Five of us hit the river last weekend.
Even though the Gunny Gorge is in close proximity to Aspen and that when put together, our group has logged some considerable miles on the waters of Colorado, Utah and beyond, only one in the group, Tim, had completed this run before. So armed with five inflatable kayaks and just enough beer to get us through two nights on the 14 mile stretch of river, we pushed off Saturday, unsure as to what to expect.
As many of you know, Christy and I are getting married in a few weeks and with the wedding quickly approaching, this adventure was unofficially filed as my “Bachelor Party Weekend.” Busy summer schedules prevented some friends from coming along and the final team comprised of Sean, Tim, Jann, Chris and me which was actually the perfect number though I would have loved to seen twelve duckies out there.
The run itself is awesome. Commonly done in one long-ish day or with one night’s camping, our two night stay– the most a permit will allow– gave us three shorter days on the water and plenty of time to enjoy it all. The river itself is just hard enough, with loads of class III rapids interspersed with a few III/IV’s thrown in for good measure. It never feels too threatening but throws enough challenges at you to require your attention. It would be tragic to loose the cooler or the grill or some other piece of required river gear.
As always, some camps are better than others. With a lot of setup and shuttling to get done on the first day, when it came time to claim campsites at the put-in, most of the choice plots were already taken but for the second night we scored a good one, T-Dyke. Located on a stretch of the river that’s pretty inaccessible and therefore safe from any pop-in visits of the BLM type– unlike the first camp when a ranger nicknamed “Rooster” (no doubt for his ability to disrupt our morning) checked in on us– we had T-Dyke all to ourselves.
Each day seemed to have some excitement, but it was the third day that had the best stretch of rapids, with successive III/IV drops that kept everyone on guard and sending me swimming once and Jann a couple of times. Nothing like last year at Westwater, but still enough to raise awareness that getting separated from your boat early on could have you swimming successive rapids for a while.
If you’re wondering, “What about Dirk?” the usual partner and regular emcee of events like these well even though he was instrumental in making this whole weekend happen, in the days before he had to bow out due to an injury. He was missed for sure, and we’re still waiting to hear the “real” story as to how he hurt himself. The reason I initially passed around was not nearly cool or interesting enough so we’ll let him come up with something more exciting before we excuse him from missing the weekend. Let us know when you figure it out.
This post wouldn’t be complete without including at least one photo related to the bachelor party/guys weekend theme. After showing Christy the pics when we got home, once she stopped laughing at this one(below) she said I should include it in the post, as a “Gunny Gorge Lifestyle Pic.” And I’ll ask the question– only one of the “props” in the photo were placed by me, three others were there already. Which one am I responsible for:
- the empty bottle of Hornitos
- the eye shades
- the hand placement
- the open sleeping bag
I’ll end it with that fitting image, one that would make Dirk proud. Thanks to everyone who made it happen.