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Thread: The San Juan River

  1. #1

    The San Juan River

    Sand Island to Mexican Hat
    Wednesday - Friday, May 8-10, 2013

    The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

    I have wanted to get on the San Juan River for a while, but because of the permit system in place I have never really tried. This year I decided it was finally time to try and secure a permit for myself and a few friends from work. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to get any permits from the original lottery. However, I was able to grab an opening at a later date. We had originally wanted to try and do the whole stretch of the San Juan from Sand Island to the Clay Hills Crossing, but the permit we were able to get only let us go to Mexican Hat on this trip.

    After work on Tuesday I drove down to Sand Island near Bluff and grabbed the last available campsite since I didn't want to have to drive down the following morning. That night it stormed on and off and the wind was blowing pretty good. It made me a little worried about how the weather would be for our trip down the river the next few days.

    The following morning I broke down camp and headed back into Bluff for some breakfast before getting on the river. When I returned to the Sand Island boat launch I met up with the rest of our group and we started getting our boats loaded up for the trip and then drove my Jeep down to Mexican Hat as the shuttle vehicle. It had been cloudy and cool all morning, but so far we had not encountered any precipitation. That would change as soon as we got on the river...

    Loading our boats at the Sand Island launch as dark storm clouds roll in.

    Ready to Launch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

    The San Juan by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

    Shortly after launching the skies opened up and rain and hail began to fall. By the time I got my rain jacket on I was already soaked and cold. The jacket helped warm me up a bit.

    Into the Storm by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

    Steve and Pirie had the only large raft in our group.

    Steve by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

    The 'Tiger Wall' behind us.

    Wall by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

    Eventually the storm clouds started to clear and we saw some blue sky. The temperature started to warm up a little, too.

    Clearing Storm by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

    We passed these Moki Steps carved into the sandstone cliff along the river.

    Moki Steps by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

    Great views all around...

    Scenic by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

    Our first stop of the day was at the mouth of Butler Wash so that we could visit some of the petroglyphs found here.

    Butler Wash Stop by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

    The cacti were in full bloom as we hiked up Butler Wash.

    In Bloom by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

    Jackson and his son hike up to the petroglyphs along the river.

    Hiking to Petroglyphs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

    A few of the many petroglyphs found here. I didn't take many photos since I hiked down to these petroglyphs back in May of 2011.

    Riders by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

    Floating past a large alcove in the sandstone high above.

    Below the Alcove by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

    Our next stop along the way was on the Navajo Nation side of the river so that we could search for the Desecration Panel, which was one of my main objectives to find on this trip. I had an idea where these petroglyphs might be, but didn't know for sure. Luckily my guess was right and we had no problem finding them.

    [I]In the 1960
    Randy Langstraat
    ADVENTR.CO | Anasazi Photography

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  4. #2
    Great report and photos! Especially like the morning and evening sunlight on the red cliffs in the background.

    Interesting to see the different petroglyphs and the ruins.

    We're hoping to get there this spring/summer.

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