Rodeo, New Mexico
December 13, 2006
We arrived early morning at Moab Adventure Center, and with our group of ten (including guide), were shuttled by van to our launch point at Hittle Bottom. The inflated raft was loaded up with huge coolers, and all of us. Our guide, whose name I didn’t write down or recall because at that time I wasn’t writing travel journals, had very long oars and did all the paddling. Soon the morning chill settled into the water, and the sun in the clearest of blue skies began to warm us as it climbed higher.
The glassy-smooth Colorado reflected redrock mesas and buttes on its surface as we languidly floated down the river. This late in the season with no recent rains, the rapids were mild, none greater than Class II, but still enough foam and splashing (some of it intentional) to get refreshing spray on our faces. Our guide pointed out an old movie set at Onion Creek, mostly hidden by thick growths of tamarisk. This redrock country has been prime movie-filming location since John Ford’s 1949 Wagon Master.
Passing the occasional ranch or resort, the morning passed in idle chatter with fellow passengers and guide as we enjoyed the sun, scenery and river. Mid-morning we pulled to shore and our guide inflated a couple of kayaks, eagerly seized by one of the couples, who enjoyed soloing alongside the mother-raft. After the most exciting rapid yet, we pulled in for lunch, and our guide proceeded to set up a table in the sand under shade trees. Out of the cooler, he produced a very satisfying selection of sandwich items and finger foods, but what really hit the spot was the lemonade!
The kayaks were up for grabs, but Bob and I hesitated long enough for two others to snag them. The afternoon sun reflected off desert varnish on red-black canyon walls, lulling us into post-lunch stupor. The solo kayakers were staying on their toes through a couple more rapids. Too bad there weren’t enough kayaks for all of us! All too soon we’d reached Takeout Beach, where the shuttle was waiting.
Western Rivers also offers half-day trips along the same route, a white-water trip in the narrower canyon section upriver, and a two-day raft and camp. The Colorado from Moab Boat Dock to Spanish Bottom, and the Green River from Green River town to its confluence with the Colorado are slow-moving and uncrowded, excellent choices for calm-water float trips of longer duration.
For more info check this BLM website.
From journal Magical Arches in the Rain