Friday, October 9, 2020

Creatures of Habit

It's Fall, so it must be time for our nearly annual Green River trip. As usual, we started our trip at Tex's Riverways office in Moab. Once again, we were the first ones to arrive, thanks to breakfast taking less time than anticipated. 

For the third year in a row, we brought our 16' Souris River tandem canoe while Kathy & Willie used their Wild River 14' tandem. We had 2 other parties launching with us - 2 couples in rented Old Town canoes and a single fellow in a rented Grumman canoe.

This year, we planned 8 nights on the river to do the 52 miles from Mineral Bottom through the Stillwater canyon. (Many people plan to do this trip in half the time, but we enjoy being lazy!) The winds were blowing pretty good on launch day so we elected to use one of our layover days before we ever got on the river. The sun was just starting to glow on the cliffs across the river the next morning, reflecting in the glassy water.

One of the joys of paddling in low/no wind conditions is that it's easier paddling and easier to read the river but the part I enjoy most is the reflections on the calm water.

Typically when we do the Stillwater section, camp for our first night on the river is somewhere near Fort Bottom. This year, thanks to launching a couple hours earlier than normal, we were able to claim the sandbar near the trailhead. As usual, it was well after we'd made our reservations that we realized this was going to be a full moon trip. The camera doesn't like to focus on the moon but I liked the reflection!

Sometimes, the reflections are so overwhelming that it's a bit challenging to pick out the channel which changes from year to year.

The river was MUCH clearer than we'd ever seen it. We're used to having less than 2 inches of visibility but this year we had over 18 inches. Apparently a number of the muddy feeder streams were dry this year. Even so, you have to keep a close eye for the shoals that would send you walking if you didn't pay enough attention!

The view as we drifted along the White Rim on river left approaching the Millard riffle didn't disappoint. The riffle was splashier than it has been. The line I choose managed to get BJ a bit wet but we avoided every single rock so I was happy.

We hoped that we would be able to access a favorite spot at Bonita Bend but another party was already there so we continued on to a sandbar at river mile 29 for the night. This day was the busiest day we experienced this trip with two groups camped within a mile upstream and one camped downstream on the sandbar at the top of Valentine Bottom.

Unlike most previous years, we weren't planning to camp at Turks Head this year. It's a good thing! The sandbar that we used several previous trips was totally sheared off this year, leaving just an 8 foot tall wall of sand.

We'd gambled on the camp at Deadhorse Canyon. Dave & I stayed there the first time I did this section of the Green twenty years ago but I'd not been back since. With just a small group and a report that sand had built up in the mouth of the canyon, this was our goal. There were two kayaks there when we arrived but they were just finishing a hike and were continuing on, so we claimed it for our own.

I can't cram it all into one post, so there will be another post in a couple weeks or so.


  1. Most Excellent! Thanks for taking us along through your blog and photos. High Five!!

  2. Beautiful pics, John. Thank you for taking the time to share a bit of your amazing trip!

  3. Beautiful! Sounds like you had a great time.

  4. It
    Oops like a great trip. Thanks for sharing it with is

  5. I don't know how these two posts slipped by me...this one and Dead Horse. I never saw the update pop up. WOW, such gorgeous reflection shots, my favorites! And I can't believe how CLEAR that water was!

    Okay, on to the next post with eager anticipation...