Canoe advice> Minnesota II on the Green River Utah?

Hi, we are planning a 10 day, 120 mile, trip down the Green in Utah to Spanish Bottoms in May.

a few years ago I did 8 days down from Mineral Bottoms in a Dagger Venture, which was fine for the purpose (September trip).

I just got a Wenonah Minnesota 2, and am wondering how suitable it would be for the May trip. I paddled one in the Boundary Waters and loved it… I don’t remember any rocks in the Green, but with zero rocker, and much higher flows, I was hoping to hear from any who have done the trip in this boat. We are experienced paddlers and trippers…

I know it is pretty squirrelly at the confluence with the Colorado, even at the low Sept. flows…

thanks for any advice or suggestions!

Nearly any decent canoe will handle the Green just fine. It is open with few obstructions. I have done it in a Wenonah Odyssey which is 18 1/2 feet with zero rocker.

The wind can come up in the afternoon and the canyon walls create a venturi effect. It can get pretty rough from wind driven waves. Otherwise is it mostly like a lake with some current.

Thanks for the reply! I had not heard of the odyssey, so i looked it up. looks like a great boat… It is said to have a SLIGHT rocker, but no specs given on that.

When we launched at Mineral Bottom last time we pulled over after a mile or so for lunch. While we were eating, a wind started roaring from around a bend downriver, blew up a dust storm, and came upriver pushing 2-1/2 ft waves. had one similar incident while we were on the river, but fortunately we were close to the left bank to hunker down.

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The Odyssey and MN II are essentially the same boat albeit the O is deeper with a flared bowl. The MN II should be maneuverable if heeled over a bit ( paying attention to the toilet of course). We have been on the Green several times with our Odyssey and we can heel it quite far over almost to the rail though and it makes a u turn ,albeit with a big radius.

Maneuverable enough to hit those non eddies at the sandbars… If you wait for an eddy at the bottom of the bar you get a lot of muck to step into… Usually firmer at the beginning of the bar,

Our Odyssey pretty much goes where there are bigger waves. We have paddled 200 miles on Lake Superior with it.

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Older Wenonah catalogs call the Minn2 “ideal for lakes and mild rivers” so I think it depends on your river and your expectations for using a lake boat on a river. I paddle solo canoes on rivers and my Wenonah Advantage is perfect right now when my local river is flowing around 2500 cfs (similar to the Green right now). In the Spring with flows in the 8000+ cfs range I would not consider using my Advantage since it gets pushed around in current enough to be dangerous at those flow rates; overall I’ll use canoes with some rocker at flow rates above around 5000 cfs on my river and even at 4000-5000 cfs there is definitely a penalty in handling and “feel” for using a zero rocker boat but I paddle upstream so I value the efficiency. I would not assume that your Minn2 would handle the same as an Odyssey; the Odyssey has 1.5 inches of rocker which is a lot compared to zero; my Magic had less rocker than an Odyssey yet was much more suitable for rivers than my Advantage and even still I would take kneeling boats with more rocker at high flow rates. I’d be curious to know how much current and flow you expect on your trip.

Just my two cents

the Green is way more lake like than river like. Its a trip that every canoer should take. Even at spring flows which are typically much more ( the river depends on snowpack melt) you can get into slot canyons that are at most campsites. ( there are no sandbars then or very low) . The OP is going in Sept when you have big fifty foot wide and 200 feet long sandbars. Bring your bocce set. Green River bocce is awesome.
Remember that wind is the chief problem… It often can kick up and we did watch from the Doll House as a tent blew into the river and down to Cataract Canyon. Without its occupant… They had not deadmanned the tent.

You can heel the MN to aid in turning if necessary… There is rocker and then there is side rocker. There were several versions of the Odyssey… I don’t think mine is with the 1.5 inch of rocker though it handles class 2 runs pretty well as long as we are just running and setting a line rather than eddying out in technical tight spaces.

The Green is not as quick as the Yukon ( Odyssey went there too). Yukon runs a good 8 mph. Green maybe three to 4. 500 mile Yukon trips take about a week. A good day on the Green is about 20 miles.

A friend who is going said he has run it in the Spring as low as 15,000 and as high as 30,000, so in that range… I agree, 1.5" is a lot of rocker compared to zero.

I have a Wenonah Jensen which has zero rocker, and have a blast paddling it thru swamps, and tight technical spring runs with some current, and little gradient. I have NOT tried to catch an eddy in it in a high flow situation, which might be required to stop at a camp spot…

The MN II arrived tonight on a 45 ft trailer, that left the North Country with 49 boats!

Is there a road now into Spanish Bottom? It’s been a long time since I was there.

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I believe there IS a 4WD trail into the Doll House above Spanish Bottom. Shuttle is run by a jet boat that takes you up the Colorado almost to Moab…

Spring is way different than Sept. Has anyone else actually run it both times of the year? High flow is NOT the Green in Sept. What is the same is the potential for snow…

Sea kayaks are also used on the Green. Tex’s Riverways rents both those and canoes. The groover is unfortunately close for kayakers.

There may be a 4 wd trail to Doll House but the trail from the river to Doll House is a scary scramble on foot!

Ugh, I’m glad i saw the river when it was not so easily paddled.

I’ve seen folks on the BWCA forum argue against using an Advantage even for trips in the BWCA just because it’s more vulnerable to unpredictable weather, and your Venture 17 comparison boat is much more river-capable than a Minn2. But it sounds like the Green is a tame river and you know what you’re getting into. I suggest that you just float; if you paddle at all your Minn2 will cover 120 miles downstream in 2 or 3 days. :wink:

I went in Sept before, from Mineral Bottom to Spanish Bottom.
We hiked into the Doll House from Spanish Bottoms…

The next trip is in May, 2023, with Spring flows… doing 120 miles this time.

The Venture 17 IS way more river capable, but the MN II could carry more, and we will need a lot of water for 10 people. I can’t wrap my head around a 20,000 cfs flow, even with little gradient, and the need to swing around and get over to a camping site. Also, i have some concern about the confluence with the Colorado, which may also be high… The Venture would be the conservative choice for those reasons… I think I will check with the various outfitters there to see if they have an opinion.

The Confluence isn’t scary. It was not for us at spring levels though we wanted to camp river right there Our September trip had revealed a nice big campsite . In the spring it was not there… There was a line of tamarisks that you would have to go through but there seemed not to be any opening in back of them that would make decent camping.

There weren’t any boils or whirlpools. The river was high enough that we were conservative… Spanish bottom has a campsite on river right too but its on an outside curve and would have been very hard to hit with water being forced to the outside and also scramble up the cliff. The sandbar river left was unknown and so we opted to camp above the constriction between the Confluence and Spanish Bottom… Very nice views ( river left). The constriction had some medium sized waves. At spring levels we were concerned about getting too close to Cataract Canyon in case of an oopsie.

We used Tex’s Riverways . Very good seamen and considerate of their jet boat wake. There is another outfitter who could care us and swamped us when we were loading up because they were close to shore at speed.

I think the thing to do is take both boats out on shakedown cruises. Make sure you fully load the boats similar to what you would do for a ten day trip. Given that the OP is doing the trip in May, I would paddle some rivers with a good swift current. See what you are comfortable doing in each boat, I would want to be able to ferry and complete an eddy turn.

This past June I paddled a pakayak from green river to mineral bottom. I was comfortable not wearing a spray skirt (it was cooler to drape a wet towel over the cockpit). I did have to take some dry lines to keep water out of the boat in a few places. I will say with the boat being fully loaded it took me a few bends to settle in and really feel at ease. In general the trip slows down as you progress. The current from green river UT was over 5mph when we put on and by the time we reached mineral bottom it was closer to 3.3 mph. I would monitor speed and the distance with my gps. The gps was very handy in conjunction with the book to know your location and distance to approaching campsites. Finding a campsite can be competitive.

My personal strategy was to paddle to shade where a cliff overhangs the river. I would wait in the boat for others to catch up. Then paddle hard to the next patch of shade under a cliff. Just floating down the river I felt like I was baking in an oven. Hi temps ranged from 105-115 degrees on my trip. I guess I’m not all that heat tolerant. Scenery was great. I will look for a different time of year to go back.

So the river moves along in May or June. The river had peaked for the year at 16,000 cfs just a few days previous to my arrival. I probably would have been okay with that (I put in at 11,000 cfs on june 6th.) Somewhere around 20,000 cfs I’d probably opt for one of my skirted ww kayaks. I personally would just be more comfortable with the way it handles in current. There is some class II eddy shear at the start of the trip at the far ends of some tamarisk islands followed by a small wave train or two (11,000cfs). That was the “biggest stuff” I encountered.

I can’t say it was a comfortable trip- very hot in June, and both tamarisk and cottonwood were blooming, so when there was shade in the campsites, I was allergic to it. As far as paddling into an afternoon headwind- you’ll wish you had taken a low profile sea kayak. One friend solo canoed and others rafted and all made out fine, we all just cussed and dug in regardless of what we were paddling. I also saw folks on overloaded sit on tops and boyscouts in tandem canoes.

Do bring plenty of water. If I was going back that time of year, I’d go with at least a gallon and a half of water a day per person. I’d rig up an umbrella stand on the boat for when it is not windy. If you got a group and room to lug extras (raft) then I would consider bringing a shade awning for the campsite and a real camp chair.

thanks for the reply… I have received several opinions that the MN II would be fine to take, the most persuasive being the people at Tex’s Riverways who said they shuttle several of those every year and no problems reported…

My first multi-day trip out west was the Gates of Lodore down to Dinosaur in July, 2003. I coined the term “Utah protocols” which meant steer for any shade available… Did Mineral to Spanish Bottoms in 2013, wondering how thick the tamarisk has gotten since then.

I like the umbrella idea, might try to rig something up…

We did see some folks who had rigged up umbrellas for their canoes. We did not but of course wore desert hats. We found our best “extra” was our beach umbrella that could adjust angle and screwed into the sand… Shade on some sites is hard to find so bring your own… We never used our tarp.

I expect the MN2 would be fine, having owned one for a few years and having run the Green River once.

That said, if I were to do it again, I think I’d take the largest canoe I could find - maybe a Clipper Mackenzie, Old Town Tripper XL, or even a Clipper Mariner!

No portages means fresh food, coolers with ice, steel groovers, and you can bring all the comforts.

My recollection of the trip was that it was relatively uneventful paddling followed by amazing campsites and side-hikes. Try not to go too fast!

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thanks for the reply. what time of year did you go? the MN 2 would be my biggest canoe…

The only trouble with an OT XL is loading it onto the jet boat You may be asked to do it yourself… And the bigger the boat the more you have to scrub. Canoes have to be pretty clean before moving them onto the shuttle.

In our GR trips we have pretty much seen all sorts of boats but the one that perplexed me is the loose Prospector that we corralled and tied to tamarisks… No idea where the owners were… It was empty and floating down the river.