A Western Flow
June 15, 2017
Until this epic trip I didn't know much about Utah except there was a big Mormon community and there was some cool shit to do in Moab. I’m also not a big fly fisherman. That said I wasn’t exactly sure what was about go down during this three day float trip on the Green River with two guys I’d never met… on paddle boards… with rapids.
The lineup was myself, a rad video guy named Cavin, Rob McAbee from BOTE, Ian Provo (Bad ass mountaineer, fly fisherman and photographer), and his good buddy Shane who is an insane fly fisherman and local guide. Oh, and my girl Raphye who never really paddled before kind of got thrown into the mix last minute because we were already on a road trip when this gig came in.
The trip, like all of our trips, was unpredictable. The fishing was hard for the fly fisherman, but I, on the other hand, was killing it with my spinning gear. I know I know, that’s cheating. Fuck it, I like to catch fish, not impress them.
The landscape was insane and the company was exceptional. One of my favorite things was that Ian and Shane would pull over every thirty minutes to have a smoke and just enjoy the moment. I would hear them say cool shit like "Imagine how many things this tree has been through in it's lifetime”, or “I could totally see Indian standing on that cliff." It was nice to be around people who aren't so stressed out and in a rush that truly enjoy just “being in the moment.”
Although it was a treat going downstream in a current, there were many challenges. There was a gnarly headwind that when mixed with the currents would flip boards like they were feathers. Rob unfortunately took a couple good beatings and also broke all of his fly rods by the third day. Raphye kept getting stuck in back eddies and would be on the verge of mental collapse. I lost my fin in the first five minutes of our trip and just spun around in circles the entire time on a God Damn fourteen foot board carrying a couple hundred pounds of gear.
When the rapids were too gnarly, the fins would have to be taken out of the boards and we’d hump everything on land until it was calmer. Cavin and Shane, in rafts, would charge through the rapids without worry.
I’d like to mention that there were wild fires going on in various spots and helicopters were banging around picking up tons of water from the river to drop on them. There was a lot of shit going on.
On the third day we were all just kind of looking for the pull-out spot. We didn’t know exactly where it was or if our cars would be there. See, we paid people we’d never met before to drive our vehicles to our pull-out spot and have them waiting for us. You heard me, we trusted total strangers to not steal our only rides home or just wreck them and leave them in the desert somewhere… like ya do.
Anyway, it worked. We found the pullout spot, our trucks were there and we went and ate cheese burgers – A much welcomed meal after such an epic journey. We were all super stoked and I was especially proud of Raphye for making the trek, never complaining, and not dying.
On top of the shit I already knew about Utah (Mormons and Moab), I also now know there’s a small group of kick ass people who inspired me to live in the moment along one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country.
Running the river was not as easy as we expected. Strong headwinds in combination with a strong current caused some sketchy situations. Boards flipped frequently and there were lots of broken rods. It is a miracle that no cameras were lost on this trip. ^^^^^^^^^^^^
Behind the scenes photos by Raphye Alexius and crew sketch done by the one and only Rob McAbee.