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The Maze - Colorado/Green Confluence, UT
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86 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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The Maze - Colorado/Green Confluence, UT 
The Maze - Colorado/Green Confluence, UT
 
Hiking avatar May 19 2016
CannondaleKid
Hiking10.90 Miles 1,978 AEG
Hiking10.90 Miles   6 Hrs   23 Mns   1.71 mph
1,978 ft AEG25 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
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trixiec
This hike would turn out to be the longest in both mileage and duration of our whole Utah trip. And while it got pretty warm, it was by far the most enjoyable of our hikes.

We set out from the trailhead near The Doll House following the trail first past Beehive Arch and eventually to the confluence overlook. As we neared the first opportunity to view the Colorado River (about 2 miles downstream from the confluence) we met a man (late 50's?) and his college-age son coming toward us. They said they were unable to get a view of the actual confluence and wondered if we knew where we could view it from. The man said all they could see was the Colorado River. When I asked if they had gone all the way to the end, he said they went as far as the rock cairns went.

Not sure what else I could offer, they continued on their way back toward The Doll House. They had boated downriver and had camped at Spanish Bottom a few days before. Yesterday they had passed our camp at Chimney Rock before dropping into Shot Canyon, eventually camping along the trail in Water Canyon.

Not willing to accept their assessment of the confluence view situation, we continued on. We reached a point where I was unwilling to drop down, we wandered around until locating a much easier alternate route and continued on. When we got to a point where the cairns simply stopped, we could only see the very beginning of the confluence.

Unwilling to believe the confluence trail wouldn't provide a viewpoint of it, I figured we simply had to use common sense to figure out where it would be. With only two options, 1. technical climbing until immediately above the confluence (which I doubted was possible) and 2. continue farther upstream above the Green River until we found a viewpoint far enough north to be able to view the confluence.

Option #2 was the no-brainer and sure enough, continuing quite some distance west of the last cairn I found a way out over the Green River far enough to view the confluence. Not quite the whole thing mind you, but at least I could see the different colors of the two rivers.

Mission accomplished we set out on our return by taking different routes at every possible opportunity on the chance of seeing something others may miss. Eventually we got back to the same spot where we had encountered the father and son, and what do we see but the son waiting for us... they were lost. He said they could not find the turn toward The Doll House so had wandered around and eventually decided for the son to locate us for help.

While they had a brand-new 'official' NPS map in-hand, it had an error which instead of showing two 3-way intersections a mile apart, it showed one 4-way intersection. And so even though earlier in the day they had passed the intersection they were searching for (they never noticed it), while attempting to locate it they did not go quite far enough. It would turn out they had given up and turned around to look for us barely a hundred yards from the turn.

So much for 'accurate' maps. We would speak with a ranger about it when we left the park and they are aware of numerous inaccuracies in the newest map, yet are not communicating this fact to the purchasers. I understand not fixing the errors and reprinting due to cost, but c'mon, at least let folks know with a simple insert documenting the errors.

But here we are, the man has an iPhone and actually has a signal so while he could call the river raft company to come and pick them up a day early, he didn't feel it would have been worthwhile to have a mapping program on the phone. After all, 'We have a new map'. To which I bit my tongue... I was about to respond 'So how did your map work out for you?' But then being a bit slow on the take-up I figured I'd be wasting my time. So I shut up and we hiked back to our Jeep together.

Since they had spent ours more than they expected (and never bothered to gather more water from the thousands of pools in the rocks along the way) they were severely short on water, so when we got to the Jeep we gave them 1-1/2 gallons of water to get them back down to the Colorado at Spanish Bottom. Nope... they hadn't given a thought to filtering water from the Colorado.

Whatever, even after dumping 10 gallons of water two days before we still had way more than we needed that we didn't give it a second thought to offering it to them.

As we were getting into the Jeep to drive back to our Chimney rock campsite the man held up two fingers and said, 'you saved our lives, twice' and thanked us once more.
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Beehive Arch
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