Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Costa Rica with Golfo de Nicoya Kayaking

Daughter Celeste blogged about our visit (http://yerbabarry.blogspot.com/2015/05/rah-rah-and-nana-come-to-visit-rincon.html?spref=fb) so I'll try not to duplicate what she wrote too much.

Our first impression of Costa Rica was that it was hot. Our second impression of Costa Rica was that it was hot. Our third impression of Costa Rica was - well... We arrived in Costa Rica, on the Pacific side, during the dry season so we were greeted with a dry and dusty landscape rather than my pre-existing image of a thick, green, moist jungle environment. The locals were looking forward to the return of rain and the slightly cooler "green" season.
Graham hiking in Ricon de la Vieja National Park
Before heading to Celeste and Geoff's house in Nosara we visited Ricon de la Vieja National Park. Inside the park we walked past boiling mud and steam vents. Outside the park we went to a local swimming hole that the Costa Ricans (Ticos) hanging out there said was "cold like Alaska". That description was an irresistible invitation to jump into the coolish water. Roger made quite a splash with his cannonball but it didn't compare to a couple of the young Ticos who climbed up to a high tree branch and, hurling into the air, somersaulted down to the water.

On our way to Nosara we stopped for a refreshing dip at another popular swimming spot - the beautiful Llano de Cortes Waterfall. Amara showed off her skill catching little fish with a sun hat.
Llanos de Cortes waterfall near Bagaces
We spent several days at Celeste and Geoff's house. We didn't even have to leave their balcony to see an abundance of Costa Rican animal and bird life. A special treat was seeing the beautiful Mot Mot that has been hanging out by their house. It was also fun when a family of Howler monkeys came by. The monkeys are expert acrobats, moving through the trees with ease. The Howler monkeys really do howl and when Graham called to them with his best howling, the monkeys answered!
Mot Mot
Beach time is the right time in Nosara, especially early morning and late afternoon. The middle of the day is time for a siesta and wiping away the sweatstache growing on your upper lip. Most of the beach area is protected from development and, other than the main surfing spots, was surprisingly uncrowded.
Roger and Graham 
Leaving Nosara and the tropical dry forest we traveled up to Monteverde and the cloud forest. Linda, Bob, Lois, Michelle and Colette joined us there. I'm not particularly into bird watching but doing so in Costa Rica could change that. One highlight of our trip was the birding tour in Curi Cancha Reserve in Monteverde. The enthusiasm of our guide Danilo and of our group, including 7 year old Graham and 9 year old Amara, turned a planned 3 to 4 hour tour into 5 1/2 hours.

Curi Cancha Reserve
Graham and Amara in Monteverde
Many in our group also went zip-lining in Monteverde, including my 71 year old Aunt Lois. I didn't go but the participants reported the zip-line was a very intense experience. Once they zipped off the first platform, there was no turning back, no matter how scary. Amara loved it but not everyone else did. Lois said she needed a beer or two afterwards!

After Monteverde several of us went on a 5 day kayak tour with Bahia Rica Kayak and Fishing in the Golfo de Nicoya. Our guide was Vigdis, who moved to Costa Rica from Norway with her husband Thomas. One of the reasons they left Norway was the attraction of the Costa Rican philosophy of Pura Vida, which represents a simpler, more peaceful lifestyle with an appreciation of your blessings.
Vigdis sharing with Collete
Each night we camped on a different beach, sleeping in expedition hammocks. Most meals were provided by local Tico families who had homes nearby. That meant huge helpings of rice and beans for nearly every evening, including breakfast. On the last evening of the kayak trip we went into the kitchen to get our meal. As we were waiting for our rice and beans, vegetable dish and salad, one of the semi-wild pigs, looking handsome in a mohawk mane, strolled through the kitchen. I later shared some of my rice and beans with him.

Roger by hammock, Michelle in backround
Sleeping in a hammock worked better than I expected. It was pretty comfortable for everyone except Collete. She never adapted to what she called her "cocoon". I think Collete felt like a butterfly that was trapped inside and needed to stretch her wings.

The sun went down shortly after 6 so we ended up crawling into our cocoons pretty early to sleep or read or meditate. The evening we spent on Tortuga Island I decided to stay up later by going for a walk on the beach. The walk didn't last long because there was no room to step without crushing a crab. The hermit and halloween crabs blanketed the beach. The tides of Tortuga must bring in a wealth of marine riches to support such a big army of crabs.
Halloween Crab
We didn't have any significant problems on the kayak trip although Collete took over the mantle of Most Mishaps from Michelle. We landed on one beach during a really low tide. Instead of the normal sandy beach we hopped out of our kayaks and stumbled into a sucky mucky mess. I almost lost my shoes. Collete lost her balance and down she went. Seeing her covered with brown slime from head to toe, Vigdis commented that it's customary to take a mud bath without all your clothes on.

Alpha male Spider Monkey
We paddled out to an island with Spider Monkeys and were excited to spot them up in the trees. We landed on a nearby beach and the Spider Monkeys followed. An adult female came down to the shore and checked us out. She was very gentle and sweet. The alpha male was the opposite, being verbally and physically aggressive. He would not let any of the other monkeys come down to the beach. I'm not sure if he was being a protector or a bully.

I felt absolutely blessed to go on a night paddle where we were able to experience the enchantment of bioluminescence. The water sparkled as our boats glided silently along. It seemed like Tinkerbell was lighting our way, dancing on the water. Linda said it was magical. Linda was right.
Lunch stop: Vigdis, Michelle, Linda, Collete and Roger on last day of kayak trip
Then it was back to Nosara for a couple more days of sunsets, beach time, bird watching and family before flying home. It wasn't hard to leave the heat behind but it was very difficult to say good-bye to Amara and Graham. We're looking forward to spending time with them in August when they return to Washington for a visit.

Roger, Amara, Katherine, Graham, Lois, Linda, Celeste 
 Pura Vida

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Baja! Loreto, San Javier, Islands to Aqua Verde

What could be better than the Sea of Cortez in early March? If our trip to Baja is any indication, not much. Roger and I signed up for our first guided kayak tour ever. Before that began we spent an enjoyable 3 1/2 days in Loreto, staying at the Iguana Inn. The owner, Julie, was very helpful with local knowledge, recommendations and making arrangements with Spanish speaking taxi drivers and guides.
Loreto malecon
Loreto has a laid back, small town feel, and invites strolling down the malecon, beach, or the tree-lined street with an old mission and little shops. My sister Linda, Michelle and Colette from Twin Falls, Idaho joined us in Loreto.
Loreto beach
On our first full day in Baja we took a taxi up into the Giganta Sierra mountains to visit the tiny village of San Javier and its old Jesuit mission. The building of the mission was an impressive feat, or perhaps we should say feet, as the stones were quarried 12 miles away and transported uphill. The interior is very beautiful and, if I understood the docent correctly, everything is original except the benches. A short walk behind the mission leads to a large, gnarly olive tree which is 300 to 400 years old.
San Javier mission, dates back to 1758
We had lunch at the small restaurant in San Javier. Good food, friendly owners, and cute kids and puppies made it a favorite. We were brought some unusual looking but tasty local citrus fruit to try.
Restaurant in San Javier  (L to R: Taxi driver, Colette, Michelle, Linda, Roger)
We were fortunate that Carnaval was being celebrated in Loreto while we were there. One evening we watched the introduction of the Queen and her court. (Very fancy dresses.) Also on stage were 4 grim reapers and the "Candidate" shown below. One of the reapers read a long story which elicited laughter from the audience. Then all the reapers took the "candidate" down from his stand and carried him to the back of the audience and hung him from a crane. The "candidate" exploded with fireworks! Maybe we should show the video to some of our politicians.
Candidate hanging in effigy at Carnaval Celebration
We also watched a very colorful and exuberant Carnaval parade. Seeing the float pictured below reminded me of the Seattle Seahawks' Superbowl win! Roger bought some decorated eggs from a couple of girls at the Carnaval. They told him the eggs were "con fetay". Con means "with" in Spanish so Roger kept asking the girls "Que es fetay?" (What is fetay?) They answered by repeating "con fetay" and making a throwing motion. Finally Roger responded, "Oh, like English! Confetti!" The eggs were filled with shredded paper and spectators were tossing them during the parade.
"Seahawks" on Loreto Carnaval float
Unfortunately I got sick and missed out on the whale watching and bird watching tours. I felt sorry for myself listening to the glowing reports from everyone else but was happy that I recovered enough to go on the kayaking trip. (It helps to travel with 2 pharmacists along. I started on antibiotics as soon as symptoms appeared.) The whale tour was successful with the sighting of a blue whale, a colony of sea lions, rays, dolphins (at one point they had hundreds surrounding the boat), another whale - probably a humpback - performing a spectacular breach. Linda was especially excited to see a Blue Footed Booby. She said seeing one had been on her bucket list for a long time. Had I known that she wanted to see a Blue Footed Booby I would have dipped my feet in blue paint.

We went on the kayak trip with Baja Kayak Adventure Tours. They certainly lived up to their name on the first day. When we reached the channel where we planned to cross over to Isla Danzante there were ocean swells ranging from 6 to 10 feet.  The guides decided to try and make the crossing and gave us a few instructions. Sister Linda, recovering from abdominal surgery, was in a double kayak with Roger. He was under doctor's orders to make sure Linda took it easy. Two hours into the trip Roger was shouting at Linda, "Paddle now! Hard!" Colette, paddling near Ryan, credited him with helping her get through the swells. She said the most useful thing Ryan said was, "Colette...Stop bowing your head and folding your hands!" I was in a single kayak, not very experienced paddling by myself or using a rudder and feeling more than a bit wimpy after two days without much food. I would have probably been more effective bowing my head and folding my hands but I managed not to go in the water. Progress was slow battling the wind and the waves so the guides finally called for us to retreat back to calmer water to wait for better conditions.
Packing up for Islands to Aqua Verde kayak trip
We took refuge at a protected beach where Roger, Colette and I scrambled up the steep and scratchy ridge.We came back just a bit bloodied from the cactus and thorny bushes.
Roger scrambling down from ridge 
Linda helped guides Joel and Ryan make lunch. All members of the group took turns making meals. Everyone did just a great job despite the dietary restrictions. We five Americans were especially a problem. We had 3 vegetarians, one who will eat fish, one who doesn't eat fish, and one who doesn't eat fish, dairy, or eggs. Another one of our group eats meat but doesn't eat gluten, dairy, or chili powder/peppers. The rest of the participants were Canadians, They weren't so fussy although one couldn't eat garlic. Peter and Mary cooked the first night. It was Mary's birthday so Ryan and Joel made a yummy cake with chocolate/avocado frosting. Ryan and Joel also cooked the last evening and made sushi! Sushi in the wild! So good.
Linda helping guides Joel and Ryan cook first lunch

After lunch and relaxation we were able to make the crossing to Isla Danzante, where we camped. The goal had been Isla Carmen but the beautiful camping spot on Danzante more than compensated for not reaching our destination.
Backdrop to camping area on Isla Danzante

The next morning on our way to Isla Carmen we heard a splat. A couple rays put on a show, leaping about 10 feet straight up out of the water and then dropping straight down, landing with a plop. Seeing rays was my inspiration for the trip so watching them was a highlight for me. After setting up camp on Isla Carmen, we went for a beautiful and interesting walk along the rugged white bench with fossilized shell. 

Isla Carmen walk
On day 3 we left the islands which are part of the Loreto Bay National Marine Park and headed back to the coast. Working to get back on schedule made it our longest day of paddling. I was exhausted at the end of the day! Traveling south the scenery was beautiful and development minimal. We had multiple dolphin sightings during the trip. On one occasion they came right by our boats. 

For me day 4 was the funnest day on the water. The sea was calm, making for smooth paddling and good visibility. It seemed like we were floating on top of an aquarium when going around rocky points and by ledges. We camped on a beach south of Punta Carrizalito that has an intertidal hot springs and is near Rancho San Cosme.  

Ironically, our calmest day on the water was followed by our windiest night. Roger and I woke up in the middle of the night due to the howling wind and the ferocious flapping of our rainfly. We didn't get a lot of sleep but it was nice by the time we got up in the morning. We saw that Colette's tent, which had been pitched near ours, was gone! Michelle's tent was collapsed around her. She commented that she had a sand facial during the night. Linda's tent was semi-collapsed.We found Colette at the other end of the beach, her tent pitched behind a rock of inadequate dimensions. I brilliantly asked Colette if she had moved. She joked that yeah, she wanted some real estate with a better view. During the night, the crazy wind had broken the pole of her brand-new REI tent. Ryan had gotten up and helped her repair the pole with duct tape. Almost everyone had been up in the night trying to keep their tents from blowing away, finding large rocks to use as anchors. One of the kayaks even flipped over.    
We had a layover day at the beach near the hot springs. Most of the group, including Roger, decided to go on a mule ride available at the nearby ranch. Linda and I spent the time hiking up a hill that offered a view of the bay, snorkeling, and soaking in the hot springs. I was ready for some leisure and didn't regret my decision when group members returned from the mule ride walking funny. 

The wind visited again the following night so everyone was suffering from sleep deprivation as we left for a beach near the small community of Aqua Verde. More beautiful scenery kept our eyes open. 

On our last morning we had a some time to either kayak around the bay or go on a little hike before the van arrived to pick us up. I hadn't paddled with Roger all week so I decided to go in the double kayak with him for a paddle around the bay. Big mistake! Roger decided to follow Joel out to witness the dumping of the toilet. Apparently sea creatures do a good job of gobbling up poop so each day the toilet was taken safely away from shore and emptied. Roger, for some reason that still eludes me, asked Joel if he could go along and watch. (I have a photo of brown streaming into the water that I'll politely not share.) Joel confirmed that Roger's request to go along on the poop dump was a first and I'm sure it will be a last!  
Black toilet base riding behind Joel 
More Poop: Abundance of birds creates "Baja Snow"
We were very lucky to have such a good group to share the trip with. The Canadians certainly lived up to their reputation for being nice people. One couple from British Columbia lives on Texada Island, BC. Roger and I camped on Texada last September during a kayak trip. (See previous post.)
Standing left to right: Ryan, Linda, Michelle, Mary and Peter from Texada Is., Katherine, Curtis and Zoe from Nanaimo, Roger, Gordon from Calgary.    Kneeling l to r: Joel, Jenny from Calgary, Colette.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sunshine Coast - Summer in September

We returned for an encore kayak trip to the Sunshine Coast (British Columbia) for Roger's birthday  mid-September, 2013. We waited for a good forecast and were rewarded with summer weather without the summer crowds. After spending the first night on Thormanby Island, we were faced with a 5 to 6 mile open water crossing to Texada Island. I was a bit nervous the wind would come up and turn an easy paddle into a merciless one. No worries. We could sing "Summertime and the livin' is easy" the whole way across.
Calm water crossing over to Texada Island
We did get some wind on the shorter crossing from Texada to Home Bay on Jedediah Island. (We later learned that winds typically race down the mountains of Vancouver Island toward Jedediah.) There was a small farm on Jedediah before it became a provincial park. We camped at the edge of a meadow behind the old farmhouse and shared the grassy area with the descendants of the island's 4 legged farm inhabitants.
Shaggy Sheep on Jedediah
Home Bay at Jedediah Island
Roger and I hiked the available trails during our stay on Jedediah and then circumnavigated the island in our kayak, especially enjoying scenic Bull Passage. Our campsite for the next night was Anderson Bay on Texada Island. The southeast coastline of Texada was quite jagged and occupied by occasional seals hauled out in miniature coves. Normally we maintain a respectful distance from resting seals but in this case we would round a point and - there was a seal. It was fun to have the up close and personal encounter and I was even more pleased none panicked and scrambled into the water.
Seal resting on Texada Island ledge
We had another great crossing on our return to Thormanby Island.
Epsom Point, Thormanby Island
After landing at Halfmoon Bay on the Sunshine Coast,we drove north to Lund and treated ourselves to lunch at the excellent bakery there. Then we kayaked to Copeland Islands Provincial Marine Park and stayed there a couple of nights.
Copeland Island sunset
With the "summer" weather continuing, we did a day trip to some islands west and north of the Copelands. A blow sound in the distance interrupted our leisurely exploring. Trip highlight! Roger got a birthday present of 3 orca whales going by. The biggest had a HUGE dorsal fin. Later a local in Lund told us that they had a resident orca family of 3 with a 50 year old male who sported a 6 foot tall dorsal fin.  
Interesting rock on Townley Island (privately owned)
Platforms for tents where we camped on one of the Copeland Islands
The tide was out our last morning in the Copelands, allowing us to see an abundance of sea life, particularly sea stars. (A sad postscript: Recently we have learned that the sea stars are mysteriously dying in the area. There is some speculation this is happening because of the nuclear accident in Japan.)
Sea Stars in the Copelands
Getting back to civilization, this double breasted ice cream cone with the boy on top greeted us at the ferry landing. A couple with a German Shepard walked by, the dog looked up at it and started barking and would not stop barking! Totally funny.
At the ferry landing

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Green River kayak

Green River Kayak, Labyrinth and Stillwater Canyons
June 3 – 7, 2013

Michelle was the only member of our kayak group without NoDak ties so Roger told her that in order to become an honorary member she would have to pass a quiz about all things North Dakotan. I think Michelle was graded on a curve to pass Roger’s test but, to be fair, some of his questions were questionable.  Such as - what is the ND county where fellow trip member Collete grew up and which also describes Roger’s chest? (Answer: Burley) What North Dakota city is the geographic center of North America, the name of a sport and, more importantly, Roger’s birthplace? (Answer: Rugby)

Next order of business was answering the poop questions. And there were a lot of poop questions! The Green River trip would take us through Canyonlands National Park. A Park Service requirement is that you carry an approved toilet system and pack out your human waste in a container clearly labeled as such. For some reason no one wanted to volunteer to carry the human waste bag. There was discussion of towing the poop bag behind one of the kayaks but we didn’t think the Park Service would be too keen on that idea. Not having the equipment to launch the unwanted payload into space, there was no choice left but to man up and carry the load.

A van ride with Tex’s Riverways to the start at Mineral Bottom began the adventure. The road down into the canyon was steep, narrow, and winding but was in good enough shape that I wasn’t distracted by my fear of heights from listening to the driver’s warnings about potential hazards on the trip. None of the dangers materialized. No scorpions. No rattlesnakes. No storms and very little wind.

Linda, Michelle and Collete at Mineral Bottom put-in

What our party of five experienced was almost perfect. The river was running at around 10,000 cfs which was fast enough to make paddling optional yet slow enough to fight our way upriver if we missed a landing spot. 95 degree days were fairly comfortable on the water. Evenings were very pleasant and were spent on hikes exploring the incredible surroundings. Water temperature elicited shouts getting in but was swimmable and refreshing.

Michelle and her anti-sunburn strategy

Our biggest challenge going on the trip during high water was finding landing spots at the campsites. The sandbars popular for camping were covered. Swift current and no beach made other landing spots tricky.

Our first stop was easy. We paddled up Horsethief Canyon and stopped for lunch at a nice sandy beach. After some exploration we found the sheep petroglyphs etched into a boulder on a bench to the left of where we landed. A father and son canoe duo landed and made the wise choice to stay at a nice campsite under a cottonwood tree. We decided to paddle on to Fort Bottom.

Horsethief Canyon

We were approaching Hardscrabble Bottom, enjoying a leisurely paddle when Collete, who was out ahead, announced that she heard a waterfall. A few strokes later and we were met with a mighty wind blasting our faces. There were no landing spots due to the high banks and tamarisks. Roger and I, in our double kayak, had a hard time moving forward so I was concerned about Linda, Collete and Michelle in the single kayaks. I didn’t need to be concerned. The group valiantly battled the wind for about 45 minutes and then after rounding the corner, the wind stopped. Everyone was glad to have survived the “hurricane”, as Collete was now calling her “waterfall”.  

Green River scene

We might have missed the Fort Bottom landing had a canoe not been tied up there. With barely enough room for our four boats, we rammed the noses of our kayaks into the riverbank and jumped out into the water. It was our first experience with the quicksand-like mud that we would encounter again and again. If you didn’t keep moving, your feet would sink deep into the muck. Trying to get out was like trudging through wet concrete.

The Horsethief Canyon campsite that we had left behind looked mighty good after examining the Fort Bottom site. The lone canoeist had set up his tent under the one shady flat spot beneath a ledge. Michelle and Collete got right to work setting up their tents in the hot sun. Linda, Roger and I sat in the shade and hydrated and then hydrated some more.

Fort Bottom campsite, Moki fort on top of plateau behind

That evening most of our group hiked to the top of the plateau to see the Moki fort ruin. Even better was the view of the panorama and the desert colors enhanced by the setting sun. The view definitely redeemed our choice of camp.

Fort Bottom view

Our goal for day two was Anderson Bottom/Bonita Bend and water resupply at an old spring. From other reports we expected mild rapids at Millard Canyon but with the high water there wasn’t a ripple. Arriving at Anderson Bottom we found the main campsite occupied by a party of 12 – 6 children and 6 adults. We went a bit further downstream and found a little swampy cove with a nice campsite above. There was not room to land and unpack four boats without great difficulty. Collete got out and walked over to the main campsite and discovered that the big group planned to have lunch and then pack up and leave. Michelle, in the meantime, had unpacked her kayak and was cooking her lunch. We were debating what to do and Michelle declared she was staying put. The consensus opinion, however, was to paddle back upstream and go to the other campsite after the group had left. After eating, Michelle concurred. We learned to feed Michelle before making any decisions!

Enroute to Anderson Bottom

Butte of the Cross
Roger scouted out the old spring at Anderson Bottom and found a stagnant pool so we ended up filtering the brown river water. We filled a cloth bucket with water and let the particles settle out before filtering and that worked okay.

Michelle jumped in the river and floated downstream a couple hundred feet to a spot where it was possible to pull yourself back up on the bank. Soon the blazing sun convinced all of us to follow her example and let the river give us a cooling ride. Roger had the good fortune of floating down the river with an otter swimming just ahead of him.

From our camp, Roger, Michelle, Collete and I headed west to the slot canyon. Guarding its entrance was a little frog and a slimy, mucky waist-deep pool (chest deep for me) that had to be crossed. Michelle went first and Roger followed. They walked across the pond and were able to scramble up the first vertical rise. I ended up swimming across and tried three times to get up to the next level without success. With her long legs Collete could have continued but decided that crossing the water filled slime pit was enough adventure so she returned to camp with me. My white shirt had turned red and it stayed red after a swim in the river. Skin required scrubbing to remove the red slime.

Slot Canyon

Linda had been searching for petroglyphs that were reportedly hiding on the north face of Frog Rock. Collete and I joined her in the search for Frog Rock and spied out a rock outcrop that, with imagination, looked like a frog. We climbed up a sand dune to get to its base and, just as we concluded we were unsuccessful, Collete noticed a nice group of petroglyphs higher up on its face. We enjoyed the glyphs and the view across the valley, then happily descended the sand dune with bare feet.

Frog Rock

Michelle and Roger returned to camp excited from their adventure. Michelle had discovered her inner mountain goat and enthusiastically scrambled from one steep pitch to the next. The two continued until they were stopped by a high overhanging lip. Roger was relieved they found an alternative way out of the slot canyon and were able to come down an old path rather than down-climb in the slot.
Morning at Anderson Bottom
Our planned destination for day three was Turks Head and its native ruins, flint chip site and rock art. We did a challenging rock ledge landing at Tower Park/Cabin Bottom with the intention of looking for petroglyph boulders. We decided it was too hot and too far to hike to the glyphs and were returning to the boats when we heard a crash. Luckily, Michelle was down by the kayaks and was able to grab Linda’s boat as it was sliding off the rock ledge and into the river.

Next we kayaked up Soda Springs Canyon and stopped there for lunch. Soda Springs was a pretty canyon that invited more exploration than we had time for. Back on the Green River we continued our float past Turks Head and did not see a good spot to land and camp so we changed our destination to Deadhorse Canyon.

We paddled a short ways up Deadhorse and, with a bit of maneuvering, were able to land and unpack all our boats. We had a choice of campsites among the trees by the water or on a scenic bench above. Swimming was good in the calm water at the mouth of Deadhorse. Toward evening we hiked to a petroglyph boulder by a cottonwood tree west of our camp. From there, we went up and over a ridge that lead to one of the petroglyph boulders that we had planned to access from Tower Park/Cabin Bottom. This trek required some scrambling which required quite a bit of encouragement for me to continue. With interesting petroglyphs on three sides, the boulder was worth the stress from the scramble.

View of Turks Head from 3-sided petroglyph boulder

Day four would be our last and longest day on the river. We traveled approximately 20 miles to a camp just below the confluence with the Colorado River when a planned stop at Water Canyon didn’t work out. Day four also saw Michelle experience two unplanned dunks in the water. Her first immersion happened early when she was getting in her kayak to leave Deadhorse Canyon. The narrow underwater ledge she was standing on sloughed off and deposited her in the water. Later we paddled up the entrance to Jasper Canyon to investigate some ruins. We went over a small tree that had fallen across the narrow channel. Upon leaving, Michelle was attempting to back over the tree when it caught her by surprise and swamped her kayak. Luckily, we were protected from the fast current of the Green River so Michelle was able to right her kayak and pump it out without a problem. Thanks to Michelle’s example, Roger and I went over the downed tree VERY carefully.

Another stop was at Horse Canyon. The group of 12 was camped there and the 7 year old boy was celebrating his birthday by proudly catching minnows with his net. The high canyon walls made Horse Canyon a cool campsite. Roger, Collete and I hiked to the beautiful dryfall and pool. Linda and Michelle had returned to the Green River and went downstream a short ways to land on one of the rare sandbars above the water level.

Entrance to Horse Canyon

Collete at Horse Canyon dry fall
Arriving at Water Canyon we paddled a fair ways up the canyon. We had been told there was a large campsite at Water Canyon and were surprised to find space for just one or two tents. We later learned that the large campsite was actually a short distance upstream of where the Water Canyon creek bed enters the river. We continued downstream instead of paddling back upstream to a campsite where the group of 12 planned to spend the night.

Next we stopped at Powells Canyon, just one mile above the Confluence, which was reported to have a campsite. The landing looked problematic and when I got out of the kayak to check the campsite I instantly sunk in the muck up to my knees. I struggled to extricate myself. We decided to move on. 

Our hunt for a campsite ended shortly below the Confluence where we landed on a long sandy beach. There was a cottonwood tree for shade and multiple sites for tents. This was not our planned stop but it was a good one. We were able to relax, enjoy the evening and get ready, without being hurried, for our jet boat pick-up the next morning.

Last night camp below Confluence

The next day the group of 12 arrived at our camp beach shortly before the jet boat was scheduled to come and take us all up the Colorado River and back to Moab. They proceeded to unload a lot of stuff out of their canoes. They even set up a table! From their coolers they got out tortilla shells, bagels, chicken and other fixings, and condiments. Michelle, after eating freeze dried meals for five days, looked over and exclaimed, “Wow! You have real food!” Linda, Roger, Collete and I were sitting above the beach under the cottonwood tree watching this unfold. Collete drooled, “They’ve got ketchup! And mustard!” And so on.

It was true. Our limited storage space meant our bellies were subjected to a more spartan diet. Our spirits, however, overflowed with plenty. The company was great. The scenery was magnificent. And the kayaking down the peaceful but lively Green River was bliss.