Susan C. Anthony

Picacho State Park from Colorado RiverKayaking the Colorado River

March 11, 2010

Sherrie had long wanted to float down the Colorado River through spectacular Picacho State Park. She is an excellent researcher and planner so had all the details we needed. The guys agreed to provide land support so we girls could do the float.

Dennis and Don drove Sherrie and me to the Carrizo camp. We put in and spent the morning paddling downstream to the main campground, where we planned to meet the guys for lunch. I was eager for more floating, but Sherrie, battling cancer, was content to call it a day. The trip had been on her Bucket List and we'd floated the most beautiful part already. Dennis, who is not crazy about kayaking, reluctantly agreed to accompany me on downstream.

We planned to meet Don and Sherrie at Fisher's Landing, 13 miles downriver. We expected to have plenty of time to explore some of the ruins along the way, but the current didn't pick up as expected. Instead, the wind picked up, blowing upstream. We had to paddle to make progress at all. The miles crept by as the sun crept westward. We began to wonder if we'd make it to our destination before dark. If not, what were the alternatives? We didn't have camping gear and the steep reed-covered banks looked anything but inviting! I was incredibly thankful Sherrie had quit while she was ahead.

You can imagine our delight when we rounded a curve at dusk and saw the lights at Fisher's Landing. There was enough light to make our way into the bay, but there were several boat launches. Most looked private. Hmmm. What to do?

Dennis spotted a flag flying over what looked like a government building, so we headed toward it. He stepped out of his kayak onto a boat launch ramp icy-slick with algae and, standing straight up, slid down the ramp until he disappeared completely underwater! He popped up gasping for air and mad. I tried not to laugh. He can laugh about it now, in retrospect, barely.

With much difficulty, we got ourselves and the boats onshore, then discovered we were fenced in, with no way to escape. The public facility was surrounded by a 9-11 security fence!

So we would-be terrorists had to launch and load the kayaks in pitch darkness and seek another place to disembark. Our friends had no idea where we were. Don, it turned out later, was waiting for us at the end of a pier but had left briefly at just the time we paddled by.

We are so grateful for our adventurous friends! Sherrie was the brains and the motivation behind this trip, which remains a treasured memory, and planted the seeds for another trip down the Colorado River in 2013.

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Source:, ┬ęSusan C. Anthony