Trip Report: Kayak/Canoe San Juan (Sand Island to Mexican Hat)

Kayak/Canoe San Juan (Sand Island to Mexican Hat)
By John Schwed
BOATING 05/03/2016 Class II

San Juan River Trip 3-7 May 2016

What a great paddle trip at a leisure pace of 5 days, 27 miles Sand Island to Mexican Hat on the San Juan River with five miles of hiking in the Navajo Nation Chinle Canyon and three Class II rapids.

We started by planning, meeting and paddling at Bountiful Pond. We met two weekends to insure our trusty kayaks, canoes, raft and super ducky was river worthy Pic1/2.

The Put-In at Sand Island was a rush because four of the paddlers was with Kathy Jones on the Colorado River/Meander Canyon just hours earlier. So a trip to the Moab grocery store and 100 mile drive down to Bluff UT. We had a quick BBQ at the boat ramp then headed down the river to setup camp Pic3. Later in the AM Pic4. The paddlers for this trip were Gene, Mark, Zig, Blake, Earl, Larry, John S (on Knee), Luke and Da Yang. Pic5

All along the San Juan are messages walls from years past and we were trying to understand their meaning by getting up close to visit the many areas that was part of the fun of exploring. Pic6/7/8 wZig and others.

The River House a Puebloan ruin was a must to hike to checking living quarters, feed storage and main room. Pic9/10 wLuke, Gene, John, Larry & Earl. Main room where fire marks up the walls wDa Yang Pic11.
Camping at Navajo Nation Chinle Wash were we hike the next day up the wash into the canyon to see many ruins and message boards the next day Pic12/13/14/15. As the hike got warmer Earl, Zig & Blake cooling off in a stream Pic16/17. Regrouping on the hike in the shade Pic18.

Traveling down 4ft rapids Pic19 wBlake in his 12 Hopie raft. Several areas had class I ripples that was fun to play threw Pic20. Padding down the 8ft rapids that flooded a canoe and flip one of the kayaks because the left rock was big was all fun and safe Pic21/22.

Our last night camp had a great view of Mexican Hat. Pic23/24/25.

This Paddle adventure had many fun hikes, great river water, beautiful canyon walls, the paddlers had fun stories and had time to enjoy most places. The canyon walls had stories and were beautiful to just look at. I will return some day.

(Later in the Fall I will have a DVD for movie night for there is several videos on the water)