At the end of August several of us had the privilege of guiding a trip on the Green River through Desolation & Gray Canyon. This was an exploratory trip with Alpha Omega Institute, “a worldwide outreach dedicated to strengthening Christians and reaching unbelievers by exposing the fallacies of evolutionary worldviews and defending the accuracy of the Bible.” It was a special trip for me because AOI is directed by my parents, Dave & Mary Jo Nutting, who recruited several families, couples, and individuals to join us. Combined with our guides, it was a completely full trip of 30 people.
We met the group at AOI’s office in Grand Junction, Colorado, and began the long trip to the put-in that is 2-3 hours southwest of Vernal, Utah. A long, rough, and sometimes washed-out gravel road winds its way through oil fields before descending to the put-in at Sand Wash, where we camped Sunday night. Early Monday morning we rose and began loading hundreds of pounds of gear and food into our boats for the 5-day trip down the river.
The trip begins with 26 miles of flat water. That’s a long way to row (yes, we did that this Spring), so on this trip we brought a motor. With all 5 rafts tied together into a gigantic “barge” we made good time down the river, getting out frequently to pull the boats over the spots that were too shallow for the motor. The beauty increases every mile as you travel down into the canyon, the red-rock sandstone walls towering above. Along the way we watched wild horses grazing on the bank, stopped to look at fossils, and took a few opportunities to jump in and cool off. There are only two rapids the first day, and it felt really good to “un-barge” and row the last one right above our beautiful campsite.
Each evening we enjoyed a delicious supper before gathering for a time of practical Creation teaching led by Dave & Mary Jo. Then we turned in for the night, some preferring to sleep in a tent that would hopefully keep the creepy-crawlies out; others sleeping on the beautiful sandy beaches under the stars. Each morning there was time to dig deeper into God’s word with AOI’s study on Genesis, followed by a hearty breakfast.
From this point the river becomes much more exciting, averaging a rapid every mile. There’s still plenty of flat water in between to search for Creation evidences, have some epic water wars, and look for petraglyphs. We inflated several “duckies” and let the guests enjoy paddling down the river.
Each day as we made our way down the river, we enjoyed building friendships and sharing life together. By the second night we were at the deepest part of the canyon, which measured from the surrounding high plateaus, is as deep as the Grand Canyon. With over 50 class 2-3 rapids, there is plenty of adventure. In a raft you get splashed a bit and have to maneuver around some obstacles, but in duckies you get soaked. Everyone did very well in the duckies, and we only had a few unintentional swims. By the third night we had just left Desolation Canyon and were ready to enter Gray Canyon.
We’d often pull all the boats together in an eddy for impromptu “mini-lectures” where we’d look at some geological feature that is an evidence of Noah’s worldwide flood. After two more days paddling through rapids, exploring side canyons, and the largest ducky-flipping wars I’ve ever seen, we reached the take-out near the town of Green River, Utah. From there we made our way back to Grand Junction, this time on paved roads the whole way. It was sad to say goodbye to all of our new friends, but what a great adventure!
To read more about this trip, check out the Discover Creation Blog:
Surveying Destruction & Beauty – While On a Discover Creation Raft Trip
Desolation Canyon: Remote, but Full of History
Want to come next year? Find information here: Desolation & Gray Canyon