We met at the Hatch Warehouse just north of beautiful downtown Vernal. Soon we were on the bus heading to our launch site just outside the Gates of Lodore. We even bypassed the liquor store in Dinosaur. The previous month had been very rainy, but the forecast for our 5 days was very favorable.
At the launch site Stephen and I greeted our good friends from the Grand Canyon, boatmen Stefanie and Charlie. Charlie got off to a great start by paddling a duckie but forgot to put it in the river first.
Soon we were heading through the Gates of Lodore. Yes, this was going to be a great trip.
As we passed through the Gates the walls rose high on both sides as the beautiful Canyon of Lodore began to close in.
Soon we stopped for lunch at “Wade & Curtis”. Heather scrambled up a butte while I more conservatively climbed a hill to get a photo looking back over our lunch spot at the Gates.
I spotted a towhee that responded well to “pishing” and flew closer to me. It took me a few days before I could study my images and determine that it was a Spotted Towhee.
While wandering above the lunch spot I found some nice Claret Cup Cactus.
Winnies Rapids were the first test for the duckie riders. The rapids were short and sweet, but still exciting. Here is a brief slide show of Heather, Dan, David, and Holli & Jim running these rapids.
Winnies Rapids were followed naturally by Winnies Grotto, who some have claimed was named for Powell’s daughter Winnie. But as Al Holland, a teacher, historian, and river bum who was with us on the Yampa trip related to me, “Winnie’s Grotto was named not for J. W. Powell’s daughter, Mary Dean, but for John F. Steward’s Winnie. Steward was a member of Powell’s second expedition, 1871-72. Bus Hatch named the rock in the middle of the river at the mouth of the Winnie’s Grotto side canyon “Lil’ Stinker” for its obstructionist perch.”
A short way up the trail to the grotto was a nice view back to the Gates Of Lodore.
The grotto was impressive. Stefanie found a throne ready for her at the far wall.
Winnies Rapids were a good warm-up, but Disaster Falls were serious business. These were to be scouted, and careful instructions given by trip leader, Bruce, as to the correct lines through these rapids. On June 9, 1869, Powell lost a boat here — it bounced off a rock before being smashed into another one and splitting in two.
Heather, Jim, and Holli emerged from the lower end of Disaster Falls unscathed.
Heather was happy she made it. David and Holli celebrated their success in the first big rapids of the trip.
We had a few unnamed rapids left before reaching our camp site at Pot Creek. Stephen documented them with his iPhone, Jill happily rode along, and Stefanie got them safely through.
As on all the trips and at each camp, Jill was one or the first to help off-load the boats and set up the camp. She would leave her camp site to set up until later.
Andrew instructed us on how to use the Groover but forgot to pull his pants down.
Stephen and I hiked to the top of a steep bluff just above our camp. Since we did not know the right way up and the “trail” was hard to follow, we took the hard steep way up the face. On the way down we found the much longer but easier correct route.
The photo above is a view downstream. But the view upstream was spectacular. Here is a rendition of it composed of 22 separate images. You can see another view from this spot if you click the photo below or click HERE. You will be taken to a page of panoramic images from the Green River that you can zoom into and explore in detail.
Heading down I was struck by the beauty of the area behind the camp and the interesting dead trees.
Bruce and Stefanie made dinner. As has been the case on the three O.A.R.S. trips I have been on, the first night was delicious salmon.
While waiting for dinner, a group had a spirited game of Bocce Ball.
Here is a slide show of other photos from our first day on the Green River. Can the other days match up?