After a week in Colorado, it was time head to Utah for my 2nd OARS whitewater rafting trip. My first experience with OARS was a 4 day trip through Canyonlands in Utah. I had such a great time, I did not hesitate to sign up for 4 days on the Green River through Gates of Lodore. OARS just happened to have a “solo travelers” trip starting on my 37th birthday….perfect! For true thrill seekers, I recommend rafting earlier in the season when the water is higher, but I prefer the relaxing fall float trips.
Our trip began with a pre-trip meeting in Vernal, Utah at the OARS warehouse. We would meet our fellow travelers, get our OARS-issued dry bags and any instructions for the following morning. I spent the night at the Vernal KOA. Normally, I prefer a more rustic/remote camping experience, but I needed laundry facilities after a week on the road.
The next day, we met bright and early and jumped into the shuttle van for what seemed like a pretty long trip, with a stop for liquor once we crossed back into Colorado! (Utah has some strange liquor laws)
We were off to an auspicious start, with low water levels, and had to push the rafts pretty far out to get going. Unlike my previous trip, there were no motors on these boats, just two paddle rafts under muscle power of our two guides, Charlie and Scotty.
We launched immediately into some incredibly scenic views of the Gates of Lodore.
Each day, as we pulled into our campsite for the evening, the first order of business was to get the “fireline” going – we’d line up and empty the boats, unload our dry bags set up camp. While we set up our evening accommodations, the guides would get the kitchen ready for dinner.
The campsites were quite scenic!
This was such a fun trip, and a wonderful group of ladies to travel with!
As with my last OARS trip, the end of the trip was bittersweet. Spending every waking hour for 4 days with these folks, along with no electronics, email or outside communication, is kind of hard to snap out of! I believe they call this the river blues. I get them every time.
After a shuttle back to the warehouse and some tearful goodbyes, I headed to Steamboat Springs for 1 night, then on to Denver area to camp with friends for one night at Pickle Gulch, then the long drive back to Illinois. My 2nd OARS trip would not be my last!
For more pictures, click here!