the last minute, they also continued on, apparently in a "race" for campsites, except that they didn't paddle much. In chatting with one of them, we discovered that they were interested in a camp several miles beyond where we were hoping to go. They did give us a bit of a chuckle as we observed their deck loads. One gal could hardly see over the stuff tied to her front deck.

We declared the remains of the sandbar inside the mile 8 corner to be our home for the night. Lots of height, and dry, but not an excess of level space for the tents.

John was able to catch the moon as it rose above the bluff.

We hauled a fire pan for the whole trip - it's required by the National Park Service. We also hauled a dry bag for the second half of the trip that was full of off-cuts of the cedar strips we'd used to build Kathy's kayak deck. Assuming we might be sharing a campsite the next night, we used the wood for a small fire while we shared our trip experiences.

We traveled approximately 14.5 river miles today on a flow of 5000 cfs. It was another day of blue skies and occasional light breezes.

We saw the six canoes below Turks Head who had another week before their shuttle, the four kayaks who were headed to Shot Canyon and then out to catch their shuttle on Sunday, and two other kayaks who weren't due to come off the river until Wednesday but were very unhappy with the mud and hoped to go home early. Meanwhile, we were wishing we could stretch out the trip even further.

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