Friends of mine have talked about the San Juan for ages. This year we all applied for permits and no-one got one! But on a cancellation my friend got one so we were very excited to go. He cautioned that the water might be too low so we held our breath then due to all the rain in May we put in at peak 7000cfs! This was almost too fast and we missed the first petroglyph viewing take-out. This river has very few places to pull over when it is running that fast. We waited for our friends and treated that as a learning experience! We all put in at Sand Island (3 boats) and planned a five day trip to takeout at Mexican Hat. In the end we cut the trip a day short due to rain but we were so very lucky to see this before the tragic Gold King Mine disaster that happened not too long after our trip. I felt so sorry for the Navajo people that depend on this river for their water and their livelihoods.
We were in awe of the cliff dwellings, the petroglyphs, the scenery and the beautiful falcon we watched as she fed her very hungry babies. I will never forget seeing her dive straight down the cliff face with a prehistoric screech – wow! We listened to the sand waves all night and watched them randomly form from our camp – they were so big you could have almost surfed on them 🙂 This was a much longer drive from Basalt than we would normally take the raft; about 7 hours! But a great adventure.