On the way to Vernal for our canyoneering adventure, I met up with Kristin for a mellow float down the Ruby Horsethief Canyon. The departure from Boulder was a bit hectic as I had to race my bike up to my dad's house outside of Nederland to take his camper off his truck (which, of course, fell and briefly pinned my arm under it). After jacking the camper off of my arm and, as usual, running late, I headed for Fruita.
Kristin had set up a duckie rental from Rimrock Adventures and somehow we were on the water at the Loma put in before sunset:
Not quite dark yet...
With my epicly late start, we planned to camp just a short distance into the Horsethief Canyon at Rattlesnake Canyon. Also, this way we could get up early and head straight up Rattlesnake Canyon towards the Rattlesnake Arches. Early the next morning we started the hike towards the arches. The hike was rather long, loose and hot. Not to mention the almost total lack of a trail.
Part way up, looking across the Colorado River at the downright awesome mountain biking of the Loma/Kokopelli Loops:
But, with the second highest concentration of arches in the world and far less people than Arches National Monument, the hike was totally worth it.
The hike back down proved to be even hotter; 5 hours after leaving the river we were happy to be back on the water.
The second night we camped at the Black Rock Rapids, which have some really neat rock formations and beautiful towers:
Looking up from our campsite:
Of course, a stop at Black Rocks would not be complete without a little cliff jumping.
Then it was back to the river for a mellow morning float towards the Westwater takeout.
At the takeout all too soon:
The Ruby Horsethief is a fun and mellow little float and a great option for inexperienced boaters like ourselves. The hike up to the Rattlesnake Arches really adds to the experience, but it gets darn hot up there and the hike is not short - start early and bring lots of water. This float could easily be done in two days and could be combined with a day of mountain biking at Loma for a great long weekend.