The Mighty Colorado River – Emerald Cove, AZ

After a fun night out on the town and exploring Las Vegas, we woke up to a new task, to find Emerald Cove on the mighty Colorado River. On the drive there, it took us right by the Hoover Dam, which if you haven’t been, it is quite awe-inspiring! The road opens up and paints beautiful high desert scenes. In the end, we found Emerald Cove…but oh boy was the trip everything but expected! — Scroll to the bottom to see the amazing emerald color water.

Without knowing exactly where Emerald Cove is located, we set out…looking through blogs and other like sources to find the location. We found a local marina that rents kayaks, and we hit the river. After what seemed to be a half-hour, my cousin Justin upset his kayak and ended up flipping it. The contents of his kayak were floating around, and Justin was halfway submerged in the crispy, cold 55 degree waters of the Colorado River – so cold because they are released from the bottom of the Hoover Dam. At this point we were about an hour paddle from the end if you were going at a leisure/moderate pace.

Justin in the river 🙂

A couple girls that were going down the river came over to help, as did a motor boat that was strolling through the steep canyon walled river section. In the meantime, John and I pulled our boats over to the shore and sat them on a large rock. Somehow, Johns boat became dislodged and went into the middle of the river. The motorboat picked that boat up as well and John and I were both now on the rock with one kayak. This whole situation had us cracking up, this was our first outdoor adventure with my cousin…and to present still the only one!

Willow Beach Gauging Station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986

The motorboat, with my cousin Justin on it took off down river and passed us on the rock. We were waiving and yelling…but the boat captain had other ideas and Justin was busy helping them tie their fishing line. We were chuckling, thinking of all the times our trips didn’t go quite as we planned. The light-hearted presence started to fade, and we started thinking seriously about what our next steps should be. We sat without contact for about 30 minutes, not knowing where Justin may be. Finally, another boat came by and asked if we were okay, we discussed the situation and then they took John up river to see if he could find Justin…taking with him our last remaining kayak. From this point, about an hour passes and I am alone with some locals (big horn sheep) and a small amount of water in the bottle. It was peaceful, but uneasy at the same time as I was on an exposed rock in the sun…without a kayak, food, and limited water.

The big horn sheep – shaky Iphone picture

Finally, as there was only an hour until our boats were due in before they close…I see two dots on the horizon as the sun hits the water in a dark, orange glow. It was Justin and John, waving their paddles and making really good time back. We recovered on the rock, drank the rest of the water, and took off for the docks.

Although I was excited to see that Justin was okay, he was still in bad shape, he was very sunburnt and fatigued from the three miles he paddled from where he finally jumped off the motor boat that took him away. We are still unsure why they did this, but we think there was some alternative ideas that this couple may have had in mind. A tense, and scary situation came to a halt when Justin spoke up loudly, said stop, and got off their boat. We got back in time, told the owners about our experience and traded stories and laughed as we drove back towards Las Vegas.

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Still one of my all-time favorite spots to kayak 🚣🏼‍♀️ • Interesting story to follow: My cousin Justin, friend John and I were all on this excursion out West on the Colorado river. We were jamming out to some good tunes, catching some sun and paddling upstream. About 30 minutes into the trip, my cousin flipped his kayak and fell into the river…a cool 55 degrees. John and I couldn’t stop laughing and finally were able to attempt at helping him recover. A couple pulled up along in their pontoon boat and picked up the kayak and Justin and also John’s kayak which was dislodged in the whole mess. We were relieved that Justin was safe, or so we thought. They asked him if he could help tie their fishing hooks and took off up river, Justin didn’t realize he had past where we were waiting on the rock. We sat there stranded with no kayak or other options. The couple just kept cruising along and took him three miles up the river. We had no way to contact him, so John took off after him hitching a ride from a fellow boater. About an hour or so of sitting alone on the banks of the Colorado they popped up on the horizon in their yellow kayaks. To our surprise, the couple was in a way holding him hostage and finally he just said let me out or I’ll jump. It was quite a wild ride, definitely unexpected and full of memories! • #explorer #kayak #river #arizona #adventure #story #outdoors #live #green #hike #nature

A post shared by Garret Tyler Carden (@gtcarden) on

Why is the water green?

‘Thanks to the remarkable power of science and nature working together, this beautiful spot lives up to its name with eerily striking photogenic emerald green waters on sunny days. The emerald hue doesn’t come from algae in the water as many often believe. Rather, it occurs as a result of the sun’s reflection off of the surrounding cavern’s yellow-brownish walls and the blue of the sky combining to create a stunning emerald green appearance.’ – Black Canyon Raft Adventures Amazing summation of the green water from an awesome guiding company.

We made a final stop for the day at the @Boulder Dam Brewing Co. for drinks and some grub and made our way back to Vegas for a Proper Vegas night out. After the fun was over, we took the red eye flight home and returned to the West Virginia hills.

If you are anything like me, your trips have had many twists and turns that you did not expect when planning. As long as everyone comes out in the end safe, the memories will ride with you for a lifetime.

Happy trails…

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