Green River May 2004

Diary of Linda, Mollie, and my trip to Green River in May 2004

5/21/04 We got up around 6:00 a.m., packed up 5th wheel and drove to Green River SP only 5 minutes away. It took us 2 hours to inflate and rig the boats – a 14’ Soar inflatable canoe, 12’ Soar inflatable canoe, and a Old Town 10’ hard shell kayak. We finally got on the water around 8:00 a.m. The conditions were great; temperature in low 80’s, no wind, and no bugs on the entire trip (very unlike last year in June when the bugs were gruesome). Meghan our Irish Terrier was quite nervous standing in the bow of the boat the whole time. We stopped at around 5 miles to view and walk around Crystal Geyser, a really cool and scenic cold water geyser. Around 12:30 p.m. the wind began blowing hard 25 to 50 mph gusts and paddling became a very strenuous task. Linda was very distraught and said she could not paddle the kayak any further, cussing me out for taking her on such an arduous trip. We stopped for a break, having some difficulty with mud and silt that lined most shores of the river. If you did not pick a sandy spot to land you could expect your foot to sink down to your thigh or crotch. That mud would suck off your thong or shoe if you did not have it on tight. The wind subsided some and we continued again close to the upwind shore. Mollie was by far the most proficient at paddling so she took over the long canoe, I the short canoe, and Linda the hard kayak. I was hoping for a leisurely trip with virtually no paddling, but this was not to be the case with lots of strong head winds. We only made it to mile 106 above the famous Anvil Rock, where we found a nice wind protected camp site once we got clear through the horrible Tamarisk trees. I was very concerned about only making 14 miles the first day as we had 68 miles to cover in 3-1/2 days. We could not contact our shuttle because there is no phone service out here. We enjoyed being in camp and had a pleasant night in our tents. The bugs were no problem at all.

5/22/04 Got up about 6:00 a.m. and had breakfast. There was no wind in the evening or in the morning. Linda was in better spirits this morning and Meghan had become more relaxed with the water. Got off about 7:30 a.m. and had a pleasant time on the river until 11:00 a.m. and then we got strong winds again. Mollie and I both had blisters from paddling. If the wind continued I knew we would not make our take point in time for our shuttle. It so happen that there was an ATV trail along the river for a few miles. I hailed down a old rider about my age and asked him to call our shuttle requesting a one day later pickup time, when he got back to civilization. He agreed to do it and did. We were more relaxed now and decided to stop at a camp site near a dry creek wash. The site was small but secluded from the wind and quite comfortable with nice hiking in the dry wash. Our diet consisted mostly of various brands of dehydrated camping food which we purchased from REI. Just add boiling hot water to main course or the desert and presto, you have a edible meal. You eat it right out of the bag so there are no dirty dishes except your spoon. They are much better than they used to be – really they are. We had enough time this day to enjoy the camp site; reading, conversation, snacking, and hiking with Meghan. We were in bed before dark.

5/23/04 Got on the water about 8:00 a.m. today. Cooler weather with lots of clouds. All was pleasant until 10:00 p.m. when wind really kicked up again. Found the best campsite yet with lots of level tent sites, beautiful open scenery of three sheer cliffs, and seclusion from the wind. This site could easily hold 20 people. The only negative was the landing required standing in water and mud to unload and then a 8-10' steep bank to climb out with the gear. Once up the bank however all was well. Got our tents and cooking equipment all set up and started enjoying this most scenic of all camp sites. Around 6:00 p.m. I surveyed the canoes tethered to a tree. To my horror one of the canoes flipped over and we lost 2 1/2 gallons of fresh bottle water to the almighty Green. We recovered what water was left and I decided to secured the bows of the canoes with another rope to a big cottonwood tree. The rest of the day at this site was very pleasant.

5/24/04 Got onto the water around 7:45 a.m. The weather was perfect this day in 70-80’s with virtually no wind. Linda was having fun now and delighted in asking me to do more paddling before the wind came. She actually told me that she was ready for more trips if I could guarantee no wind. The weather and conditions were so good that we decided to paddle all the way to our final destination, Mineral Bottom, today as Mollie didn’t want to unload and reload the boats another time. We arrive around 3:30 p.m. We traveled 68 miles in 4 days averaging 17 miles/day. We paddled on the average 7+ hours per day, which is way too much in my opinion. Without the wind I think we could have made it in 5-6 hours per day. Based on my GPS; with no wind or paddling our speed was 2 to 4 mph and averaged of 2.9 mph. Paddling with no wind we averaged about 4.2 mph and with wind we average about 2 mph. We set up camp at Mineral Bottom and then talked with Allen, a nice guy with some interesting theories and humor, the only resident person at Mineral Bottom. He had a three month old Blue Heeler (Australian Shepard) puppy that Meghan enjoyed playing with. We ate our last dinners this night as we were one day past schedule and I only brought a little extra food. We still had lots of junk food left for tomorrow. Set up our tents in the shade of some giant Cottonwood trees. It was nice to have a real bathroom again even it was only a BLM pit toilet.

5/25/04 Slept until 8:30 a.m. when the heat of the sun on my tent finally forced us to get up. We didn’t bring any extra dry food along and we only had one instant orange-cranberry oatmeal cup left which I ate as it didn’t sound good to Linda or Molly. Got the boats deflated and all the equipment ready for the shuttle at 2:00 p.m. Linda, Meghan, and I did a nice 3 mile walk down the canyon on a old jeep trail built by the uranium explorers back in 1950’s. Jesse of Coyote Shuttle showed up at 2:15 p.m. with his VW Van. Got loaded up and Jesse drove us out the very steep dirt road out of Mineral Bottom, scaring the wits out of us. The cost of shuttle was $140 plus tip/lunch at Ray’s. When we got to Green River we had delicious hamburgers and fries at Ray’s Tavern, the famous restaurant and bar location where most all rafters end up after their adventures on the Green or Colorado River. It was a tough strenuous trip, exacerbating my MS for a few days, but I really loved experiencing the adventure with my wife Linda and our dear niece Mollie Allen who is an adventurer extraordinaire, one who never complains, is always willing to help, and is a real outdoors women.

5/26/04 Got up around 7:00 a.m. and went out for a fattening breakfast at the local truck stop. It really tasted good after 5 days of granola and oatmeal cereal. Then we drove 12 miles north along the Green River to BLM park called Swasey Rapids. This location was wonderful with large sandy beaches, many cottonwood trees, level camp sites big enough for trailers, nice big class 2.5 rapids, concrete boat ramp, large parking lot for long term boaters, bathrooms, very few Tamarisks, and large dumpsters for trash. This is the takeout location for boaters doing the Desolation Canyon trip, (permit required) which I want to do some day. The road became dirt and continued up river 8 miles to Nefertiti Rapids, the favorite local rafting day run put-in. In lieu of the strong winds we suffered, I wished we had done just day trips on this section of river and on the Colorado River north of Moab. She Who Must Be Obeyed said it was time to leave. The Green River Area has a stark beauty about it that I have begun to love as I reluctantly left that lovely stretch of rapids. We started west over the beautiful San Rafael Swell. Stopped at a slick rock location and let Meghan run like a mad dog on top of the smooth sandstone. We stayed in Cedar City at an KOA this night.

Last updated on February 6, 2019