More often than not our seasoned adventure guides have completed a trip prior to pushing off from shore with our students. This trip was special though because we were all in the same figurative boat; we were all, students and staff, laying eyes on this majestic landscape together for the first time. While extensive research was done to familiarize and prepare for the trip, there is always a different feel to a trip when you’re not totally sure what is around the next corner; it provides a great opportunity for learning together, increased camaraderie, and adventure.
We took three full days to float all 52 miles and landed at our final camp two miles above the rapids of Cataract for our jet-boat pickup. Because this area of
Utah is so remote
there are no roads that access the confluence, the only way back to
civilization is a 67 mile jet-boat ride back up the Colorado River to Moab.
Unfortunately we did not have good luck spotting any of the elusive wildlife
besides a quick glance at a River Otter and several Great Blue Herons. The top
risk of a river trip through Canyonlands is wind. There are dozens of stories
of lost gear, scattered boats, stranded people and miserable times because of
the wind that can howl up and down the canyon. Our first night on the river
brought with it strong winds and slight rain around midnight, but after that
small scare we had nothing but sunshine and mid-90’s. Our best defense against
the relentless sun was a swim in the mighty river as we floated along around
three miles per hour. Everyone really seemed to enjoy the trip despite the
early wakeup calls and long days in the sun with the promise of another
beautiful landscape around the next bend.
Mike Bodrero, Adventure Learning Coordinator