Sunday, May 13, 2012

Somewhere in the Desert - Part 1

Words by Greg
Photos by Trina and Greg

Finding water in the desert is always a rare and beautiful event. (Or a flood, but never mind that right now.) And since the water in our corner of the desert comes from snow that melts out of the high country, this year's thin mountain snowpack has us searching harder than usual for floatable water.

We recently wandered off into the desert and learned a few things. For one, we learned that the resilient native vegetation knows a thing or two about dry years. And while some plants may be taking the year off, many plants are right at it again, exploding into vibrant colors that call out to pollinators and photographers alike.

For another thing, we learned -- yet again -- that it doesn't take much water to float our little packrafts. And that it doesn't take all that much to keep us entertained for hours.

We managed to find a shady cottonwood tree and a trickle of water to park and camp by. Then set off on a ten-minute stroll through the sunshine to where we could shove through riverside willows to the cool, brown river. We could have floated to our take-out in about ten minutes. But we didn't just float. We tried paddling and wading upstream. We stopped and fought through more willows on the opposite bank. We explored small side canyons and wandered amid flowers and slickrock towers.

By the time we'd returned to our boats, floated the final riffle/rapid and rolled our boats up on the bank, most of the afternoon was gone. And there was nothing left to do but stroll back to camp, enjoy cups of tea, books and dinner until the moon and stars took over the sky and we fell asleep next to the burbling trickle.

Trina's camo boat is in this shot

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