Ranger Kathryn's Arches

November 9, 2011

Cataract Canyon 2: Flatwater beauty

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 9:33 am
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Colorado River, UT, north of Spanish Bottom

(Continued from Cataract Canyon 1: We begin)

As I climbed aboard the Black George and put my life jacket on and earplugs in, I realized that there has been one other four-day river trip in my life. It was in Egypt, on the Nile. That vessel coddled a hundred tourists, steaming downriver in search of ancient temples and burial sites. Mentally reviewing the grandeur of Queen Hatshepsut’s imposing memorial, I wondered how many ancestral Puebloans were buried without so much as a grave marker along this stretch of the Colorado River.

“Airport Tower” in Canyonlands NP.  Invasive tamarisk trees choke the river’s edge.

Between Moab and “The Confluence” (the Green and the Colorado), our river flows calm and flat. Both outboards whined in unison as we glided along at 15 mph. The early November air still held enough warmth to keep us from shivering, but a storm was headed our direction and things would be changing by evening. I’m a wuss at heart and don’t like being cold and wet, but I’m here to tell you that mental preparation is as key as having the right clothing layers. You know what’s coming, and you refuse to complain about it.

It’s us and the river. In wonderment, I watched rock formations and waterfowl and autumn-splashed vegetation pass by. I made a mental note to ask Kyler why he was traveling in zigs and zags down a flat river whose surface features divulged nothing to my untrained eye. A story from Bill about being thrown from a boat hitting a sandbar gave me new reason to study the water, thankful for an experienced captain.

(Continued in Cataract Canyon 3: Doll’s House)

Unnamed monolith in dappled autumn light, somewhere between Potash and the Confluence.

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