After a surprizing good night of sleep, we woke up to great cowboy coffee and hot chocolate. The guide’s made a egg, sausage, pepper, onion, and tomato scramble in the dutch oven.
After packing up camp we rafted down calm water, to about a 1/2 mile past the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. The confluence is the point which splits Canyonlands National Park into its three distinct districts: Islands in the Sky, Maze, and Needles.
Riverside our guides began breaking up our rafting rig and preparing rafts for whitewater. Customers that took a two day trip met up with us at this point via jet boat. Our group grew from 12 to 28 really quick.
After all of the orientation and rigging, we loaded onto the boats. Jennifer, the kids, and I choose to ride the J-rig.
The rest of the day we traversed rapid after rapid, 30 in all. The best ones are “Big Drop 1” though “Big Drop 3”, which are one right after another for about 1/2 mile and all class 5 rapids. During drop 1, a couple of private boaters followed us through and flipped their boat. We are all started looking for heads in the water. For a good 45 seconds they were stuck under their boat. They popped out just before drop 2. Our guide, who is a River First Responder, is yelling at them to get on top of their boat and ride it out. They ended up swimming their way through drop 2. Between drop 2 and 3, they were able to get on top of their boat and we tried to t-bone them through #3. After clearing the drops we pushed their boat to riverside, and our guide hiked back to their position with a supply kit to right their boat, while I held the J-rig in place.
During the drops, one of the men in our party in one of the row boats, had his foot crushed between the boat bottom and a diamond plate supply box.
The boat that flipped had another boat in their party at the top of drop 1, a couple of professional guides offered to ride their boat through for them, but they declined the offer. There is only one way out of the canyon, so they had to go down. With a large portion of supplies washed out of their capsized boat and them reluctant for help, we could do nothing but wish them luck.
After clearing the 30th rapid of Cataract Canyon, a few of us jumped out and floated the rest of the way to our camp. Once their we began setting up.
While waiting for dinner, a massive sand storm literally buried us. We had sand EVERYWHERE. Needless to say our steaks and mashed potatoes had a little “crunch” to them. For dessert our guide made Peach Cobbler in the dutch oven.
After the sun set, one of the guides presented Peter (the crushed foot) a crutch made out of drift wood. It was a great thing for them to do, and he was extremely appreciative. Before bed we had a ball playing with my camera’s long exposure features, with flashlights and glow sticks. We took some really neat pictures.
- Rapids, Rapids and More Rapids
- Rescuing the Rafters
- Riverside Caesar Chicken “Cones”
- If you take this trip and get the option of the j-rig verses the row boat, definitely take the j-rig. Those in the row boats had to constantly bail the boats and didn’t get nearly as wet as us. Additionally, because the j-rig was powered, we were able to do the rapid named “Repeat”, well repeatedly.