Tag Archives: Rafting

Green River Float 2013

_MG_2246Toward the end of July, _MG_2245I took the family on a 6 day adventure with Dvorak’s Expeditions. It started with a short drive over to Grand Junction where we stayed in the Grand Vista Hotel looking out at the Colorado National Monument at sunset. The next day we were up at the crack _MG_2319of dawn to board a small passenger cessna aircraft which flew us 45 minutes to the north and west of Grand Junction. We landed on a small plateau overlooking the put in at Sandy Wash on the Green River in Desolation Canyon.
We first strapped all of the rafts together into a giant floatzilla and motored for about 15 river miles on the first day. The _MG_2478weather was absolutely perfect the entire trip and a light haze in the air kept the heat from being sweltering! I thought the first day was interesting and could see the reason for the namesake of the canyon, Desolation. We were in the middle of NOWHERE and there wasn’t much vegetation outside of the watercourse. The canyon walls looked to be a crumbly kind of sundried limestone. We did spot a small herd of wild horses on the Ute Indian Reservation side of the river.
The second day of rafting I found the canyon to be a bit more sculptural. The rock turned from limestone to sandstone and I thought this to be more aesthetically pleasing from a painting standpoint. I ended up doing both a painting at our stopping point that night and one in the morning. The morning one was right in the direction of the Groover which I did not know and probably embarrassed a couple _MG_2359of river rats.  This one is called “Groover View” in the painting gallery below._MG_2441
On the second night of the trip and after a few on river water battles, the group was forever bonded in our floating adventure. The food on the trip was absolutely stellar. We had five guides for the almost 20 of us so everything was taken care of and we ate like kings and queens. I snapped pictures while floating during the day and tried to paint like a madman as soon as we stopped for the evening and as everyone loaded the rafts in the morning.
_MG_2332By the third day everyone knew the drills and was on task. My mom and I took duckies out on this day and had a blast running some of the whitewater in the canyon. A few of the other river rats got a hold of my camera one night and had a little fun!!IMG_2483
Some of the haziness in the weather created a flat light on some of the evenings, so I painted trees and other subjects on those days. While the sun set over the canyon walls, a few of us got into a pretty impressive bocce ball tournament. Not a moment later while listening to one of the guides, Nathan, strumming away on the “guit-fiddle” an adolescent bear thought he would like what we were eating at camp…happened to be salmon on this night!! We jumped up and made a lot of noise like a bunch of savages, and the bear took for the hills!
_MG_2460The 4th 5th and 6th days were the best of the Desolation and Gray Canyons I thought. Along the float we stopped a couple of times to see petroglyphs, old homestead cabins and farms and a really refreshing tributary called rock creek.  I think it’s so intriguing to think about the recent history (last 100+ years) and the ancient history of the watershed. Native Americans must have found the place bountiful and probably wandered and traded goods up and down the canyon and beyond. Not to mention the formation of the area in the super ancient geologic history of this river.
If you ever get a chance to do this float, I highly recommend it! Artist or not, you will enjoy yourself very much. I would calle Dvorak’s Expeditions to book a trip as soon as possible and especially if you have young ones in your group. There are sandy beaches the entire way, the water temperature was about 70 degrees, and the area is stunning. Please also enjoy the body of work below from the trip. Check the availability of the paintings by using the navigation bar above.

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Multi-day Float Trip on the San Miguel River

We started out a little upstream from Placerville, CO on the San Miguel River that flows out of Telluride on the Western side of the beautiful San Juan Mountains. With 4 Rafts, about a dozen kayaks, 3 ducky rafts, 25 people including 6 raft guides, and at least 10 cases of beer, our adventure began.

The first day was high speed and unfortunately high drag all at the same time. The river wound around in circles it seemed and dropped a lot of elevation so it was fast, plus the banks were overgrown with strainers and spring runoff debris. This led to swimming kayakers, raft highsidings, and cold campers, but spirits were great. There was a fire ban in effect, so we lit up the bucket of beer in the center of our circle for ambiance. It was perfect. I got a painting in that evening and then another the following morning.

The next day was a continual drop in altitude and a change from a sub-alpine micro-climate to more desert climate. The canyon walls began to climb around us. On the second night, one of the group, Kyle, had a 22nd birthday. This led to much beer loss and a hilarious prank war that lasted in to the night. This campspot was my least favorite and one that did not have a lot to offer this painter. I did get one done that I liked, it’s the one with the light cursing around an old Juniper, below.

On the third day we continued dropping into incredible canyons and cotton-wooded camping spots. This was a great campspot (right) and a few of us young Whipper Snappers played a long game of hide and seek. I hiked up the hill and got a couple paintings done of the broken cap rock at the canyon’s rim. Also shot the picture below as the San Miguel wound its way through the valley floor.

On the Fourth Day we started into what’s called “Hanging Flume Gorge.” This was by far the most spectacular of the day floats. The Hanging Flume can be seen in the picture below and the San Miguel Historical Society has re-built a small portion of the flume so people can see what the intended, but never completed flume would have looked like.

The campsite that night was deep in the Hanging Flume Gorge and was right in a bend of the canyon walls. The reflected light off of the lit side of the canyon illuminated the shadowed side in the deepest red I’ve witnessed in nature. Naturally I was out there painting it as quickly as I could. You’ll see the painting below in the body of work area. Before I got my painting gear out to paint, I shot the lot of raft guides and fun-loving folks on the trip that swam across the river to climb the steep walls adjacent to camp!

Below the photographs is the body of paintings that I did while on the trip. Enjoy.



























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