This adventure will leave you wanting more!
Minimum Age: 10 Year(s)
- DAY 1 - MAR 06, 2017 (MON)
WE DRIVE FROM BLUFF TO OUR PUT-IN AT SAND ISLAND
We begin our day with a 4-mile drive from Bluff to our put-in at Sand Island, where your boats and your crew await. After a thorough safety talk, our journey begins. We’ll peacefully float for a few hours, getting to know our fellow travelers and soaking in the majesty of our surroundings. Our first stop is Butler Wash, where we’ll be amazed by petroglyphs engraved across a sheer rock wall. The figures depicted here are believed to be “Kachinas,” or gods. This is an excellent introduction to rock art we’ll see as we head downstream. We’ll also see “moki steps” that were carved into the cliffs at least 800 years ago. Not much farther down river we stop for a short walk to River House, a well-preserved prehistoric cliff dwelling. We have time to explore this multi-room structure and admire the rock art including human hands, sheep and snake figures that adorn the overhanging walls and ceiling. We might also explore the Hole in the Rock on the famous Mormon Trail. Our first day generally sets the pace for our river trip. Typically, we spend a few hours on the water in the morning, sometimes stopping for a great hike, a visit to a waterfall or a prehistoric ruin, or a refreshing swim. At lunchtime, we pull over to a sandy beach and enjoy a delicious picnic. After feasting and relaxing on the beach (or perhaps swimming, a game of Frisbee or a nature walk), we get back in our boats and watch the desert panoramas slowly develop and change as we peacefully float down the river. Mid- to late-afternoon, we stop and make camp; you grab your bags and set up your tent while we take care of the kitchen and “living room”—camp chairs and the site for tonight’s campfire (if permitted). This is the perfect time for you to lounge on the beach with that book you’ve wanted to finish. Before long, you’ll be savoring pleasing hors d’oeuvres and the beverage of your choice—delicious as these refreshments are, they always taste better after a day on the river! Read, nap, or just sit back and laugh with friends and family as your guides prepare dinner. After a satisfying feast, the evening is yours to spend however you wish. Maybe music, stories, or jokes will bring us together tonight; maybe the popping of the fire, the whisper of the river and the clarity of the big, star-filled sky will encourage silent reflection on the amazing wilderness that is, for now, our home.
- DAY 2 - MAR 07, 2017 (TUE)
SAN JUAN CARRIES US FURTHER INTO THIS MAJESTIC GEOLOGICAL CORRIDOR
Your day begins as the cliff walls reflect the colors of sunrise. Fresh coffee and tea are waiting when you get up; grab a cup, sit back and take in the glory of the awakening river. Soon breakfast is served—omelets made to order, blueberry pancakes, sizzling bacon, fresh fruit, toast and juice are among the treats you will indulge in each morning. Once you’ve eaten your fill, you pack up your things as the guides break down camp, then our new day’s adventure begins. As the San Juan carries us further into this majestic geological corridor, we begin to see evidence of the earth’s activity—slow and steady, or sudden and violent—over the course of the river’s 300-plus-million-year existence. Within the first 10 miles, the river crosses the Comb Ridge monocline, a gigantic upwarp that extends unbroken for over 50 miles. A hike to the Mule Ear diatreme reveals an eruptive ground vent and a rubble mass of rocks from the earth’s mantle. Then it’s back to our boats to begin our descent into the upper San Juan canyon, where we meet our first whitewater, Four-Foot Rapid. Eight-Foot and Ledge Rapids also spice up our tranquil float as we enter the upper “Narrows,” a particularly tight gorge carved out of the brilliant rocky layers by the very river upon which we drift.
- DAY 3 - MAR 08, 2017 (WED)
THIS DAY WE REACH THE MEXICAN HAT AND THEN WE HEAD TO BLUFF TO FOR DEPARTURE
On Day 3 we reach Mexican Hat. This is the ending point of the 3-day trip. Those leaving will return to Bluff ― while the rest of us stay on for the remainder of our 6-day trip. Having enjoyed the camaraderie of past days and the magnificence of the river corridor, we say our goodbyes and head downstream.
The more aggressive hikers in our group may tackle the steep and strenuous climb up the Raplee Anticline. No matter the effort involved in reaching the top, the views that await us are well worth it, and we’ll take some time to soak up the incredible landscapes of Monument Valley and Mexican Hat rock. Back on the river, we’ll float past the town of Mexican Hat and enter the Mendenhall Loop, the beginning of the famous Goosenecks of the San Juan River. This snake-like stretch of river twists and turns so tightly, we cover seven river miles through a section measuring just two miles as the crow flies! Winding back and forth, we’ll pass exquisite works of water and rock like the Tabernacle and the Second Narrows.
We may have time to stop at Mendenhall Loop for a short hike. In 1893 prospector Walter Mendenhall staked a claim at the first gooseneck in search of gold. The remains of his stone cabin rest on the plateau overlooking the river.