Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Inconceivable though it seems, last weekend marked an anniversary of sorts: Two decades of missions in and around Moab.

The best part is how little I feel I've seen in that time--so much more 'sploring to be done.

Chops and Fettucini were champing at the bit to get their feet wet packrafting, and for a brief few days I found myself in possession of three boats. They came up with a plan that involved mellow floating--to allow them to figure things out with little stress on the water--and with mellow riding to keep my as-yet tender elbow happy.

Chops and I strapped boats, bags, and bivies onto our bikes and rode out to Fettucini's place.

A minor amount of fiddling and gawking there before we headed across the street, literally, to put in.

Usually a good idea (especially early season) to paddle a short distance, take out, readjust, retemper, and re-cinch, then start fresh.

The river doesn't so much flow as ooze this time of year, thus if we wanted to make progress it was largely up to us to put our backs into it. Dodging sandbars and reapplying sunscreen became the most challenging aspects of the day.

Around about here I called a powwow so that we could run the numbers. We'd taken but one break in ~5 hours of paddling, yet had covered far less than half of the distance to camp. And with only three hours til dark, it seemed we needed to make a change. All agreed, so we deflated the boats, put wheels back onto bikes, and continued downriver.

We doubled our mileage for the day in less than an hour of easy pedaling. There the road ended at a boat launch. And hey whaddya know--we've got boats!

The canyon had constricted a bit, giving us a minor amount of current to enjoy. The river oozed us along, the light got creamy, and all we had to do was occasionally dip a blade to adjust our view.

The sun vanished as we reached our takeout, giving us reason not to dally as the temps dropped at water level.

We rode out a wash, found a rough track that became a road, then ascended a few hundred vert to gain a few degrees of warmth. No wood meant no fire, which also meant that we all tucked in fairly early.

Cookin' dinner:

Moonrise, hours later.

A quick breakfast for the boys while I fixed a flat, then we got back on the bikes.

A quick regroup for views and layer adjustments at the top, then down we went.

No blood had spilled, no one swam the frigid river, we'd all even gotten some good sleep. Thus we were all smiles as we rolled back into town, vowing to do it again soon.