Each year for the last I forget how long, several of us dory fanatics have been chartering a trip on some western river with an outfitter that is willing to go farther and take longer than any sensible person would ever do. The outfitter then hires us and our ancient wooden dories to be much of the crew, and we market the trip to our devoted followers, who often book the entire trip before the details are even finalized. Our crew consists of several long-time dory guides:
Andy Hutchinson, boatbuilder, musician, and river guide extraordinaire
Kate Thompson, river guide, naturalist and archeo-interpreter
RJ Johnson, geologist, river guide, and general troublemaker
Tim Cooper, river guide, writer, and raconteur
me, Brad Dimock, boat builder, river guide and bullshit artist
Brin Finnegan, river guide, naturalist, and upper basin specialist
and various other amazing folk
And the boats are mostly ancient Briggs Grand Canyon Dories, built in the 1970s and’80s by the late great Jerry Briggs. Sometimes we have some newer boats along build by Andy, Coop, or myself. But they all pay silent homage to the amazing MArtin Litton and his lifelong battle for all things wild and free.
Over the last decade or two we’ve run most of the runnable Colorado River Basin: Flaming Gorge to Jensen, Cross Mountain to Jensen, Ouray to Green River, Loma to Hite, Four Corners to Clay Hills, Glen Canyon Dam to Pearce Ferry… we even went up to our ancestral dory origins and ran the Rogue from Grants Pass to the sea. As our crew approaches senior age levels (no names or numbers need be mentioned) we hope to fill in some of the last gaps.
For 2022 we plan to launch at Green River Utah, where we left off last year, and run the 120 remaining miles of the Green River through Labyrinth Canyon, beautiful Tower Park, and Stillwater Canyon, where we will meet the Colorado. Then we’ll tighten up our life jackets and drop through Cataract Canyon’s wild whitewater and the many old rapids now resurfacing that have long been buried beneath Lake Powell. For those who have missed the news, the Powell Reservoir is fast running out of water and has now dropped to levels not seen since the dam was first filling.
Giving in and running the madre
We will continue on past the normal takeout near Hite and run the crazy mud rapids and silt wilderness down to wherever we meet the reservoir. At that point we’ll meet a couple houseboats to base our explorations out of, and we will poke around and see many of the long lost wonders of Glen Canyon as they emerge from their long inundation.
We’re not the wild and rowdy hikers we once were, preferring mellower side-excursions and plenty of camp time. Sometimes there are bugs. Or it rains. Or the wind blows. Or the river goes dry. Or we motor for a while. But by and large we have an awfully good time. It’s not about checking something off your list as you whiz by. It’s about being there. Living there. With friends.
We’ve done some pretty odd trips in the past. This one may be odder. But if it’s the sort of oddness that intrigues you, give Andy a holler. I think we still have a couple spaces open.
Here are some specifics.
- Holiday River Expeditions will forward Forms, Equipment Required, Rental Options to you all, after Deposits are received.
- We are hiring drivers for (2) Houseboats on Lake Powell. Otherwise this is considered a shared expense “Reunion Portion” of our trip which is reflected in trip fare.
- We are required to wear PFDs on the Lake, which will be provided by Holiday.
- We will stay apprised of continuing updates of lake levels which will determine our “second half” trip logistics. We will keep you informed of changes needed as they occur!