Moab, the Green River, and Canoes – and a Hike!
I betcha you thought I was going to say “Part Six” or something, didn’t’cha? 😉
Tuesday, September 29: Last night was aggravating. Nothing major happened, but I had left the rain fly off the tent so I could see the stars when I went to bed. Sometime after I fell asleep, I was *RUDELY* awakened by rain falling on my face. It wasn’t a lot, but it was more than three drops – indicating it might last a bit longer than I would like. So I dragged myself out of the sleeping bag and tent, rustled around to find the rain fly, threw it over the tent and snapped the corners into their hooks. By that time, of course, the raindrops had stopped falling – I think there were about nine, total – but I consoled myself with the thought that I would have had to put the rain fly on in the morning, anyway, when we left for our all-day hike.
The morning dawned clear and sunny (of course!), and after another scrumptious breakfast, Eve, Rick and I prepared to go hiking. [Note to self: Make sure Rick goes on all future River trips. He cooks so well! And he likes to cook!] Before we left, I took this picture of the shelf camp at Water Canyon, where we stayed for two nights.
The elevation here, as measured by the GPS app on Rick’s phone, is about 3,900 feet. Pay attention; there’ll be a quiz later.
The trail follows the Green River for several hundred yards before turning west into the actual canyon. Then it follows the bench until the canyon bottom rises to meet it. Along the way there’s a small ruin (this picture is from 2008) with an “un-welcome mat” of cactus in the entrance.
Farther up the canyon is a rock with several pieces of petrified wood embedded in it.
And, of course, you get some fantastic erosion patterns. This one reminded Eve and Rick of the Dragonriders of Pern universe:
We stopped for lunch on a wide ledge. Rick had brought a teakettle and a homemade camp stove (a specially-prepped soft drink can and a bottle of rubbing alcohol) which we used to heat water for our dehydrated meals. They were DEE-LISH! [Not as good as Rick’s meals in camp, but hey, we’re 630 feet up the canyon and the food isn’t.]
This shot is looking back down-canyon at the river (the greenery in the distance is the “delta” of the Water Canyon stream); the second photo is a close-up of our camp stove.
After lunch we resumed our climb/hike until we reached the saddle where the trail crosses from Water Canyon into Shot Canyon. The first time I reached this point, I thought it was the highest point on the trail. Later I found out that the trail continues for several more miles, eventually topping out at a formation called “Chimney Rock” which is accessible by 4WD vehicles. The saddle was plenty far for us this time, being about 970 feet above the river and I-don’t-know-how-many miles southwest of our camp. Rick and Eve built a cairn there – but it was all right, as there were lots of other “souvenir” (I guess) cairns in the saddle, and there were specific lines of cairns in each direction, so another cairn up there wouldn’t make any difference to hikers.
Remember the White Rim Sandstone Formation we’ve been following? 40 to 45 miles upriver, it’s at water level. Here, about 4 miles from the Confluence, it’s 800-plus feet *above* the river! Here’s one of many photos I took up there.
I’m not an expert, so I can’t be *certain* that this white rock is the same layer, but I’m reasonably sure it is.
After we played around a bit and built a cairn and rested and took pictures and just drank in the beauty of the area, we returned back to camp. The trail seemed even steeper at times coming down than it had going up, and I specifically remember thinking at one point, “You have GOT to be f***ing kidding me! I came *up* this?!?” But yes, I did climb the trail, and obviously I descended safely, too – although it seemed iffy at times. Thank goodness for hiking sticks and rubber-soled shoes!
After climbing (and un-climbing) 970 feet or so, we were glad to get back to camp and make good use of our chairs for the rest of the afternoon. Rick made another award-winning dinner that night; we had our final campfire; and we watched the moon come over the canyon rim. Our first night had turned out to be the coldest, with each one after that seeming a bit warmer. I ended up using just my fleece liner the last night, and didn’t even unroll my sleeping bag. No more rain, either!
As before, if you want to see all of the photos I took on the trip, click here.