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River of Sorrows: The Dolores River

Slick Rock Canyon | Big Gypsum Valley to Bedrock
Friday – Saturday, June 14-15, 2019

Early Spanish explorers called it El Rio de Nuestra Señora de Dolores, or the River of Our Lady of Sorrows translated into English. Today it’s known as the Dolores River, which begins as snowmelt high up in the San Juan Mountains near Bolam Pass and empties into the Colorado River in Utah after traveling through the canyon country of western Colorado. For a long time I have wanted to float the Dolores River through Slick Rock Canyon, which begins at Big Gypsum Valley and ends at Paradox Valley, but since the water of the river is usually siphoned off at the McPhee Reservoir upstream there is typically only a very short window of time to actually do it, if there is any opportunity at all! So far I had never been able to make the timing work for a trip, however, with the high snowpack in the San Juan Mountains this year it looked like I was finally going to be able to get my chance!

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Paradox Valley Petroglyphs

Saturday, November 21, 2015

On Saturday morning Diane and I left home early to drive to Paradox Valley in search of some new rock art. Early on during our drive through Unaweep Canyon before the sun came up we saw quite a few large elk crossing the road and had to slow down to avoid hitting any. One almost ran right into the side of my Jeep as we were stopping to let a group cross the road, but luckily she stopped and turned at the last second. It was a pretty close call!

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