WE HAD A BALMY FEBRUARY here in the high desert. It felt like the right thing to do to get out and enjoy it while it lasted. This was a day trip, and one that came to me while staring at the giant CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK AND VICINITY map hanging above our couch. The idea was simple, yet novel-feeling: From Spring Canyon Bottom, paddle downstream to Bowknot Bend on the Labyrinth section of the Green River, hike over the saddle, paddle back to the start.
One of the bummers I'd been feeling lately was how I wasn't wanting to take Gus the Wonder Dog on my tiny boat adventures. He gets very excited when I pull out a backpack from the gear shed and it just breaks my heart to tell him to STAY when I GO. I was packed and dog-less, driving away, as Gus ran with me through the front yard. I stopped caddy whampus in the middle of the street, muttered G-Damnit, and hollered Load Up, Gus.
I drove down Spring Canyon Bottom, found a one-truck parking spot adjacent to the perfect little landing. Gus wandered while I waited for a puff of wind to arrive. A fine problem, but one I've encountered most times I've been ready to inflate the tiny boat. Again, no complaints.
We launched without incident. Gus hopped in, made a few adjustments and settled in for an enjoyable short paddle to the downstream side of the Bowknot saddle trail.
We landed near the campsite there, and I decided an art session was in order. I broke out the pastels, and produced For Leon, inspired by this:
After a little head-scratching, Gus and I found the trail up. This side of the route is quite aesthetic. It's exposed here and there. Very nice. We made it on top, checked the ammo can, scribbled the first entry of the year, and kept on moving.
We made it down easily on the other side. I inflated while Gus rested from his eight trips on the saddle trail. The shadows were creeping, and I had to exert Self Control to not break out the pastels again. I do love those winter shadows.
The paddle out was calm, warm, and eventually a little noisy. I thought I heard a plane. Then I thought it was a motor boat. Then I realized it was two ATVs puttering down the road. Amazing how far off I could hear them. They were coming back from a trip to Hey Joe Canyon. We waved.
This area has been the topic of heated conversation in the meeting halls of Moab lately as the Grand County Council finalizes its recommendations for the Bishop Lands Bill. The idea is on the table to restrict motorized access to this route. We'll see how that all shakes out.