About ROV


email Glenn

Green River, Utah

In October of 1991, we flew to Salt Lake City to meet our friends Bill, Gary, Paul, and Peter for a canoe trip down the Green River.

The Green River passes through Utah's' red rock country, then joins the Colorado River which, of course, eventually passes through the Grand Canyon.

From our base in Moab, we met our outfitter and headed to Mineral Bottom.


When the outfitters were taking the canoes off of the truck, one canoe fell about 8 feet to the ground.

Some other people thought that this was a doomed canoe, but we knew that it was just anxious to get in the water. This was a good sign. At least that was our story after we were given the canoe, and we planned to stick to it.
So, we got the canoes in the water and started our trip.

We paddled for a few hours each morning, after eating Bill's excellent pancakes. We would stop occasionally to explore Anasazi ruins, look at petroglyphs, or do a little fishing.
In the afternoons, we would set up camp, eat lunch, hike a canyon or two, take a quick swim, and skip rocks across the river.

One day, as Gary, Paul, and I skipped rocks, we explored my theory that it's impossible to skip rocks and be evil at the same time.

Gary and I were debated the possible merits of rock skipping as therapy for evil people, until Paul threatened to skip a rock off both our heads.
That pretty much shattered my theory.

The average evening consisted of a large fire, a hearty dinner, a touch of alcohol, and animated discussions. As Peter was a new member of our troupe, we had all the excuse we would need to tell and further embellish old stories and legends from past camping experiences.

Canoeing here is as much a visual experience as a physical one, because of the changing scenery.

This region is a large geological kaleidoscope.
The earth has taken a number of attractive basic elements like water, trees, and rock (in a dozen different colors); then rotated, jumbled, and scattered them. The elements stay the same, but the patterns keep changing.

Suddenly, that which you have taken for granted, previously, is seen in a new light.
The elements haven't really changed. The difference is in our perception.
Eyes, minds, and hearts are recalibrated.

That is the silent strength of the desert.

The hikes are the highlight of the trip for me.
All my senses are engaged. As an activity, it's physical, mental, and (on a good day) can be spiritual.

Each hike brings new views.  
The Anasazi presence, in petroglyphs, flints, and dwellings, is everywhere.
There is colorful sandstone, delicate enough to fall apart in your hands. The patterns remind us of  Indian sand paintings.

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Bill and an Anasazi structure

We also find geodes, lava rock, petrified wood, arches, peepholes, caves, and canyons. A coyote skull. Fossils of a snake, and of sea plants.

It's every boys' dream. The possibility of surprise lurks around each turn.

On our next-to-last day, we did a group hike.
At one point, we made a wrong turn and reached a dead end. We could see our goal. To reach it, we had two choices. Backtrack and find the trail, or scramble along the cliff, over loose rock. The group decided to go back down the trail and find the path.

My motto when hiking, though, is 'never give up altitude'.
So, Peter and I decided to continue.

We climbed across the cliff, over a dry waterfall, and reached the top. I took out the binoculars and looked for the others. They were returning to camp. Unfortunately, they had most of the supplies. Our bags carried only 2 granola bars and 16 ounces of water for the afternoon.

A stream bed ran next to us. We knew that it might be polluted by cows upstream. We could drink or turn around. Knowing that we would be back in town tomorrow, we decided to drink and continue. We filled our stomachs and then our bottles, with stream water.

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Scenery in the Maze

We followed cairns up a wash.
As we hiked further, goblins and hoodoos surrounded us. The colors were intense, the shapes fantastic.

Flints were everywhere. They jingled as we walked through them. Peter loaded his pockets, until , he jingled as he walked, so he emptied them.

We circled to a point between the Shot Canyon and Water Canyon waterfalls.

We could see the Green River below, with Petes Mesa nearby, Castles in the Sky a few miles away, and the La Sal Mountains rising dramatically in the distance. We took photos and finished most of our water.

Being guys, we spent some time throwing rocks into the canyon and listened for the gunshot responses.
Then we headed back to camp.

The next day, we were picked up by jet boat, and whisked back up the Colorado River to Moab.

In Moab, we took showers and headed to Eddie McStiffs, a great pizza/beer joint who's motto is 'Pure Desert Product'.
We ate The Happy Caper (prosciuto ham, garlic, capers, gorgonzola, and mozzarella) and the Downtown Deluxe (peppers, mushrooms, onions, olives, artichoke hearts, garlic, Canadian bacon, sausage and pepperoni) with a side of  atomic wings, quesadillas, and a beer sampler (Canyon Cream Ale, Amber Ale, Wheat Beer, McStiff Stout, Raspberry Wheat, Blueberry Cream, Chestnut Brown and a house special).
No pizza or beer is better than one that enters a mouth which has been dusted by the desert.
Taste buds that were dulled by sand instantly and gratefully spring back to life, like flowers after a desert rainstorm.

Or maybe it's just the beer talking!