KSL Outdoors: Westwater

Thanks for tuning into KSL Outdoors and welcome to Eastern Utah. We are here along the banks of the Colorado River, we are headed down Westwater. Something I’ve never done, something we’ve never shown you and we are headed out with Utah State Parks.

(Brody Young, Utah State Parks and Recreation Ranger) Well welcome KSL, we are entering Westwater Canyon on the Colorado river, it’s about four miles from the border of the state of Colorado.

We’ll be running at about 5 thousand cubic feet per second, which is a great level. Nice fun level and all these rapids will be out.

National Georgraphic named this section of the Colorado river the “best short whitewater rafting trip in the west.” Westwater canyon is a paddleboat adventure through some exciting class three.

Once you come into this canyon there is no getting out of it. There’s no shores to pull off on, no beaches, once you enter you tackle the rapids until it’s all over with.

Westwater can be a very humbling and dangerous place if not treated with the proper respect and ability. That’s why the BLM, who manages this 17 miles of river requires year round, limited permits for both private and commercial use.

Some equipment that is required. You need to have a spare paddle or a spare oar for you boat.

efinitely the right type of jacket, usually a type 1,3 or 5 jacket works great.

Life jackets are really important to have on and tight and snug. A good way to test it, is if you lift the jacket and it goes over your ears, it’s way too loose.

A whistle is always handy to have especially in rapids when it is extremely loud. When you can’t communicate by words, you can use a high pitch, (whistle) it will catch someone’s attention.

Westwater can be done in one or two days. The first section is relatively flat, with stunning beautiful red canyon walls which suddenly give way to this unique black rock called Vishnu Schist.

It’s rare. It’s only exposed here and in the Grand Canyon and in Farmington Canyon up North. It’s 1.7-2.2 billion years old. As compared to the sandstone which is only a couple hundred million.

So behind us we have the Vishnu Schist which is the oldest naturally exposed rock in the world. If you look inside there throughout the Schist you’ll see little veins or intrusions of granite. So the important thing there is to not take your Schist for Granite. (laughs) 27:29 (adam) ok, you know that’s going on tv right?

Jeff and Brody have both patrolled Westwater for years. They talked of petroglyphs nearby, showed us this old miner’s cabin and took us to an legendary outlaw hideout.

So behind us here is the outlaw cave and folklore says that Butch Cassidy and other outlaws would use this cave to escape the lawmen. This is the Delores Triangle here and it’s very well protected.

There’s an old bed frame up in there. Do you believe it? Certainly yeah it’s river lore you’ve got to believe it.

Legend and rumors abound with stories about the Outlaw cave. Some believe two outlaw brothers robbed a nearby bank and hid in the cave to escape the law. Other’s believe that it’s an old mining claim. The legend, just like the river continues to evolve.

Alright that was the first taste of the rapids here on Westwater. Little D, little Delores, we’ve had a great lunch, great weather right now, big rapids coming up next, but first tonights Burt Brothers quiz question.

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