Down by the River, My Adventure on the Colorado River

It was two weeks ago today that I set out on an adventure of a lifetime. Finally, I get to reflect on my trip, up the Colorado River west of the Hoover Dam. Carolyn and I had agreed to go on this adventure with Kenny and Cindy Boyes and Kenny’s brother Rex and his family.

The plan was to throw some canoes into the Colorado River and paddle 8.5 miles upstream (against the current) to camp. As Kenny and Cindy said, “its easy, no problem whatsoever.” And of course we agree since it would be no big deal to take a big old green tank (our Sarcinella borrowed canoe) and just paddle upstream. What was I thinking?

As the days approached, my anxiety levels only increased as I was wondering if Carolyn and I could somehow paddle against the current and not go backwards. To me it was like walking 8 miles uphill to school in a blinding snowstorm. Talk about sleepless nights, I was waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. On a Thursday afternoon, May 8 we load up the Boyes truck and head to Kingman to spend the night to sleep (yeh right) and take off from Willow Beach early on Friday.  We meet up at the motel with Kenny’s brother Rex and his family and sleep. Maybe a few moments of shuteye would best describe that attempt.


So it’s 3:00 a.m. and we get around and head on down to Denny’s. Interesting place at 4:00 a.m. I was feeling quite anxious and joked about it being my last supper which would be breakfast and after loads of coffee we head to Willow Beach. It was beautiful but man I was nervous. We finally push off about 7:30 and the last time I went canoeing was in Ohio in about 1974. Now my lovely bride had never been canoeing and did I mention we were headed upstream in the mighty Colorado River? What a beautiful day! Well Rex Boyes and his family have these nice fancy kayaks, Kenny and Cindy have a nice aluminum canoe, and Carolyn and I push out in the green tank.

I know now why I was having anxiety as my nightmares were about to come true. Paddling against the current, it often seemed like we were not moving. It was like slow motion.  The novices somehow got upstream and landed at the campsite after covering 8.5 miles in 5.5 hours. What a workout. I’m sure Carolyn wanted to plug me with the paddle a few times but we managed to still be on speaking terms at the end of the upstream journey. We saw Bighorn Sheep, and a Bald Eagle. Of course we had to keep paddling and couldn’t rest to take any photos due to loosing any momentum we might have.

Arrival, set up tents, prepare our own portable toilet and we were living the life. Cold beer, some “nipping” substances and we could face just about any obstacle. Well the toilet gets set up and sure enough Kenny decides he has to use the thing.




So after celebrating our safe arrival we head off to the hot springs for a hot soak.




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On the way to hot springs we get to see a Gila Monster. That was cool.

Of course we had a beer, afterall we are adults and to honor my friend Mike, I even packed the Fat Tire along. What fun those hot springs are. It was awesome.

We go back to camp and even get to see a rattlesnake. OMG, a rattlesnake. I hate snakes. I could almost feel the anxiety creeping back. Good thing I had a Fat Tire to calm my nerves.

Of course, we did the group photo thing and I sort of felt like we were on vacation with the Griswolds. After a scrumptious dinner, we headed off to our sleepytime luxury suites and set our sites on for Saturday.

Saturday morning Rex and his family head back down the river for home and it left the four of us to continue the adventure.  We decided to take a hike up Petroglyph Wash to see if we could find the Native graffiti artist work. After a long strenuous hike and about to give up and as we were resting in the shade, I glanced across the trail and Eureka the petroglyphs were right in front of us. So it was worth it all to see them.P1060085 P1060089 P1060090 P1060091 P1060096

We hike back to camp through the hot springs and just hang out enjoying the beauty of the Canyon. Of course some Boy Scout group arrives and two of them head back out in a canoe and well lets just say there was some anxious moments but they were brought back safely and that is all I am going to mention in that story.

Of course we lost most of our beer Friday night as it washed downstream and somehow I managed to get a sixer of Coors Light for my friend Kenny from some campers who no longer had a need for their leftovers. Of course Carolyn felt guilty and gave them 5 bucks but that is another story.

Of course we would have an eventful evening as a cold front filled with strong winds pummeled us overnight. Canoes tipped over, tents laying down, it was some storm and little sleep. But it was cool and added to the river adventure.

Sunday morning arrives and we push off early after some great coffee and down the river we go. Well, I can tell you that it only took us about 2.5 hours going back and with the wind at our back it was an added benefit for us canoeing novices. P1060099 P1060101 P1060104 P1060056






Sometimes my sarcasm gets the best of me but I can honestly say this was a trip of a lifetime. I am so glad Carolyn and I accepted the challenge and we accomplished the feat and had a great time. So after canoeing, I think I want to try kayaking. By the way did I mention there was only one other person in the three days we were on the river that was going upstream. So there you  have it and I leave you with this gem of a song and its lyrics about canoeing.


Brant N. Miller
(© 1993 Final Vinyl Music, ASCAP)

When you can’t stand that nine to five
Load up your canoe and drive
Off to someplace wet to drown your blues
Whether it’s a lazy river, a mountain lake
Or fast whitewater
There’s so much you can do in a canoe
You can drift and dream all day
Let the current guide your way
Or you can pole upstream if you want to
Join a month-long expedition
Or spend a lazy Sunday fishin’
There’s so much you can do in a canoe

You don’t need a lot of money, just a little time
A boat that floats and a little water too
Just hold onto the paddle and watch a dream come true
There’s so much you can do in a canoe
If you really want some thrills
You can drive up to the hills
Run those rapids, even swim a few
Catch an eddy, surf a wave
Portage if you don’t feel brave
There’s so much you can do in a canoe

Repeat Chorus

If you paddle silently
Many wonders you will see
Herons, otters, deer and eagles too
Fall in love with nature’s gifts
Or with the one you’re paddlin’ with
There’s so much you can do in a canoe

About timfruth

Longtime public educator who retired. Love the outdoors and rapidly adjusting to a new me.
This entry was posted in Hiking, River Trip, Road Trip, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Down by the River, My Adventure on the Colorado River

  1. Jordan Bane says:

    Great story Mr. Fruth . I felt like I was there a couple times throughout the story. Glad you made it out alive and well congratulations

  2. Carol Hock says:

    I must admit to hearing of this adventure before, but this illustrated, humorous edition is really fun reading, I commend all who participated in this great journey.

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