Dirty Devil River Float- Itinerary, Equipment, Logistics

26 April 2008

The time for the first trip of the summer is nearly here. I will float the Dirty Devil River from about 14 May till about 27 May, giving me roughly about two weeks on the river. The float is only about 80 miles and can be done in much less time; 8 to 10 days would be sufficient. But I have plans to explore at least 6 or 8 of the canyons draining into the river. I’ll do 4 or 5 dayhikes, maybe more, and at least 2 or 3 overnights in the longer canyons. I have been studying the maps, but haven’t really decided yet which to explore. I will most likely choose them at the last minute, when I am standing at the mouth of the canyon looking up into it. I am considering mostly those draining from the east for overnights: Robbers Roost Canyon, No Mans Canyon, Larry Canyon, Twin Corral Box Canyon, Sams Mesa Box Canyon and Happy Canyon. There are plenty of choices!

I will need at least 9- 1:24,000 mapsheets for the float and hiking, possibly as many as 12 depending on how far upcanyon I choose to go. I will start with the 9 mapsheets that cover the river- I am picking those up next week- and decide then if I need others.

I have begun packing for the trip. As I am going solo, there will be a good size pile of gear and food. I like to pack early, then re-pack about a week out, then do a final packing a day or two before heading out. This allows me to really see what I am thinking about bringing along, and gives me plenty of chances to leave gear behind that I won’t need as well as plenty of chances to make sure nothing is left behind. Since I am hiking and backpacking on this float trip, I will need to cater my packing list to cover all three activities. This leaves plenty of room for overpacking, not something I want to do on a shallow river such as the Dirty Devil. From all accounts I have found so far, there will be enough dragging of the boat across sandbars as it is, without adding un-needed weight to the boat.

I have tentatively scheduled a shuttle with Tag-A-Long Expeditions in Moab. the shuttle will cost 50 dollars. They will meet me at the takeout near Hite Marina on 14 May. I will leave my truck there and they will drop me at one of the two bridges where the Dirty Devil meets the highway near Hanksville. I have not decided yet if that will be west of Hanksville, or north. On my way to the takeout near Hite I will recon both possible put-ins and make that decision.

Besides exploring the river and hiking and backpacking up the side canyons, I will be on the lookout for ruins and rock art to photograph. I also plan, as usual, to work on my primitive skills. Although it will be early in the season, I will be searching for edible plants. I have a list of plant parts to try this year, including cattail pollen and the young, spring shoots.

Visit the Desert Explorer website for more details on this and other desert topics.