Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Day Eight - Green River

Thursday, October 2 - As the sun rose, it did a great job of highlighting the tower structure on top of the Fort Bottom mesa. We all packed up our gear and ate breakfast before starting the load out process. The river had risen another couple inches since yesterday evening.

John and I went wading to move the boats from their secure location to spots along the shoreline while the rest of the team set up a fire brigade to get all the gear off the shelf to the beach. Thanks to the teamwork, it didn't take too long to get all the boats loaded.

We were on the water by 9:30 with the river flowing about 7500 cfs. We circled Fort Bottom, noting the absence of sandbars. The only spot with a modicum of usable sand was on the right side of the island on the south side of Fort Bottom.

The high water campsite at Tent Bottom was used by the canoe we'd seen the previous day. Great site but challenging take-out, especially for kayaks.

A rare stretch break was declared on an island as we approached the southern end of Potato Bottom. This area had a muddy edge, but still had some clean, dry sand at the upriver end of the island.

Back on the water, we soon caught our first glimpse of the Buttes of the Cross. Named on Powell's first trip in 1869, they initially assumed it to be a single butte, but discovered that it was really two separate buttes as they continued down river.

We had anticipated stopping at the upper Anderson Bottom camp but there were four canoes already there. The lower Anderson Bottom camp was marginally accessible but too small for our group. We hit the jackpot at Bonita Bend at the far south corner of Anderson Bottom! It's our favorite camp and this year, with the high water we were able to paddle right up to the camp. The past two years it has been inaccessible in thigh deep mud.

With a short day on the water, we headed out to visit some known places of interest. First on the trail was the remains of a small granary high on the south wall of the frog.

Anderson Bottom is a rincon, or abandoned river meander. The butte in the center of a rincon is termed a "frog" after the center portion of a horse's hoof.

This is the view from the frog looking southeast towards our camp. Our camp is under the cottonwoods below the cliffs at the right edge of the photo.

On the north side of the frog is a small, but very nice petroglyph panel. The younger members of our group proceeded to interpret the panel. As I recall, they explained that after an atomic war, a man was pushed over the cliff by a Desert Bighorn ram while his friend stood around and watched, resulting in severe chest damage to the man...

The view back up river from the petroglyphs.

We split the group at this point with three heading over to check out the seep in the large alcove and then continuing on to the slot canyon on the northwest side of the bottom. Because of the recent rains, the mouth of the slot was full of water so they didn't explore it further.

Meanwhile, our group of four returned to the dance floor on our way back to camp. Yup, this slab of 50 year old concrete was poured to serve as a dance floor. It was used as a party place during the Memorial Day weekend Friendship Cruise from Green River, Utah to Moab, Utah.

The cottonwood trees provide dappled light and shade. They also hide the camp from all but a very narrow sliver of river view. The camp is accessible in high water, and in low water once the muddy bottom of the wash dries enough to walk on it from the river.

Last year my Snow Peak stove failed after years of use. It didn't like the heat under my Outback Oven. I replaced it with an MSR Wind Pro II stove that has the control valve remote from the burner head. Works really nicely, especially when enclosed in a snug windscreen or under the Outback Oven cozy.

We switched up the frying pan pizza this year using pita bread instead of Boboli pizza crust. It seemed to work better. The substitution of salami for the pepperoni wasn't quite as successful in my mind, but the pizza was still great.

We traveled about 10 river miles today on about 7500 cfs. Blue skies, light breezes, and shirtsleeve warm. Couldn't ask for more!

In addition to the canoes at the upper Anderson Bottom site, we passed the three rafts at their camp at Millard Canyon. During low water periods there is an S-turn riffle at Millard Canyon, but with the high water this year, it was totally washed out.

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