Trail Pictures

Tracy relaxing

Tracy paddling

Green River

Bowknot Bend

Bowknot Bend

Bowknot Bend

Bowknot Bend

Bowknot Bend

Bowknot Bend

Bowknot Bend

Labyrinth Canyon


Labyrinth Canyon

Bowknot Bend

Bowknot Bend

Tracy paddling

Labyrinth Canyon

Bowknot Bend

Horseshoe Canyon

Horseshoe Canyon

Canoe @ Horseshoe


Camp @ Horseshoe


Labyrinth Canyon

        Utah Area Trails Causey Sep 2013 Leidy Peak/Lakeshore Little East Fork Blacks Fork Brown Duck Basin Robber's Roost May 13 Coyote Gulch 2013 Happy Canyon Robber's Roost Mar 13 Comet Needles Feb 2013 Colton Cabin Moab Bill Moonshine Wash Uintas Fall 2012 McCoy Park 2012 Spider Lake Popo Agie Tosi Creek West Fork Blacks Fork East Fork Bear River Camp East Fork Bear River Center Park Uinta River Moab and San Rafael Swell Dirty Devil with James West Desert San Rafael Desert S. Utah with Cory Lake Powell 2011 The Needles The Maze E Fork Burnt Fork Leidy Peak Burnt Fork Granite Highline Causey May 11 Green River Buck Canyon Antelope Apr 11 Smith Fork Grizzly Ridge Yurt Moab Arches Bear River Moab Flight Snowbasin Art Nord Moab Rim Zion Dry Fork Naturalist Basin Timpanogos Cave Meteor Shower Yellowstone Creek McCoy Park Ostler Creek Granddaddy Causey Southern Utah Coyote Gulch White Canyon - Moqui Canyon Tetons - Cabin Southern Utah Wildhorse Canyon Snowbasin Great Salt Lake Snowbasin Robber's Roost Deep Creeks Farmington Canyon Nine Mile Canyon Fish Lake - McCoy Park Harris Wash Antelope Island Moab Southern Utah Log Hollow Moab Lake Powell Wasatch Buckskin Gulch Deseret Peak Pine Valley Logan Canyon Causey Reservoir China Meadows Haystack Lake Cow Park Highline Grandaddy Lakes Amethyst Basin Uintas Cat Canyon Southern Utah Southern Utah Glen Canyon Swett Canyon Antelope Island Uintas - Yurt Pebble Creek Robbers Roost Antelope/ Lost Creek N Fork Provo River Capitol Reef Pine Valley Wilderness Uintas Stillwater Reservoir Grandaddy Mountain Logan Canyon Canyonlands Arches Twin Lakes Kabell Lake Amethyst Basin South Cedar Ridge Canyon Hurricane Wash Middle Fork of the Ogden River Moab Cat Canyon Crack Canyon Causey Reservoir St George Log Hollow Canyonlands Steam Mill Canyon Row Bench Rubies Highline Causey Reservoir Flat Tops Grand Daddy Lake Antelope Island White Pine Lake Brown Duck Flaming Gorge Snowbasin Swasey Lakes Spooky Gulch White Rock Bay Grand Gulch Cat Canyon Moon Lake Antelope Island Antelope Island Long Park Grand Daddy Lake Hades Pass Tom's Canyon Just arrived

Tracy and I took a long weekend on 12 May 11 to paddle the Green River through Labyrinth

Canyon.  I had been trying to do this trip for several years, but there was always something

that stopped us.  One year I tried to do it over Memorial Day, only to find out that there is a

motor boat festival on the river that weekend.  Then I tried to do it last Thanksgiving, only to be

told the water level was too low to be enjoyable.  So I finally managed to get it scheduled for a

time that would work out.  This trip required a lot of planning, though.  First off, BLM and Utah

have all kinds of boating rules.  We had to have a free permit, and we had to leave one copy at

the put-in, and keep one copy with us; we had to carry a fire-pan whether we planned to build

a fire or not; we had to carry a toilet system with us; we had to have a spare paddle for a boat

under 16 feet, and a spare paddle and a throw rope for a boat over 16 feet.  Then we had the

big obstacle of figuring out the shuttle.  We had to either put-in at Green River State Park or 20

river miles below the park at Ruby Ranch.  Then we had to take-out at Mineral Bottom, 45 river

miles from Ruby Ranch, and about an hour and a half drive from Ruby Ranch or Green River.

Also, Mineral Bottom is at the bottom of a very steep road that I didn't (and still don't) think

Tracy's car could make it back up.  So we figured we could put in at Ruby Ranch, dropping our

gear off, and then driving the truck to Mineral Bottom.  But how to get back to Ruby Ranch

since we couldn't drive Tracy's car?  I checked car shuttle out of Moab, but they all wanted

over $350 for the shuttle.  Then we found out that Redtail Aviation, the same people we took a

plane tour with back in January, could actually land at a short dirt airstrip right on the Green

River at Mineral Bottom and fly us back to Green River Airport for just $120.  That sounded like

a no-brainer.  Then we also had to rent a canoe, but that was easy...we just picked one up,

along with the required paddles, on Thursday.  So, Thursday after work, I drove to REI and

picked up the canoe and paddles, then I picked Tracy up at work, and we drove to just outside

Ruby Ranch, arriving about 10 pm.  We set up the tent and camped.

We got up before dawn, around 5:00, and drove to the put-in at Ruby Ranch.  I dropped Tracy

off, along with all our gear, and headed to Mineral Bottom.  I made better time than expected,

so I drove into Moab to get some breakfast, and then headed out to Mineral Bottom.  The road

down was really steep, but it wasn't anything too bad.  I was glad it was open, because last

year a really bad flood washed out all the switchbacks, and the road was closed for several

months.  But they did a great job of getting it back open by spring, and the drive down was no

problem.  Once down, I had to find the landing strip...which wasn't as easy as you might think.

I found it, though, about 5 minutes before the 8 am meeting time, and the plane arrived at 8

am sharp.  From there, they flew me back to Green River, where I met a car shuttle that took

me back down to Ruby Ranch for $50, where I met back up with Tracy about 4 hours after I

had left her.


It was a full on adventure just to get started on the trip!

As the shuttle driver pulled up, he pointed out that I hadn't dropped Tracy off at the correct put-

in.  Oh well.  It was dark when I dropped her off.  But she had the gear all packed, and we

started down the river.  The water was flowing faster than usual as a result of high snow melt,

and we were able to float at about 5 mph.  So, for the first day, we really didn't paddle much at

all...we really just kind of steered, and let the river do all the work.  One of the biggest things to

note from the first day was that the river was bubbling with all kinds of neat mini-whirlpools,

presumably from the speed of the water hitting rocks or obstructions at the bottom of the river.

The river would just bubble up all around us, sometimes with loud bubbles, and the water

would just swirl around for a few seconds.  We called it the River Monster.  The other

interesting thing that happened the first day was that we were dogged all day by the infamous

Utah guide book writer, Michael Kelsey.  He was riding around in a powerboat, and we had

heard he was updating one of his books.  We also paddled up Ten Mile canyon for a while.

We have hiked around this canyon further up canyon in the past, but it was full of water down

by the Green.  We paddled about half a mile up, and it was pretty nice.  There was lots of

splashing around the banks as we were moving, and at first we thought it was beavers.  But

there were no signs of beavers, and we didn't actually see them.  And it just kept dozens of places.  And then we figured out what it was: fish...getting it on.  It

was weird.  They were everywhere.  It was like we had found the place where fish came to

make babies.  We took a short break under a rock overhang, and then continued down the

Green.  After about 4 hours of paddling, we found a campsite, and took it easy the rest of the

day, just reading.  I took Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire to read, which, even though I think he

might have been crazy, was still an excellent book to read while traveling through the area

described in his novel.

The next day we got up early to avoid the heat a little and continued down river.  The water

flow had slowed down some, so we had to do a little more paddling than the day before, but it

still was moving pretty good.  I had planned on stopping at Bowknot Bend to hike up to the

saddle separating the river at a tight bend, and, with sheer luck, a good wind storm kicked up

just as we arrived at Bowknot.  We pulled off the river just in time to avoid the storm, and I

made the hike up to the saddle while the storm moved just north of us.  Bowknot Bend was

pretty cool.  On the river, it was nearly 5 miles from either side of the bend...but in a straight

line, the two sides of the river were less than half a mile apart with just a low saddle between

them.  The hike up the saddle was pretty steep and rocky, but the view was worth it.  After

hiking back down, we had lunch, and then headed back out, just as the storm finished blowing

over.  The rest of the day was uneventful, and we ended up stopping at Horseshoe Canyon.

We have also hiked in this canyon before, further up canyon.  This is the canyon where Aaron

Ralston was found after he cut off his arm.  This is also the canyon with one of the best rock art

panels in the southwest.  At this point, it was only about 3 pm, and we were only about an hour

and a half from Mineral Bottom, but I really wanted to camp in Horseshoe Canyon, and I really

wanted to stay out for two days.  So we found a campsite a couple of hundred yards up

Horseshoe, and just messed around camp and read the rest of the day.

We got up Sunday morning and loaded the canoe to paddle out.  But after trying to start, we

realized the water had dropped even more over night, and we actually had to drag the canoe a

few yards in the water to get into water deep enough to paddle.  No big deal, though, and we

headed back out to the Green.  From there, it was an uneventful hour and a half back to

Mineral Bottom, where we found the take out.  We got the canoe and gear loaded up in the

truck, and just headed back out of the canyon.  The drive back home was a little unnerving,

because the wind was howling the whole way, which kept me worried that the canoe would fly

off.  But nothing bad happened, and we dropped the canoe off at REI before heading on home.

This was a really fun trip.  With the water flow as high as it was, we didn't have to work very

hard for the 45 miles paddle.  We definitely paddled more on the last day than we had any of

the other days, but Friday was very easy, and Saturday wasn't too bad, so all in all, it was a

very easy trip.  We saw virtually no people the whole weekend, so that was great.  It got hot in

the afternoon, but the nights were comfortable, so it wasn't too bad.  I'm not sure we would

ever want to do this trip again, but I would be willing to do it again.  I definitely remember now

that I enjoy sea kayaks more than canoes.  I thought about sea kayaks on this trip, but I just

thought that would be overkill.  Plus, I had a shiny new Boundary Pack that I wanted to try out,

and it wouldn't have fit inside a kayak!  The logistics for this trip were tough, but I guess that's

true for any river trip.