Rau: Planning a river trip, tips | SkyHiNews.com

Rau: Planning a river trip, tips

Diana Lynn Rau
Grand County Trails
Diana Lynn Rau
Staff Photo |

I am thankful that Grand County does not have the heat and storms that build up in Denver. The weather is much of the reason we choose to live here in summer. When several of my family visited last week, we packed up for a two-night/three-day river trip on the Upper Colorado and they learned just how much is involved in trip planning.

River Trip planning

Trip planning is more complicated than many of the uninitiated understand. First, you have to inventory all the necessary gear to make sure that you have everything needed – boats, patch and repair kit for problems with boat, oars, frame, cooler, boxes with rain and emergency clothes and boxes for food, dry bags for sleeping gear and more clothes, a way to rig your boat so both boatman and passengers can be comfortable for several days, straps to hold it all together, and the list goes on and on.

And then there’s food for breakfast, lunch and dinner – figure out your menus and then calculate boxes needed for dry goods and space needed for items to be kept cold. And then go shopping. There’s rarely a grocery store on the river to pick up a package of hot dogs or a box of cereal.

Then there’s the all-important human waste system that you select; you have to pack everything out. Can’t have that many people digging a hole in the ground.

How much water do you need and where do you get more? How do you clean your dishes? Did you remember the coffee? And the coffee pot?

Day Trip

On a day trip, much of this is inconsequential. Anyone can buy a sandwich at Subway and call it lunch. But you still need the boat gear. And you don’t need much cooler space for your beer – use a drag bag in the river. Or just drink water if you remembered your water bottle. But the right equipment can make a big difference on an overnight, especially if the weather turns and it rains for hours, or you have your stove but forgot the propane fuel to cook with, or you forgot the toilet paper.

Overnight trip

Longer trips may have pages of checklists and hours can be spent assigning gear for each boat or person to bring to avoid duplication. Meals are assigned and then you have to make sure you have adequate kitchen gear to cook and eat with. Then you have to address sanitation – nothing is worse than a simple cold spreading through a group of people traveling together. How do you prevent the spread of germs and keep them from infecting everyone? It can become a miserable situation.

Hats off to the planners who can make it work. My nephew and his fiancée were amazed at the lists and the piles of gear that became organized on two boats for our trip.

Meal planning

We kept it pretty simple but what do you do with leftovers? You learn to figure out quantities and become creative with what goes in your next meal. Where was that can of beans you needed for dinner? Whose boat was it on and in what box? Did you bring the dog food? Or the can opener?

What hike are we doing today? Who will record this trip? There is usually someone who likes taking pictures so you can remember all the great details like when Sue met her first lizard face to face up close or when Jack fell in trying to step on shore from the boat. The incredible patch of cactus flowers or the gorgeous sunset as you were cleaning dishes after dinner. The smiling faces of all the people on the trip, the dog or two who gets to come along, and all the incredible scenery you came to see are also things you want to remember.

Next week – How do you row this thing?

This week’s tips from local flower guru – Patricia Berman:

Last week I hiked the Columbine Lake trail which always has a beautiful floral display. My favorite spot is just above the waterfall, where we briefly hike along the creek. We saw Perry Primroses, Chiming Bells and Bittercress. At the lake continue hiking to the stream to see King’s Crown and Bog Laurel. I highly recommend hiking to the meadow on the Devils Thumb trail to see the abundance of the various wildflowers.


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