“The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us. Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.”
― John Muir
I recently went on a SUP camping 🏕 adventure with Sunset Stand Up Paddle and Maine Standup Paddling. We paddled up the Colorado river in Black Canyon to Arizona Hot Springs, Hoover Dam, and Boy Scout Canyon. We set up base camp at the Arizona Hot Springs. This is a great place to camp because you have access to the cool waters of the Colorado River (great for purifying and drinking), hot springs (morning or evening soak), hiking, & cliff jumping. Our guides provided our morning coffee and evening happy hour! We had to bring all our camping gear, and food on our SUPs. You could bring your own sup or rent one from Erin at Sunset Stand Up Paddle.
Arizona Hot Springs
I purchased an inflatable SUP about 4 yrs. ago. It's a 12'6"x29 JP Australia. I've used it a few times, and tested it out prior to our trip. We all met at Willow Beach Marina in Arizona. Pumped up our boards and loaded our gear. Lucky for me before we started up river Sarah heard a hissing sound! Ugh, my inflatable had a small leak! Erin and Matt quickly patched it up and we waited about 20 min. We pumped it up to only about 5psi. I had a piece of duct tape so I put that over the patch and off we paddled! We meandered up river, stopping for lunch, jumping in the 53 degree water, and enjoying the river and canyons. As we got closer to the dam or more up river you could feel the current getting stronger. The hardest part was paddling into shore at Arizona Hot Springs. There was a fast current coming down the river that you had to maneuver through.
Setting up camp wasn't too difficult. We stayed close to the river which was an entertaining and fun place to be. We were able to see paddlers coming in and out throughout the morning and evening. Some campers brought 1-2 person tents, but I decided I was just going to sleep on my inflatable. We found a nice little spot to make our campsite. I brought LUCI lights and hung them up.
Did someone say Happy Hour?!
Once we got our campsites ready we gathered around the paddle table for appetizers and drinks. This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip! Our first night we celebrated Cinco de Mayo-margaritas, chips and salsa, and Matt's famous bean dip! I bought a six pack of beer in Boulder City, NV before we left. I was cooling it in the river while we set up camp. Well remember the strong current we had to cross to get to shore-it got stronger as the evening progressed! When I went to retrieve my beer, it was gone! The river taketh away! Later that evening we went up to the soak in the hot springs. They are only about a 5 min walk from our campsite. What a wonderful way to spend the evening under the stars and the light of the moon.
Hoover Dam and Sauna Cave
Camping and sleeping they don't really go together-at least for me! So I was up early and headed back to the hot springs before everyone else woke up! What a fantastic way to start your morning! Next coffee! Matt is the camp coffee barista aficionado! He makes a mean cup of joe with his aeropress & Kicking Horse Coffee! ☕️❤️ Morning breakfast consisted of a bar, oatmeal, or a freeze dried packet of biscuits and gravy or breakfast skillet. I stuck with oatmeal and dried fruit. But several of the campers enjoyed their freeze dried foods. Today we were headed to the Hoover Dam! It was a 4 mile up river paddle. Today was a lot hotter than the first day. I think it was around 95 degrees. Matt made sure we had plenty of purified water! We all brought hydration and lunch with us. I do a lot of ocean and bay paddling,but not too much river paddling. Heading up to the dam the current get's a lot stronger, and there were more eddies (swirling reverse current) to play in. We also stopped and played in the waterfalls, and learned how to ferry SUP across river current. This was my first time to the Hoover Dam. It is big, but not the biggest according to Hoover Dam history! It is still really amazing. We stopped at Sauna Cave on the way back down river. It was dark and steamy! Going back down river was a blast. The current was moving at a nice pace. There was never any white water, maybe a little boat wake to surf once in awhile. Overall the boat traffic was not too bad.
We got back before dark and time for happy hour or now what had become known as dinner! We had a campers charcuterie spread and drinks. We built a fire and enjoyed the canyon sites and sounds!
Boyscout Canyon & Cliff Jumping
Another restless night of sleeping! Blame it on the field mice and the snoring! Today we were free to explore on our own. Soft schedule later for yoga, hike, & cliff jumping! A small group of us set out for Boy Scott Canyon (BSC). We packed water and a snack. BSC is located about 2 miles up river right of Arizona Hot Springs. This is a really cool place to hike, but not easy! You have to climb up ropes hanging down from the sides of the canyon to continue up to the springs. We made it to the third one and it was super steep. Only one of us was brave enough to make it up. Our crew was so encouraging of each other it was really such a great experience. Once we got back down, we headed back to our campsite to chill! Erin, Matt and Sarah went for a hike and did some cliff jumping. The rest of us were pretty wiped from our earlier adventure! Happy hour/dinner was quesadillas, salsa, & avocado. Matt cooked a little red pepper and onion to put in the quesadilla. They were delicious! We built a fire and attempted to make jiffy pop!
We are headed home today! Our hearts and souls are filled with love for the river, the canyons, the beauty, and each other. This really was a cool trip. I can't wait to make the journey again! You don't have to be an expert paddler to do this trip! You just have to have the desire to go and explore! ADVENTURE IS WAITING FOR YOU!
Feel free to email me or message me any questions about this trip!
Peace, Love, & Hoppiness