Green River 2017
November 4, 2017, Aaron Griggs, Mary Sims, and myself arrived at Green River, Utah around noon. We met up with Ed Bevers, Bill Bailey and Todd “Pete” Peterson. Pete, Mary, and I set up camps at Crystal Geyser while Aaron, Ed & Bill shuttled vehicles. We drove in rain, snow, and cloudy conditions to get here and this afternoon it cleared off and approached 70˚. The desert is a whole different world than the high mountains where we live. Bill, Aaron & Ed returned before dark with supper and we ate, discussed emergency plans, built a short campfire, visited until after dark, and then turned in.
Sunday, November 5, Day One. We were up with the sun and Ed made coffee for us. We packed up, loaded our boats & set off. Mary, Curly, and I are in my 18’ Champlain by Wenonah, Aaron and his two dogs are in an Old Town Solo 119, Ed is paddling solo in a 14’ fiberglass canoe, and Bill & Pete are in a wooden boat with a stern oar and outrigger boat.
We traveled 12 ½ miles to a campsite near Dellenbaugh butte. Mary and I arrived just after 1 o’clock. The others were slowed by a stiff headwind at times. We had a very nice camp with lots of firewood in a stand of cottonwoods.
Monday November 6, Day Two. Up with the sun again. Bill & Pete did a little patching on the boats. We hit the river on another beautiful day with little wind. When we got to the Ruby ranch we saw several ducks and geese. Ed was hunting for waterfowl and when he went to the right of an island the rest of us stayed left so as not to interfere with his chance at a fat goose.
As we were watching two flocks of wild turkeys on the left bank, Ed was getting his fowler ready on a pair of Mallards. They flared off a little too far away and he set his hammer back to half cock and laid it on his packs in the bottom of the canoe. As he laid it down on the packs, it fired from half cock and shot a hole in the starboard bow of his canoe just above the waterline. The shot load put a 3” hole in the fiberglass just forward of the front seat. When the gun went off, I smiled. I was happy that Ed was able to do something I hadn’t accomplished on our previous two trips, i.e. Take a shot at live game. I started to laugh aloud when the turkeys on river left started to gobble and continued to gobble in response to Ed’s shot. When we rounded the island, we met up with Ed in a hurry to land. I asked if he needed help retrieving his game and he asked us all to land with him and he told us the story. He patched the outside with pillow ticking and some of Bill’s tar then we continued down the river. We fought a headwind for the next 9 miles and by the time we got to Three Canyon everyone was tired and ready to make camp. Bill and Pete cooked more beans with rice and venison. While the boys were cooking another party landed and came up to check us out. They were from Seattle and were quite surprised to find a group of 1830’s trappers encamped here. They camped on the sand bar downstream of the Three Canyon creek. We patched the hole in Ed’s canoe with my fiberglass repair kit and his boat is good as new and ready to go. Ed has earned himself a new name courtesy of Bill Bailey; “Keel hole”. We sat around the fire for quite a while after dark.
Tuesday November 7, Day Three. After coffee and a little breakfast, we all headed up canyon. Bill, Pete & Ed stopped to do some shooting. Mary & I explored a slot canyon on the right hand while Aaron continued up canyon. Ed, Bill & Pete tried their hand at fishing and managed to catch a few small Channel Catfish. Mary & I cooked squash, potatoes, & ham for supper.
Wednesday November 8, Day Four. After Bill cooked up the Catfish for breakfast, we headed out early and after paddling six miles, stopped to find some petroglyphs. We hiked more than a mile along the rimrock until we found them.
We launched again and paddled another six miles to Keg Spring Canyon. We hiked in to the camp and set up. Aaron cooked supper and we went to bed around 8 PM. It froze overnight. We were cold and sore throughout the night.
Ed cooked supper of ham & beans with rice and I boiled up some dried fruit. We had a neighbor tonight, a young man from Pinedale, WY. He was attempting to travel the length of the Green and the Colorado rivers on a stand-up paddle board. He joined us around the fire and shared some boiled fruit.
Friday November 10, Day Six. We got up early and carried our stuff out to the river and loaded the boats. We hit the river and after a couple of miles stopped at the river registry.
We stopped to look for the May 16, 1836 Denis Julien inscription and again could not locate it. We continued down the river and around the Bowknot Bend and made camp right before dark on the shelf at mile 61.5. We paddled 17 ½ miles today with three brief stops. As this would be our last night on the river, nobody was in a hurry to bed down, so we sat up by the fire for quite a while. Ed shared a bottle of Tawny port, which was very good! Before we turned in we saw a helicopter fly in and land at a campsite ½ mile downstream at Two Mile Canyon. We never found out what happened but did recognize the boats of the Seattle party as we went by the next morning. Nobody hung any canvas tonight, we just threw down under the stars.
Saturday November 11, Day Seven. Up and on the river early again, we made the trip to Hell Roarin’ Canyon before noon. We made some coffee and went up to look at Denis Julien’s inscription from May 3, 1836.
We continued on down to the take out at Mineral bottom and once again experienced the melancholy feeling of finishing the trip. We loaded our boats and gear on the waiting vehicles, retrieved Ed’s truck from Crystal Geyser and headed home.
This is the third time I have made this trip. Each one has been the same and unique all at once. We met more people on the river than we had ever seen in the past. I would attribute that to the warm fall weather we had this year. Our group of six was very manageable and pleasant to travel with. The varied experience and knowledge of each person brought a strength to our group that would be hard to defeat in any wilderness situation. To use an old phrase: “These are men (and one woman) to ride the river with!” Once again, seven days on the river seemed like a long weekend. I call it “river time”. Time seems to become irrelevant much beyond sunrise and sunset. The days run together, and the experiences are so fine that life seems to change its pace just for us. We had a couple of miscues on this trip; Mary cut her fingers and ……… well, Keel Hole, but all went well and nothing, but good memories remain.