Gates of Ladore Diary 2006
Diary of Roger Mollie's rafting trip to the Gates of Ladore, Dinasoar NP, June 2006

6/3/06 Day One: Got all our camping gear put into dry bags and hopped onto the bus at 7:30 a.m. It was a long 2 hour 45 minute bone shaking ride to our put in at Ladore Ranger Station and Campground just below Browns Park in Colorado. Our group was 17 rafters and 4 guides. The boats were four 18’ Avon self bailing rafts and 3 Rifkin 10’ self bailing duckies. We had orientation and safety check out with a Dinosaur NP service ranger. Got off around 11:30 a.m. at mile 44 upstream from our put out Split Mountain at mile zero. We immediately negotiated some class 2 or 3 rapids which got our spirits up. We then stopped and scouted Upper Lower Disaster Rapids which could have been dangerous if the wrong line was taken. These rapids were so named by Powell because he lost one of his 4 boats in this rapid. After about 10 miles we found our park service assigned camp site Pot Creek which was very beautiful and had a sandy beach. Mollie and I set up our small tents in a grove of Box Elder and Juniper trees. All the camping work except putting up tents was done by our four hard working guides. I skipped the guide lead hike today as I was quite tired. We had cheese and fruit appetizers before our chicken fajitas type dinner. Being very tired, I retired to my tent soon after dinner.

6/4/06 Day Two: Coffee and fresh fruit was served at 7:30 A.M. and 45 minutes later we had pancakes, eggs, and bacon for breakfast yum yum. Was on the water at 10 a.m. Scouted and negotiated another dangerous class 3 rapids called I think, Triplet Falls. I believe my 14’ Soar would have no problem if the correct line was taken. In the large 18’ Avon rafts there was virtually zero chance of a flip. All three duckies were used today and all made it through the rapids with no flips. The duckies had to stay between the big boats so rescue was possible if they flipped. Had lunch at noon on a beautiful sandy beach which had an undercut ledge to provide shade. We only did about 5 miles on the river to our campsite this day because the park service assigns the camp sites for each trip. Mollie, I, and part of the group did a 2 hour quite steep and strenuous hike up to a waterfall. The scenery up to it was beautiful and pristine. Ladore canyon is really in my opinion what Dinasoar NP is all about. Its quite narrow with heights up to 1,000’ high with varying shades of red rock, lots of trees, deer, and big horned sheep. Carol offered me some light beer at appetizer time which I accepted. We had a dinner consisting of salad, pasta with vegetables, red meat sauce, and cheese cake with strawberry sauce. This was my favorite dinner of the trip. Most of the dinner was prepared from scratch by the guides. A wash up system with liquid soap for our hands was provided near the dinner area which really impressed me. The female guide Julian was ever vigilant about encouraging us to wash our hands. A groover toilet was provided that was well designed and very comfortable. The chemicals used kept all odor down and the device sealed up very tightly for transport on the raft. I retired early, but was awakened at 10:30 p.m. by what I thought were gun shots! It turned out the guides and teenagers were slapping their Paco sleeping pads on the ground and in the water making this Ungodly noise.

6/5/06 Day Three: Coffee was served at 6:30 a.m. on this day. Our breakfast was French Toast, fruit, and sausage. Got underway around 8:30 a.m. Its important to depart early on the river because the wind comes up around noon and it always seems to blow upstream making paddling a real chore. The duckies had fun negotiating Hells Half Mile Rapid. We stopped around 10:00 a.m. and did another steep hike up about 400’ elevation in 1.5 miles which was really scenic. It had an 800’ straight down scary drop off at the top. Would have been perfect for hang gliding. Coming down was a slippery slow process, but I made it with no problem. Our two girl companions Jill Carol where both excellent hikers way out classing me. Mollie was on a par with me regarding hiking prow ness. Continued down stream 1 more hour and had a late lunch on a beautiful sandy beach with another under cut rock ledge for back rests and shade. Continued on down from Colorado into the state of Utah. Our next camp site was again beautiful with a good sized creek, I believe the name was Jones Hole Creek. The young teen aged boys in the group constructed a stone dam so the girls would have a spot to wash their hair. I don’t think the park service will be happy with this man made altercation of nature. We had barbecued sirloin steaks, corn, salad, and Emerald style western mashed potatoes for dinner. I ate lots and broke out my one bottle of wine I brought along which was icy cold in the raft ice chests. I was again tired and left my left over wine for the group and went to bed about 9:30 p.m. The young people in the group and the male guides partied late until 12:30 a.m. to the chagrin of the female guide Julian who was trying to sleep on her boat right next to the party action. I was far enough away that it didn’t bother me much.

6/6/06 Day Four: Coffee again was served at 6:30 a.m. Breakfast was bagels with cream cheese or dried cereal with fruit. Got on the river at 8:45 a.m. for the final 20 mile push to Split Mountain take out. I started out on a different raft this morning with guide Paul and two of the teen age guest. Paul was my favorite guide. He had done the Grand Canyon in a hard shell kayak the entire length. He was in my opinion the best boatman and was very attuned to making sure that the duckies were safe and taking a safe line through the more dangerous rapids. He had long hair and sewed his own beach slacks with very pleasing designs and patterns. He was young and was studying to be an medical emergency room technician. He was also relatively informed about the geology and wild life in Ladore Canyon. All the guides were courteous and fun to be around with their positive fun type attitudes. Mollie and Jill decided to try the duckies today. They did fine for a while until they decided to go over a large rock which had a big hole down stream. Mollie was thrown out and the hole tried to capture her permanently. She made it out and the upstream raft rescued her. The day trip begins at mile 8 which I must consider doing with my boats some time. A permit is apparent required from the NP service. We next went through the Moonshine rapids at mile 7 were our raft took a huge hit which put water over the entire raft drenching me totally with ice cold water. This got me a bit psyched up to go ahead and take a duckie down the last 6 miles through class 3 SOB rapids and SCHOOLBOY rapids. I had no problem and enjoyed it allot. During this run Mollie and Jill were not paying attention and flipped their duckie having to be fished out by the mother raft again. It sure is nice having rescue support not having to swim into shore with the duckie. We arrived at take out around 1:30 p.m. and back to the Hatch yard at 2:15 p.m. I really enjoyed this trip with Mollie and the other rafters I met. I am now ready for more professional trips such as; The Grand Canyon, Cataract Canyon, MF of the Salmon, and South America!!!!! Mollie and I drove back 160 miles to American Fork, UT Whew what a long day. Checked into East Bay RV Park at 9:00 p.m.

Last updated on February 6, 2019