On Wednesday June 10 we set out on our river adventure paddling up the Colorado River from Willow Beach, AZ mile 52. On the way up we stopped at our normal favorite spots the grotto and Emerald cave mile 54 for a little break.
This is Max taking off from Emerald Cave
On the way up Max alerted me to a bird on the wall it let me get within 5 feet I think it was a golden eagle. Unfortunately my point and shoot struggled with brown eagle brown grey wall and it did not want to focus.
With only one major break we made it to our intended camping spot mile 56 at Cranes Nest Canyon. From here you can see the Dragon’s Back rock formation. We were both feeling very strong and had lots of daylight left so we continued up river.
It was great paddling into uncharted territories for us. We were very happy to realize that paddling up the left side (thanks to those that helped us with that) made for a much easier paddle. We saw the bathrooms at mile 60 and the camp ground there were already people there so we continued up planning on camping at Ringbolt.
At mile 60 3/4 we could see the 61 marker we were deep into Ringbolt rapids and it proved to be to much for me, I was taking on lots of water and had to cling to a tree with Max’s help and bilge out my boat.
We spotted a spot across the river and this became our home for the night little did we know this was actually the camp sight we were looking for. We found an awesome slot canyon on our beach and explored a little before setting up camp.
After we set up the tent I started a fire while Max got dinner going and we grilled weenies over the fire thanks to my handy dandy weenie tool that Max hid in the boat along with other creature comforts like handy wipes, wisp tooth brushes, marsh mellows, Turtle Chex Mix (for that s’more feel,) and deodorant. He did a great job planning and packing everything while I was busy working and planning a fundraising even more about that later.
It was beautiful to wake up with the sun in our dome away from home (unfortunately I have to many pictures to post so the bed head ones are not going to make it!)
Our little camp site was perfect.
We enjoyed a yummy breakfast of dried egg burritos (really it was very yummy)
Once camp was packed back into our boats we headed up the river debating if getting to the dam was really a possibility. at about 61 1/2 we saw a boat that frequently travels up the river and asked how realistic getting the dam and back to Willow beach was today. He told us it was possible but they would begin dumping water around 11 (it was 10:30) which would increase the difficulty and that the winds were due to gust up to 45 miles plus coming up river (yikes not good.) We thanked him for his help and continued to paddle up debating if we should turn around, he came up to us and asked if we wanted a ride up. We took him up on the offer and traveled 2 miles the easy way. Turns out he travels the river by boat or kayak several days a week and gave us a guided tour on the way up. It was beautiful I took advantage taking pictures on the way up, I can't show most of them because it would show our mystery boater.
DAM! It is amazing how big The Dam is from our little boats. We enjoyed the view for a few minuets before heading down river like everyone else does!
The bridge above Max’s head is the new road that is will make our trips to the river faster!
We stopped by a very cool hot spring near the dam where water gushed out or the wall like a hot water tap.
Just a little further down at 63 we enjoyed the Gold Strike Hot Springs thank goodness our awesome boater told us to climb up a bit we found the little pool that was just like a bathtub for 2.
My favorite picture of me from the whole dam trip = ^)
The water felt AMAZING on our tired muscles.
Between mile 62 and 61 we drifted down (the middle in the chop where the water would take us down faster a great tip we followed most of the way down the river) and listened to birds singing from all of the little holes in the walls. BEAUTIFUL!!!
Also on the way down we passed young big horn sheep drinking, sorry for the wonky angle we were in the middle of the river and I was trying to shoot and keep my boat in the right direction the winds were picking up and if I turned sideways the water would come into my sides, one of our stops down involved dumping my boat.
We took two breaks where we were going to camp and the grotto on the way down trying to beat the worst winds, we were not successful and hit hug waves 4-5 feet for the last 3 miles or so. We finally made it back to Willow Beach mile 52 safely and a bit tired for those of you doing the math that is about 20 miles in two days, like I told you it was DAM amazing trip with the best companion! After we loaded our gear we rested by the shore enjoyed some lunch and fished for about an hour before heading home.
*Sorry for so many picture I really tried to use as few as possible!