Triple Trek

I pushed through the Tamarisk thicket on my hands and knees, being careful to avoid puncturing my air mattress, then waded out up to my waist in the cold, brown, swirling water, my shoes sticking in the mucky bottom, and while wearing a backpack, tried to get on my yellow inflatable mattress. It was an awkward moment. Peter and I had discussed practicing the technique in advance, but since Boulder had been cool and rainy, and we don’t like being cold, we skipped that part. So this was our first try – it was not going to be elegant no matter what – so nothing to do now but trust our plan, lunge up onto the mattress, and start paddling across the Green River.

We started as far upstream on Queen Anne Bottom as we could get, having first rappelled down a short cliff band, and were aiming for Millard Camp on the other side, after which the River pushed up against more cliffs, making an exit from the River impossible, and a much, much longer River trip probable.  I kept wondering how Peter was doing behind me, but never turned around – we really had to make that one exact spot – if he didn’t make it there was nothing I could do about it, and vice versa, so I looked toward my spot paddled for it. The Green was running 14,740 cfs, so I was “ferrying” – pointing myself slightly upstream in order to get as far across as possible while the strong current pushed us downriver. It was going to be close. The River turned left here and we were aiming for the right bank, so the water was moving much faster on this side – I paddled harder – hmm, really need to make this I thought, but the current was really strong now. A wedge of rock stuck out in the River, I figured there would be an eddy line behind it – yup, still 15’ from shore but the eddy line grabbed me just as I was being swept past the exit point – made it!

I scrambled onto the rocks, took off my pack, and looked for Peter. He was on the same line as me – he narrowly made the eddy line but recirculated twice before managing to get out, as his arm strength was too far gone.

Not too bad. Our plan worked. It was 10am on the first day of our planned 3 day, 100 mile trek in Canyonlands National Park.

16 River Gear

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Trans Zion: How Not To Hydrate

Last weekend I went to Utah to do Trans-Zion, one of the classic trail runs in the country. Traversing Zion National Park from one end to the other, all on beautiful trails, and with it’s optimal season (March-May) coming before the classic mountain routes are snow-free, this 44 mile route is now run by dozens of people every spring, even though it was first run less than 10 years ago.

I’d run every trail in the Park, but had never done Trans-Zion. That’s because the required car shuttle is huge, and none of my girlfriends ever liked me enough to drive around and pick me up.

Then I met Jared Campbell, who does T-Z like it’s his normal weekend run, and since he’s such a nice guy, his girlfriend (now wife) Mindy readily volunteers to drive the car around.

I realized if I was a nicer person I could have done this route years ago. OK, Lesson learned. I would learn a few more before this day was over.

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