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Kayaking Colorado River Ruby Horsethief Class II
By Tony Zimmer for Gretchen Siegler
| Seven of us (Tony, Jennifer, Dave, Beth, George, Gretchen, and Jeff) met to camp at Westwater Ranger Station campground on Friday night. Despite late night arrivals from other groups heading down Westwater and lots of noise, our group got an early start with our shuttle up to the Loma put-in. While the sun was bright, the famous Ruby Horse Thief winds were predicted to be between 15-25 miles per hour that Saturday and started to pick up just as we were launching. We stopped to hike Rattlesnake Canyon 3.6 miles down the river. Dave and Beth decided to hike to the six miles to the arches because they only had one night on the river and had to rush back to Salt Lake on Sunday. (They said that the arches rivaled Arches--imagine!) The rest of us were worried about the wind so only hiked for about an hour before heading downriver again. In no time, we ran into areas where the gusts threatened to move us backwards, but managed to reach our campground by mid-afternoon with only a few tears. Dave and Beth showed up that evening and apparently had a windless float. The campsite was situated on a high banking with no place to land the boats. We spent a good amount of time that evening strategizing ways to get our boats up the bank for unloading, and again down the next morning. But the campsite was lovely. After an extremely cold night, we slowly thawed out by the sun. Our Sunday float was beautiful, as was our hike up Mees Canyon. Passing some spectacular campsites we ended up in another not so well chosen camp to endure another freezing night. Monday again was lovely--the leaves turning yellow by the hour. We arrived mid-day, so that those driving back to Salt Lake could be home in time for supper. This easy stretch of the Colorado is a great trip and I plan to do it again. Next time, I will choose better campsites (one of the Black Rocks, one of the Mees, or one at Knowles Canyon for another hike). I will also probably allow an extra day for hiking.
Submitted by Gretchen Siegler
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