Today the boys and I took the new canoe to Joe’s Valley for its maiden voyage. I really would rather have run the Green River Daily, but I didn’t dare do it with no experience, so a reservoir seemed more appropriate. Loading and unloading the canoe was difficult for me to do alone. Traci offered her help getting it loaded on top of the Jeep at home, but since she wouldn’t be with us on this trip I insisted that I do it alone because I’d be without her help at Joe’s Valley. I left home with both kids and Torrey in the morning and hoped for calm waters. I unloaded at the bottom of the boat ramp, parked the Jeep, then returned to the water and we set off into the reservoir. Getting into and out of the canoe worried me the most, but it really was simple and easy to do. The boys took turns paddling, even though I did most of the work. A motorboat passed us, and I was worried about getting jostled by its wake so I turned us into it until the waters calmed again.
We paddled about a mile and a half south, into a moderate headwind and keeping a respectable distance from the shore. There was a nice spot among the boulders just south of the dam to land. We ate lunch there and then tried exploring the cliffs above the shore, but the hillside was a little steep for the kids. We relaunched the canoe and headed back to the boat ramp, and I spotted some writings on the cliffs near where we’d landed. I took a few photos from the water and was able to make out some initials written/carved on the cliffs. A closer inspection will be required in the future. 🙂 We had a slight tailwind on the return trip and made much better time.
I struggled again to get the canoe secured to the Jeep once we got back to the boat ramp. Michael’s small amount of help was actually immensely useful, though. Back on the highway I was driving slowly and checking out some spots I’d noticed from the canoe while we were paralleling the shore. In an alcove that I’m positive I’d looked at from the road before, I spotted a sign that I hadn’t noticed. I pulled over and walked along the road and immediately saw some pictographs that I wasn’t able to see from the Jeep. I scrambled up into the alcove and spent about 15 minutes there. Besides the rock art, I saw a lot of charcoal buried in layers of dirt, animal bones, flakes of chert, swallow nests, and plant fossils in the ceiling. It was a remarkable place, and all the more surprising because I’d driven past it more than a dozen times without taking notice.