San Juan River
The four of us (myself, Mali Faust, Richard Boland, and Jan Toyne, all teachers in Fairplay) camped at Sand Island outside of Bluff, Utah on Tuesday, July 8th, and put in the next day. The San Juan River was at a relatively low 1500 cfs (it had been 10,000) and moved about 3 mph, so we didn't have to do much to make progress. I borrowed a sit-on-top kayak and my major challenge for the first couple days was simply paddling in a straight line.
I'd traveled on water before, with almost 200 miles of experience over four different canoe trips in the Boundary Waters. The most striking difference on the river is the realization that you're on a one-way trip. Paddling back upstream is not an option. You can't go putter around in your boat and come back. You also can't climb out of the canyon and find civilization. The climb would be too tough, and there's no civilization up there anyway, just desert. The river is your salvation.
Jul 14, 2008