A Campfire Tale of an Impromptu River Trip
this happened back around 1939, and if anybody's not interested,
why they don't have to listen, I guess. [group laughs] In 1938
I made a trip down the San Juan River with Nevills Expeditions.
Elzada Clover was on the trip, who had been down the Grand Canyon
that same year also, and she wanted to do a trip down the San
Juan, so I was able to get on as a boatman on that trip. There
were, I think, five boats on that. One San Juan boat and three
Folboats... Anyway, after going through that trip, why, the next
year come around and nothing was happening... I wanted to go on
Glen Canyon and I told my cousin he ought to go with me. "We could
go for a hike across the country... go over to Hite and then we'll
just float from there on down to Lee's Ferry on a raft that we'll
make." And he didn't know any better, and he said "Yeah, I guess
we can do that."
We spent five days hiking from that Indian
Creek Pass there on the top of the Blue Mountain country on westward
across Elk Mountain and way down by the natural bridges. We finally
got down to Hite after about five days. We started out with a
little old pack of food; maybe ten or fifteen pounds of food.
He carried that, and I carried a .38 special pistol I could shoot
pretty good with, and I knocked off a rabbit and a squirrel with
that once in a while. We ate corn meal mush and raisins and that
kind of stuff to go along with our rabbits and squirrels. We got
over to Hite and made this raft and paddled across the Colorado
River then, where White Canyon enters the Colorado, and there
was Chaffin Ranch. That's where Art Chaffin lived. So we went
and talked to him awhile and he kinda hesitated about us going
down there on a raft. He says, "Well, if you boys'll stay here
and work for me for a week, why, I'll build you a little boat
that'll just fetch you right on down there to Lee's Ferry. Be
a lot safer than a raft, and it'll be a lot quicker too. So you
won't be losing any time getting there anyway."