Who the Hell is maadjurguer?

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I like to ski, mountain bike, drink beer, cook and listen to any jam band I can get my hands on; all while making a complete ass of myself. Hopefully this catharsis is as interesting to others as it is to me.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Black Canyon Paddle

U2metoo called me up the other day, asking if I was up for a kayak trip on the Colorado River through Black Canyon with an overnight somewhere up river.....I told him I'd look into my demanding schedule and get back to him.  3 seconds later, I told him that I was certain I could fit this in....then I proceeded to tell him how I lack any experience in a kayak....he told me I'd be a pro in 30 minutes....we'll see I thought....

Pushing off....I was given a quick tutorial under a strong NW wind and choppy conditions out of the put in point...but within 30 minutes...I was feeling comfortable....and the clouds parted with the wind dying down as we necked down into the canyon.


Paddling up river was a workout...with the strong current holding us to an average of 2mph...but we fought on, enjoying the day and the Emerald Cave on the AZ side of the canyon.

Occasionally, the wind would completely die down, leaving us tranquil waters....

As we fought our way into the deepening canyon, it became apparent why this was called 'Black Canyon'


Natural springs were abundant on the cliff walls.....

....warranting closer inspection....


As we rounded a bend....we became aware that we were being watched by some Desert Bighorn on the cliffs above....as we continued up river....we found them 10 minutes later at waters edge....I was secretly jealous of their climbing ability

After about 5 hours of paddling up river, we began to see evidence of the Hoover Dam....and the bypass bridge being built to eliminate all vehicular traffic over the Dam.  By this time, my left shoulder was worked....I mean....WORKED...so I hopped out on the AZ side at the AZ hotsprings for a rest and to investigate the possibility of overnighting there....all I found were dense cane and a hot-rocky-cliffy bivy....not the ideal camp spot.....I was left wondering where the "dam campspot" was.....  

Sam returned 20 minutes later having scouted upriver to only find more cliffs...so we turn back down river and beached on the NV side of the canyon in a wide wash with potential......Is the can taller than the man?

Setting up our gear....we pulled our boats high due to some unexpected, but not surprising, tidal fluctuations due to daily outcharge from the dam....LA was sure sucking down the power...so we sucked down more beer.


Having set up camp in the fading light the previous evening, we decided to do some exploring up canyon.  The water was warm, so there was a hot spring up canyon somewhere...so we hiked up a bit to find the source.  Aside from the warning, I really enjoyed the monkey tail on the human figure in the sign.....and was glad I brought my water filter.....


Exploring farther up the side canyon we were in...the trickle of a stream turned to waterfalls....

And the moving spectacle of light on darkness enthralled us as we moved from shadow, to light - from dry to wet....

The canyon walls closing in upon us, we wandered in amazement at the beauty of it all...and thankful for no rain in the forecast....


After our exploration, we pushed off for our return trip down river...which was giving and taking, lightness over darkness from one side of the canyon wall to the other.


To see the balanced change of this combined with the sweet smell of water in the desert was bliss.


We were both amazed at the absolute absence of wind or flow indications on the water at some point....yet we were being swiftly pushed downriver at 4mph without even paddling....the cutting of glass was unfortunate...but very photogenic.....

....ripples on water....

....the warmth of the morning sun....

....the play of shadow on light and rock....

.....it all combined for a primo trip.....I'm glad my first kayak experience was here.

U2metoo's video below................................................


5 comments:

u2metoo said...

Outstanding trip, man. For the up conditions, I knew you had the fitness to do it, but you certainly rose to the occasion. That was not easy paddling up the river, but very rewarding.

maadJurguer said...

Well worth it IMO...thanks for bringing the beer and driving.

u2metoo said...

Fo Sho! I got the video up if you want to drop the embed in. Thanks for pics.

brthomas said...

Nice pictures! Paddling up river sounds like quite a fitness test! Was that intended to avoid the need for permits and livery company rides to
the put-in upstream near the dam?

I added your trip report to my river guide page:
Lower Colorado River Paddleboating Guide & Map.
Lower Colorado River Recreation Directory. (Display options: alphabetical 100. Section 1=kayaking, 2=outfitters, 3=environment-conservation, 4=fishing, 5=hiking-camping, 6=local-websites)

maadJurguer said...

@brthomas: We just paddled up because it sounded like a fun adventure....we never intended to avoid the permits...although that was certainly a benefit.

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