The Grand Time

Tom's Journal

May 31, 2007 - Day 16

View A Different Day

Typical of this time of year, the sun was on us early in the morning and our cool sleepy beach quickly changed to hot sand. New friend Lisa departed in her kayak to meet some folks from Canyonlands National Park, the eastern boundary of which we crossed late yesterday. It’s the third of four National Parks on this trip, and its rugged, remote beauty is truly indescribable, at least by me.

Since I felt fairly well rested, and especially because I had an idea of the white water ahead, I opted to paddle my kayak rather than ride the raft. We shoved off at about 10:30 am and began winding our way through the lower reaches of the appropriately-named Meander Canyon.

Within just over an hour we arrived at a place called “The Loop” where the river goes four miles around a huge bend. While Lars rowed the raft carrying my kayak around the bend, Courtney, Noel and I hiked a mile up a trail and over a saddle that short-cuts the river’s bend. If you look on the interactive map on this Website, you can see The Loop shortly above the Colorado’s junction with the Green River.

Lars arrived right on time and we continued on in the slow current. A small rapid, known as “The Slide” because it was caused by a landslide, signaled our approach to the junction with the Green River a mile farther. Soon the junction-widely regarded as the center of the boating universe in the upper basin- came into view. Like no other place I know, it is absolutely stunning to behold from any elevation, be it on the river, from a satellite and/or every place in between.

True to its name, the Colorado’s largest tributary appeared relatively green as it began to mix with the muddy brown water carrying us. The combined flow of about 16,000 cubic feet per second likely will be the largest I will see on this whole journey.

The white water began with a series of rapids that had much larger crashing waves than I expected. I was wishing Joe Beverage, Josh or Lor were there to lead me, because I paddled faster through the rapids than the raft. If I were ahead of the raft and ended up swimming, it would be very difficult for the raft to catch me; if I were behind it, I would run the risk of catching it, which is dangerous for all involved.

The rapids built in size until the “Big Drops,” a series of three nearly consecutive rapids, each with must-miss churning holes and many can’t-miss huge crashing waves. The stiffest “penalty clause” came at a place known as Satan’s Gut where about two thirds of the water cascades through some huge boulders.

My pulse mounted with the difficulty of the water and I chose to follow the raft-almost catching it in the worst of the whitewater-then dropping back. This worked OK, but it was very hard to read the river when the raft blocked my view.

Fortunately, Lars yelled directions to me when he had the chance and we picked our way through. At the bottom of one rapid, one of my wishes was partially granted-there I saw Josh on the beach with thirteen of his closest friends: Kate, Breanne, Brad, Greg, Tara, Kris, Marc, Alex (male), Alex (female), Louise, Matt, Francis (male), Courtney (male). Courtney (female), Lars, Noel and I made the group an even eighteen.

Merriment was had and many stories were told as we joined up with them to camp. The most unique story in my opinion was courtesy of Matt, who told us about throwing his wedding ring into Satan’s Gut. I didn’t ask, but it seemed pretty clear that if Matt's not single, he soon will be.

View A Different Day

Mile by Mile Photos

May 31, 2007 - Day 16
Mile 424 through Mile 457

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