ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
[personal profile] ilanarama
The problem with having nice friends who invite you on river trips and loan you nifty inflatable kayak thingies is that then you get all covetous and want to spend money and get your own.

That's me on the Dolores river, paddling the Fat Cat, which is kind of like a cross between a kayak and a cataraft. Steve and his girlfriend Sue are on the cataraft in the background, and Britt, who took the picture, is in an inflatable kayak (duckie). Britt and I traded crafts on and off, but I felt a lot more confident in the Fat Cat and used it in all the named (class II and III) rapids. Part of it was because the cat is more stable and the seat's higher, so I could see better, but part of it was because during my first stint in the duckie, the wind was blowing really hard (well, it was blowing most of the trip!) and one astonishingly strong gust overturned the duckie and knocked me into the water. Yep, I took a spill in flatwater - and had no problem with any of the rapids. Clearly, I have a very special talent. Sigh.

The Dolores is a nifty river. The section from Slickrock to Bedrock (yabba-dabba-dooo!) starts out in a fairly open valley which the river paradoxically travels through crosswise; the valley subsided after the river was entrenched. Then it enters a classic desert sandstone canyon which was occupied by pre-Puebloan cultures who left plenty of artwork behind:

Our camp the first night was in the alcove with these pictographs and petroglyphs. Note that we didn't bother with the tent fly, because the sandstone wall would have protected us from any rain.

We stopped from time to time to hike up interesting side canyons. Which was sometimes a little less than comfortable in a wetsuit. Also, it wasn't all that easy to stop wherever we wanted, because the relatively high water level (1300 cfs) washed out many of the eddies, so it was swift water from bank to bank, and the water was often deep right up to the shore. (In fact, we missed one nice side hike because I totally couldn't manage to get my boat up and out quickly enough, and got washed downstream, and the others were nice enough to come follow me...)

(The Dolores is dam-controlled, and normally runs only 50 cfs or so - not enough to boat. Most but not all springs, they release enough water for a few weeks of river-running, but this wet winter means a relatively long boating season with an unusually high water level. We rafted it years ago, when we were living in Boulder and had a raft, and it was probably something between 800-1000 cfs.)

Steve hiking up Bull Canyon:

Sue, Steve, and me at the big alcove drop-off at the upper end of Bull Canyon:

Hee, you can tell that Britt is more interested in the scenery than in the people. We're just there for scale, I think. A couple more river pictures:

I should add that we drove our NEW SPORTSMOBILE YAY out to do this trip (well, it's just a couple hours west of here) and we camped in it the night before we put in - everything seemed to work beautifully. I'm pretty excited about the prospect of more desert trips this spring, and mountain trips this summer.

Except now I want a Fat Cat. (Britt wants just a regular inflatable kayak, like the Aire he was using, which costs maybe a couple hundred $ less - not much difference, really.) Steve got his at the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake, which we went to last year and came back from with all sorts of schwag and pro-deal stuff. So the question is, do we shell out the money for the boats now, so we can play all spring and summer, or do we wait until OR in August and maybe save a thousand bucks between the two of us? Thing is, this is a wet year, and there are a lot of tiny rivers which are not normally runnable that we could do. Like the Escalante, which is very tempting - remember this picture from our hike last year? It's runnable maybe one year in five. And this is it. Steve offered to loan us his boats again - but then reconsidered, because he wants to come with us, and he'd need one of them! Then again, we could just rent inflatable kayaks, which I'd be fine with as long as we did flatwater rivers. Decisions, decisions.

But I think we will go to OR again. I guess I should work on our website so it looks a little more legitimate... :-)
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ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)

August 2017

131415 16171819
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My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31


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