Day 2 Little Bridge Canyon to Camp at south/western end of First Loop of The Loop, 21 miles, 8 hrs 45 min.
This was a big day with lots of stops and big mileage. I am not sure why I pushed our mileage so hard as the 21 mile day left us with just 13 miles for the last day. There were numerous campsites we could have stopped at which would have cut a few miles off of the this day without turning day 3 into a marathon. I remember there being some mutinous overtones in the boat near the end of the day which were quelled by a glorious campsite and dinner.
Looking back on the trip I remember a mistake I made was that I forgot to bring sugar for the morning coffee. To add a little sweetness to the coffee we tried dropping some of our chocolate, mini Mars bars, into the coffee. I recall that the caramel in the Mars bars not dissolving too well and leaving a sticky sludge in the bottom of the coffee cups.
We were in the canoes and out onto the river by 9:25 am, not exactly an alpine start. Our first destination would be petroglyphs at Lockhart Canyon a little over 3 miles down river.
Sometime during the morning some park rangers passed us in a motor boat. The rangers drew up close by and asked for the name of the permit holder. I shouted back and could see the ranger typing into what appeared to be an onboard computer. They gave a friendly wave and wished us a pleasant trip. I was pretty impressed that we had a permit checked on the river. I have hiked and camped through Canadian National Parks for a decade and have only ever once had my permit checked once and here we were on day 2 of our trip and we already had our permit checked. We would run into the rangers a couple more times on the trip.
We spent about 25 minutes exploring Lockhart Canyon before returning to the river. Our next destination would be Big Bottom where there was suppose to be pictographs, petroglyphs and Anasazi ruins. It was an easy 3 mile float down the river to Big Bottom. We had the canoes safely secured, we thought, by 12:35 pm. Big Bottom did not disappoint.
Tamarisks choked off much of the shoreline around Big Bottom but there were landing points right at the beginning and in the middle of Big Bottom. We chose to stop at the beginning were there was an obvious landing point complete with trail. There are many trails crisscrossing the area but they all lead to the many sights of interest that dot Big Bottom. Big Bottom is probably the place on our trip that had the most points of interest.
We spent an amazing 40 minutes exploring the area at Big Bottom. But we had a long way to go on this day so we headed back to the canoes and were greeted by a little surprise.
Our next stop would be at Indian Creek to see some more Anasazi structures. It would be about 3 pm when we arrived and knowing that we still had a few hours to go was starting to cause stress among the crew.
We kept our stay at Indian Creek was kept short as it was getting hot on the shore. The temperature on the water was much cooler. A couple of miles after Indian Creek while making a long left hand bend we came to the mouth of Monument Creek. Looking high on the cliffs we could see a couple of Anasazi structures.
We had one more stop to make before we made camp. At the beginning of a river feature called The Loop there is a break in the high cliffs which after a quick scramble provides a look over the other side. We tied up the canoes once more and headed up for a look. It took us about 15 minutes to work our way up to get a view of the other side.
It was another two miles to where we would camp. I did not mark it on the map but in the guidebook on page 239 it mentioned “When you reach the western part of the first full bend of The Loop and begin to head south, there are several good campsites upon ledges with no tamarisks on the right or west bank.” We would go all the way to southern end of the first loop and camp in a small canyon at mile 9 on the map (indicating 9 miles to the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers). While nerves where getting a little frayed it was a beautiful campsite. We had the tent set up by 6:30 pm and were eating dinner, pasta and sausages, by 6:55 pm.
After dinner but before we went to bed a guy in a small motor boat chugged past our campsite in the dark. Other than the park rangers he was the only person we saw on the river during our trip. Good night from The Loop.