Ten of us rafted the upper Green River in the Wind Rivers. We rendezvoused at the gates of Camp New Fork BSA at 8:30 a.m. on August 20th, 2020. After gear staging, we drove our four vehicles to a bend in the Green River just beyond Whiskey Camp where we left one car to shuttle. In hind sight we should have taken it closer to the campground, as it was not needed. We arrived at the Green River Lakes trail-head about 10:30 a.m., and began hiking the Continental Divide Trail. After a few hours of hiking, one in our group had a foot injury, so we only got as far as Pixley Creek; Beaver Park was our target destination, but I do not know if there was a whole lot of value added to do the additional two miles. The temperature was ideal for the wind rivers, and the mosquitoes were minimal. Some of the smoke from California created an impressionistic view of Square Top and other mountains. The views are magnificent and the glacial waters are a silty turquoise blue.
Because my group consisted of a few packrafting newbies, we went over safety and river reading before heading down the Green River to the trail-head. The downside of this river is the relative abundance of downed trees and strainers. We probably portaged about nine times on the trip down. On an early portage, my brother snagged his raft on a branch, so he learned how to patch rafts on the fly. The water level was adequate, but not generous; we had the occasional bottom scraping especially early on, but it was not bad. There is a class II/III rapid that requires a quick eddy right due to a log jam. After that portage, the rapids start. It just needs to be scouted and supported. Following the rapid, the river turns mellow. It is largely a float trip back across the upper and lower lakes to the trail-head. We got on the river about 9:30 a.m. and arrived at the trail-head at 5:30 p.m. Friday, August 21.
I reserved a group camp were we had supplies not needed for the backpacking including lasagna dutch oven, cobbler, and morning hash browns and eggs. Due to time commitments, eight of us headed home early Saturday August 22. Two stayed to raft below the lakes. We dropped a car off for them right below a stretch of rapids, but below Whiskey. They said that there is about a mile of good rapids and they plan to do that section again.
Things to do different next time: August is good, but perhaps July would be better. Since it is glacial fed, reports are that this could be rafted in September. In any case, downed trees across the river is and will be an ongoing challenge. I would also like to go the Green River below the lakes another time. Some newbies in our group did not take dry bags for their sleeping bags thinking they would not swim: bad choice.
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