"There were wild horses running through the fields and another petroglyph panel. In the evening, stomachs full of apricot pie, we slept soundly under the light of the stars..."
Dinosaur National Monument sheltered us from the cold for a few hours while we studied and drew the fossils around us. After lunch we said goodbye to the bones and paddled to the nearby post office. A local woman named Jenny mistook Ruby for a postal worker! Then she asked what we were all doing on the river in late October. When she found out we were planning on camping in temperatures below 0° Fahrenheit, she offered us firewood and a space in her house to sleep. We initially declined the offer and paddled another mile down the river. Miraculously, Jenny showed up at out campsite! We loaded our barrels and gear into two cars and drove to Jenny's warm house. Her four kids and husband warmly greeted us. Sheltered from the strong wind and sub-zero temperatures, we cooked a chili and took hot showers.
|"We pass through a region of the wildest desolation"|
|Liam tests the ice|
The next day we worked on academics before taking off back to the icy river. The next few days we had fun punching through large icebergs while paddling! On November 1st we paddled under the Ouray Bridge. While our boats moved gently through the glassy water, we spotted a man running from the bushes in a Winnie-the-Pooh onesie! It was Pasha, our river guide. He said hello to us and we laughed at our new leader's sense of humor.
|Canoeing through floating "icebergs" in the river!|
The next couple of days included many side hikes and explorations of the desert's many secrets, with and small amounts of paddling (10-12km). We hiked the rolling hills up to a large mesa where we could see the winding river below. Pasha led an art class in which we painted the dark green river and steep canyon from different perspectives. During a few short explorations of the canyons, we saw petroglyphs! Amazed by their mystery, we examined them and discussed what the artists might have been portraying in the rock drawings. It also sparked a conversation about present-day petroglyphs (graffiti) as well as if/why it would be wrong of us to carve into rock.
On November 7th we had a layover day which means we did not paddle anywhere. We camped at Flat Canyon, located in Desolation Canyon. At 5:00 AM on our layover day, Miron, Elena, Callie, Sarah, and Pele all got up and went for a hike up a canyon. The sunlight poured over the canyon top and greeted the morning hikers. Down at camp others were slowly beginning to rise and the smell of pancakes wafted in the air. Pasha, with help from a few others, cooked chocolate-chip pancakes! We had a great day of academics, self-care, and solo time.
|Maya and Zinnia|
The next day was Spencer's 18th birthday. We headed out of camp after a nice birthday song. A few miles downriver we reached Rock Creek Ranch. There were wild horses running through the fields and another petroglyph panel. In the evening, stomachs full of apricot pie, we slept soundly under the light of the stars. Now as we travel toward Green River, Utah, where our third re-supply awaits, all of us are looking forward to the journeys ahead by boat and by foot.