Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ruby-Horsethief Canyons - easy in October

There comes a time in many a backpacker's life when he looks down from a hot, dusty canyon rim at those people having fun floating down the river, and says, "That looks like more fun that what I'm doing." But of course rafting takes a lot of gear, effort, skill, time, etc. Unless you take a backpacking approach to rafting. Which can be really fun.

So we loaded up the "Sea Eagle" and headed to Ruby-Horsethief Canyons

Truly, canyon country at it's prettiest. Eighty degrees in the day, forty-five degrees at night, clear skies, low dust, and smooth sailing. And bald eagles flying around. I didn't take many photos because my only camera was my phone, and my phone spent most of the trip in a dry bag. Here we are in Mee Canyon:



Home or on the river, Will-J gets up early:



Sitting in a boat on a warm day watching the canyons go by at 4-5 mph is pretty great. The water was about 5,000 cfs, which is the accustomed level for family trips. We were still surprised how fast the current was - we could have done the whole trip in a day without much trouble.

It was crowded, but not too crowded - although the put-in was a zoo, we had a campsite to ourselves. And yes, the black rocks are the highlight - an interesting narrow maze of gniess/schist. Catherine has seen a lot of the big western rivers, and hadn't seen anything quite like it. Here's a guy who understands the geology of the area (and rafted it at five times the flow [one to 1 1/2 mph faster).

Oh, yeah - at the put-in we saw a group heading out to kayak Ruby-Horsethief at night under the full moon. I hadn't heard of kayaking at night, but there's a lot I haven't heard of.

We can't carry a lot of stuff, and certainly it's a tight fit with the three of us in the boat, but there's a lot less to clean and lug. More of this type of trip, please.

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