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Colorado River Cruise

By Ann Driggers

Given that the season for riding H20 in its solid state is about fully cooked, I figured I might as well get after it in its liquid form. The Colorado River is officially cranking, as it takes our snowpack (and hopefully some of the dust) off to the west. Running just shy of 30,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) and about 8 miles per hour, a speedy float of the mellow but beautiful Ruby Horsethief section seemed like a good way to spend Memorial Day.

Crankin Colorado River.jpg

Chad and I put our two man ducky in at the Loma boat launch around 10 a.m. The river was heavily swollen with snowmelt, laced with debris and fast. Although we dipped our paddles only to steer, we zipped right on through to Black Rocks in time for lunch. When done as an overnighter, Black Rocks is the main camp spot, being around the half way point and very scenic. It also has plenty of sandy beaches, rock outcroppings for sunbathing, and a good viewpoint of the small rapid that provides the most excitement of the trip. This time, with the high water, the rapids were washed out and the beaches submerged. More than adequate compensation though, the wildflowers were blooming superb.

Blooming Desert.jpg

Having enjoyed sunshine for the first part of the trip, we noticed dark clouds were quickly building. We cut our lunch short and jumped back on the river in the hopes of making it to the take-out before being struck by lightning or battling brutal headwinds for which the next stretch is notorious. Despite a few sprinkles, we escaped electrification, sailed over the Utah state line and reached the Westwater take-out in short order. Total trip time was four and a half hours which, for 26 miles of river and a lunch stop, was really cruising.

Black Rocks Beach.jpg

Sweet! River days are here.

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