San Juan River - Sand Island to Clay Hills - 06/19

This had to be one of my easiest multi-person San Juan trips ever. Awesome water level and a small group of experienced, competent, and hard working boaters. No drama, just good stuff. About the only downsides were small eddies, 2-3 days of blustery winds, mud from receding water, and summertime campsite etiquette on the Juan.

The Clay Hills shuttle was an unanswered question with Jim Hardin retiring, but his successor Valerie Lee (435-669-3592 worked without a hitch. I had forgotten how scenic much of the drive back to Bluff is, and how long it takes, especially in the middle seat of a packed pickup. $190 per single vehicle.

One observation made this trip was just how overgrown the banks have become with tammies/cane/phragmites. We attempted a couple of hikes/camps that worked in the past and this year we just could not ovecome the vegetation. This was to visit the upper Butler Panel and Comb Wash camp. Reminded me of the worst of the Labyrith/Stillwater and Rio Grande sections. Just a 20 yard barricade between the river and open cliffside.

Sand Island is the easiest option for camping the night before launch but also the noisest. Between the trucks crossing the 191 bridge and our close-by neighbors talking to after midnight, it was not a trip highlight. Our river campsites were Big Stick, Pontiac Wash, Honaker, and False Johns. Honaker was nearly as crowded as Sand Island although the guitar player thankfully quit before midnight. Hikes/stops were Butler Panel, River House Ruin, Lime Ridge behind Big Stick, Stairmaster, Honaker, and Slickhorn. Assigned campsite Slickhorn D was pretty much unusable so we motored out an evening early. Initially a bit bummed at that, but worked fine in retrospect. This was a memorable one for how easy it was with the flow.

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