Kayaking with a Hike to the River

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Saturday started out a bit earlier than I had anticipated, as Aspen was gearing up for the day around 5AM. I desperately wanted at least another hour of sleep before having to tend to her morning routine. With Aspen fed and snuggled back into bed with Stella, I dove into my next read, “John Muir the Ultimate Collection.” I am fascinated by his absolute enthusiasm of the outdoors and his ability to describe his surroundings in such detail as though were there with him in the Yosemite Valley or high a top a mountain in the Sierra Nevada’s.

One everyone was ready for the day, we took Aspen swimming and then loaded up “The Big Mango” to launch at Shadow Mountain Lake. Having not kayaked since our trip to Grand Teton National Park and Red Fish Lake in Stanley, ID we were eager to get back on the water since the weather had not be conduce for kayaking the previous two weekends.

The paddling on the eastern end of the lake required a bit more attention as the wind was blowing directly across the open waters, but with a zig and zag maneuver, we managed to make it to the northern shoreline. After going back to through the channel, we headed out onto Shadow Mountain Lake. Paddling south along the eastern shoreline, we made our way to the islands separating the southern most reaches of the lake from the north.

Paddling in and out of a few of the islands, we ventured on towards the mouth of the Colorado River. It is here where you will find an abundance of waterfowl, Canada Goose, Mallards and the majestic American White Pelican. The lake is often very shallow in this area. Paddling back to the north end of the lake, we were treated to an Osprey attempting to catch a fish, with two unsuccessful attempts. Back on shore we paddled just shy of 10.5 miles in just over 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Sunday morning we were able to get a bit more pillow time with Aspen, who decided to start her day at 6AM instead. This would be a big day for Aspen, as we were going to hike the Colorado River Trail and give her a chance to swim in the Colorado River. We started out shortly after breakfast to beat the heat as there is some prolonged exposure to the sun along the trail as you near the river.

Arriving at the trail head, Aspen was eager to get going! Shortly into our hike, I noticed the trail had become washed out from the heavy rains over the past month. And Stella’s feet suddenly got caught by the trail gnomes. Fortunately, she caught herself on the way down and only had a scrapped her knee on an exposed rock. Like a trooper, she shrugged it off and we carried on down the trail. Wandering by the ponds, with both wondered why we had yet to see a moose in all our travels to the river, as this is prime real estate for their food.

The trail used to be completely forested, but that is no longer the case. The county had done some clearing of the beetle killed trees, which dramatically changed the appearance of the area. But we are so thankful that this much needed service was done because of the impact it has upon the fire-prone area.

Arriving at the river, Aspen enjoyed herself swimming against the current while we had a long rope attached to her harness. The Colorado River Trail is an out and back trek, but it does offer some other side treks. In total we hiked just over 4.5 miles with an elevation gain of 158 feet. Another great weekend in the books.

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