All of a sudden the Owyhee River went from way too low to just right. But probably not for long. Cricket and I loaded up a Doryak and a Tandori, grabbed RJ and his Doryak in Boulder City, and sped north across Nevada. Which is a very long, tall state. At sunset we dropped the boats in at Rome (which as Martin Litton used to say, in this case could have been built in a day) and camped for the night.

The Owyhee is a river I’ve wanted to run for forty-some years, ever since I started working for Martin Litton. This trip was in his catalog and sounded strange and mysterious. But even though I ran all the other rivers in Martin’s brochure many times for many years, this one had never presented itself as an opportunity. Until this moment.

The geology starts off pretty wacky, and only gets wackier. Note the two geese on top of the lesser pyramid.

Here’s another goose photo-bombing a shot of Cricket.

In addition to all the wacky rocks there’s a whole lotta lava.

It started raining shortly after first light. Giant umbrella to the rescue.

Then it rained some more.

Psycho clouds.

We got to warm our froze toes at a wee hot spring.

Then it really started to rain. We put in at a sheltered spot and set up for a layover.

Once the sun broke out we checked out the view.

We planned an exploratory hike for the morning.

Here are a bunch of photos of some really weird stuff.

The shortest, steepest side slots you can imagine.

“Can you imagine the exquisite kaleidoscopic intricacy of Bryce Canyon or Cedar Breaks shaped into a riverway that you could travel by boat?”
Martin Litton

Enough of this nonsense. Back to camp.

Clear skies bring frosty mornings.

Whistling Bird Rapid. Beware the cave!

These two boaters are really in love with their boats. (Oh, and so am I.)

A sweet side stream.

Here’s an almost-too-late shot of a very cool snake Cricket met. It’s a Sonoran Ground Snake at the extreme northern edge of its range, and the extreme length for its species.

Ancient grafitti.

Did I mention the geology is really wacky?

A bit of frost on the punkin.

Those who came before…

A welcome afternoon soak.

A gorgeous sunset and a hundred-foot shadow.

We could have taken out above Lake Owyhee, but wanted to see the whole run as it was written in Martin’s catalog, which normally means rowing several miles of deadwater. As fate would have it, the reservoir was very low, there was current to within sight of Leslie Gulch, and we had a gentle tailwind. And a final nest of nutball geo-madness.

By the time we got home, the Owyhee had dropped back to its normal extreme low. We are such lucky, lucky people.