Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Floating Utah: The Green River.

Overlooking the Green River from 5 hole Arch.
Last week I floated almost 70miles of the Green River, from Green River, Utah to Mineral Bottom, Utah. It was a five day float. The week was filled with adventure; here are my thoughts and a recount of my trip.
It is roughly a 6 hour drive from Denver to Green River, less if traffic behaves, and more, lots more if things go a rye, as we would find out on our drive.
Things started out smoothly enough. My buddy Will, Milo (Will’s Dog) and I headed out of Denver in the Jeep, which was moderately packed with river and camping gear, shortly after 5pm Tuesday night. Our plan was to meet the rest of the group (9 people total) at the Green River camp grounds in Utah shortly after 10pm. About an hour and a half into our drive west, around Copper Mountain, Milo the dog started getting antsy and we figured he probably needed to take a leak.So did Will and I, so we stopped at Officer’s Gulch (a pull off to a frontage road near Copper) to relieve the bladders. Milo scampered off as we did our business. After 5 minutes or so we called Milo back in and headed off for Utah.
It was seconds after leaving Officer’s Gulch when Will and I noticed the smell of DEATH emanating from the back seat, from Milo. That very distinct smell of rotting flesh filled the jeep as Will and I whipped around to check Milo out. What the Hell did you get into?!
Milo peered back at us with that dogie smile as if to say, “Hey guys don’t I smell awesome!? Tasted great too. Aren’t you stoked with dead stinky stuff? I sure am, it's the greatest!”
As we gagged all four windows flew down in an attempt to vent the Jeep of the nastiness. Milo was covered head to toe with something foul, it looked like he had rolled around in it and worst part; it was on his breath, which was bad enough in the first place.

A shot of the Canyon from the Rim, day 3.
So there Will and I are, flying down the high mountain pass (10k feet) at 75mph with all four windows down and a dog that smells like, and is breathing death in the back seat. It was well dark by now and our situation was about to take another turn.
We lasted about hour before the decision was made to stop and wash the dog. We simply had to. We exited the highway and entered the small town of Avon which had several car washes and a grocery store open late. Figuring the car wash would just freak Milo out; we stopped at the grocery store and picked up two gallons of water, Dr Bonner’s soap, a roll of paper towels and some Lysol disinfectant wipes. Milo got leashed to the tow hitch of the jeep and scrubbed like he’d never been scrubbed before. Two times soaped up from head to toe and rinsed thoroughly, then completely wiped down with the disinfectant wipes. Milo kept trying to crawl underneath the jeep as I’m sure this is the first time he had his bath by two slightly annoyed men in the middle of a dark mountain parking lot.
With Milo clean, happy and smelling like eucalyptus we washed up, had a quick bite at the Burger King and headed west yet again.
We made it another 20 miles or so when we saw, to our dismay, the taillights of miles of stopped traffic. In fact the Colorado highway patrol was routing traffic off the highway to the frontage road and emergency parking lots to clear the highway for emergency vehicles. After a call to CDOT we learned that there had been a bad accident involving an 18 wheeler in the Glenwood canyon and that the highway was closed in both directions indefinitely. CDOT said to "expect major delays". I turned off the jeep after being directed off the highway and we waited with the rest of the westbound drivers…For 9 hours!
Map of River section.

Around 7am Wednesday morning the highway was reopened and we were able to make it to the camp grounds just two hours off of our original boat launch time, less a night's sleep and breakfast. We had a clean dog though…which would not last. Lucky we were on a river (good for dog dunking)
It always takes me a couple days to wind down and settle in to the wildness of my vacations. Shrugging off the tenseness of everyday life and forgetting your troubles is one of the best parts of going to the middle of nowhere to relax. We floated 21 miles the first day, which gave me plenty of time to unwind. When we got to camp the first night Will and I had been up for 36+ hours. Sleeping was not a problem that night.

The Animal at the Bowknot Bend saddle.
A very cool section of the Green River is called the Bowknot Bend. The river actually meanders around near 360 degrees over seven miles. We camped below the saddle on day 2 and got up before sunrise for the hike to the top. The short (20 minute) hike to the saddle almost straight up, was an eye opener and gave the group perspective of how far we had floated thus far.

There is a large variety of birds on the river, including ducks, geese, herrings and gulls
Around Camp Series.

I've been trying to step out of the mold with my photography this year. Pursuing that next level of imagery. Lately I've been experimenting with low light.


  1. The story of Milo was my favorite! That's hilarious. Poor Milo. He was probably regretting not purchasing a cell phone so he could call a victim's hotline and report two "slightly annoyed men" molesting him in the parking lot with a bar of soap:) Poor thing....

    I can totally empathize. Mira likes to eat doggie doo, and it makes me gag everytime I realize what she is doing:)

    Your "around camp" shots are beautiful. What camera are you using? My Nikon Coolpix has been lost in "Lisa's Black Hole" where all of my other belongings go when I get stressed out. I can't believe it is June already.

    You guys up for fly fishing this summer? I actually have gear for that! After run off cools down, tubing is on my list of things to try too.

    Anyhow, thanks for the enterainment and the great photos

  2. Ahhh yes. I forgot about Milo and the adventure of the dead animal that put you guys in a nine hour traffic jam. Kids these days.