The Grand Time

Tom's Journal

May 21 2007 - Day 6

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This was by far the longest day yet.

At just after 10 am, I set out alone from State Bridge under sunny skies. I was thankful for my award-winning polarized sunglasses courtesy of Zeal Optics.

The river was playful with more drop than I expected. Within about an hour and a half a thunderstorm made its presence known. I stopped to don my dry top just in time for the first large rain drops to hit.

As I re-entered the current, a very strong upstream wind began to blow. It felt like I was making no progress, but my GPS unit showed otherwise, so I continued. Thankfully the storm only lasted about forty minutes and clear skies soon returned.

The current was swift with class 2 and low 3 rapids interspersed with calm sections. By early afternoon another storm repeated the sequence of the morning’s challenge, especially the wind.

Soon after that, the river presented the day’s biggest challenge, a single drop with a large hole in the middle near a place called Burns. While it was in a very visible place near the county road that runs along the river, the place was deserted. I was thankful to run it successfully on the right side, although the current spun me around and I ran the worst of it backwards.

The incredible scenery and brisk pace disguised the mounting fatigue in my arms and shoulders. When I finally stopped to eat some energy bars, I noticed it was painful to raise my hands above my head.

With quite a bit less power in each paddle stroke, I again set off. Within about another hour, yet a third storm-with just as much upstream wind-blew in. This time, I was more concerned with not being blown over than making progress. While the storms impeded my progress, their aftermath provided some delicious sights and smells.

As you may know, the word “Colorado” is borrowed from Spanish words meaning “the color red.” Many of today’s miles ran between deep red sedimentary cliffs that no doubt contribute to the origin of the river’s name. In fact, the journal kept by Harold Leich during his attempt at this same expedition in 1933, referred to this region as Rouge Canyon.

Had it not been for the ever-changing scenery and company of many majestic Blue Herrons, the fatigue and mounting pain would have dominated my thoughts. For the last five of over forty seven of today’s miles, I only paddled when necessary to maintain course. At about 5:30 pm I was overjoyed to see my destination, Dotsero, where Interstate 70 meets the river.

Dotsero’s unusual name came from its origin as the place where two railroads met-the mileage on their maps began here at “dot zero”. The section of tracks running upstream on the Colorado was under construction when Leich floated through here in 1933, but the only people I saw all day were two fishermen.
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Mile by Mile Photos

May 21 2007 - Day 6
Mile 101 through Mile 146

May 16 2007 - Day 1May 17 2007 - Day 2May 18 2007 - Day 3May 19 2007 - Day 4May 20 2007 - Day 5May 21 2007 - Day 6May 22 2007 - Day 7May 23 2007 - Day 8May 24 2007 - Day 9May 25 2007 - Day 10May 26 2007 - Day 11May 27, 2007 - Day 12May 28, 2007 - Day 13May 29, 2007 - Day 14May 30, 2007 - Day 15May 31, 2007 - Day 16June 1, 2007 - Day 17June 2 - 11, Day 18 - 27June 12, 2007 - Day 28June 13, 2007 - Day 29June 14, 2007 - Day 30June 15, 2007 - Day 31June 16, 2007 - Day 32June 17, 2007 - Day 33June 18, 2007 - Day 34June 19, 2007 - Day 35June 20, 2007 - Day 36June 21, 2007 - Day 37June 22, 2007 - Day 38June 23, 2007 - Day 39June 24, 2007 - Day 40June 25, 2007 - Day 41June 26, 2007 - Day 42June 27, 2007 - Day 43June 28, 2007 - Day 44June 29 2007 - Day 45June 30, 2007 - Day 46July 1 - 13, Day 47 - 58July 15, 2007 - Day 59
The last day; The river’s end