Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Floating the Green

"You shouldn't have any problem, just be sure to hit the chute straight down the middle. Its a class two rapids, oh and you will hit another rapids when you reach the water plant."
I asked myself if I really wanted to do this, but I was determined to float a short stretch of the Green River of Wyoming. After all, John Wesley Powell had started from Expedition Island in Green River Wyoming and so I needed to at least float a little of his journey,(in case you don't know his expedition was the first to travel down the Grand Canyon and a movie I used in class was called, Ninety Nine Days To Survival)
A strong current quickly took me downstream and I readied myself for my first test, floating past the cranes that were constructing some new whitewater for kayaks and tubers to enjoy. The current picked up speed and the river narrowed as I shot past the working equipment and into a broader stretch of the river.
The north shore was all white cliffs and there were spots along the south bank where the water was shallow. I scraped bottom in one place as I paddled through a small set of ripples. I reminded myself of what the local expert had told me, keep the boat straight and you should be ok.
The first rapids approached, the only warning being the noise. It dropped over a ridge of rock and I couldn't see the drop. Deciding that discretion was the better part of valor I rowed over to the south shore and stepped out of the canoe to look the rapids over. Maybe next time I thought as I used my rope to drift the canoe past the rapids.
A little further I floated under a railroad bridge and the current picked up speed again. Two signs warned of the approaching white water park at expedition island and further stated that all floaters need to be wearing life jackets. No problem here as I had mine on from the start!
I passed some people swimming along a sand beach and paddled to the north bank as I had already decided not to shoot the chute, at least not this time. Renita appeared on the shore and we talked about how the canoe would float past the rapids. She had been talking with a man on shore who had told her about the drowning that had occurred there a few weeks earlier,(the person who drowned hadn't been wearing a life jacket).
The rest of the float went too quickly although the current slowed below the highway bridge. I passed a flock of Canadian geese who seemed displeased about my intrusion and a mule deer raised his head and watched me float by his island. His velvet antlers were still growing and he was completely unconcerned about my presence, just another one of those stupid people.
Another bend and I passed a gauging station. It looked to be in disrepair, which kind of surprised me as the water rights and water claims on the Green are tightly monitored. I thought about the idiot who wanted to take water from the Green and pipe it over the continental divide, to be used by Denver and Colorado cities on the front range. It reminded me of the Mono Lake diversion, how sad it would be if it happened here. Keep the Green flowing!
I spotted Renita at the take out point and she waved as I neared. She had decided to be my support crew and photographer for my short float and I couldn't ask for anyone better. It had been a fun float of the Green and I actually stayed dry. It was a definite do over, next time with my photographer in the boat! Clear skies.

1 comment:

Jim & Nanc said...

Great Post. I love the story about Powell's trip.

Safe travels