The One River Expedition will connect the wild headwaters of the Upper Green River in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming to the Gulf of California in Sonora, Mexico, traveling 1700 miles through the beloved and exploited Colorado River system by boat. In Fall 2018, Mike and Jenny Fiebig and partners will explore what wild rivers mean to people encountered along the way through in-depth interviews, contributing another chapter to the stories and lore surrounding the Colorado River system. Throughout the journey, the team will talk with ranchers, anglers, conservationists, students, biologists, paddlers, farmers, historians, raft guides, swimmers, house-boaters, water managers, dam operators, tourists, suburban families and land management agency personnel while traveling through WY, CO, UT, AZ and MX by boat.
Connecting people to wild rivers, public lands and one another through story.
Paddling the full Colorado River System from source to sea has been a dream for nearly 20 years. We met while teaching outdoor education on the Colorado Plateau, and both of us have worked, played, celebrated and sought solace in this landscape together and as individuals. When we were given the opportunity to take sabbaticals from our respective careers in Fall 2018, we jumped at the opportunity to make this dream a reality.
Over the course of 5 months we will paddle and row nearly 1700 miles, from the heart of the Wind River Range of Wyoming in August 2018 to the waves of the Gulf of California in Sonora, Mexico in December 2018. After hiking to the Green River's source near the Mammoth Glacier above Green River Lakes in the Winds, we plan to paddle the first 160 miles in an expedition canoe due to the low water that we expect to find in the Upper Green River in August. After paddling through Fontenelle Reservoir and portaging around the dam at its foot, we will spend the next 1400 miles rowing a custom-designed HDPE and aluminum dory down the river and across the 10 remaining reservoirs, with friends and family helping with driving the boat around each dam. At Morelos Dam - the last in the system - we will switch from the dory to packrafts and foot in order to navigate U.S.-Mexico border crossing, tbe complex canal system, dry riverbed and cane thickets of the Colorado River Delta during the last 90 miles of the trip. In December of 2018, we will reach the Gulf of California.
We are committed to accomplishing this trip under human power, including rowing all 350 miles of reservoir in the system. We believe that moving at human pace and under our own power will not only help us to experience the many faces of the watershed and to tell the story of the river system more fully, but this method also has an elegance to it. Other than the periodic trip to the grocery store on layover days or when getting shuttled around one of the 11 dams that block the river, we will descend the river in one contiguous trip. We've paddled most of the whitewater sections before - many multiple times - but we have never linked them all together. Again, this will be critical to the perspective from which we approach both the river and the interviews that we collect along the way.
Though most of the impetus behind this trip is the fulfillment of personal dreams, we are incredibly excited about the creative endeavor of cataloguing at least 20 stories from people that we encounter along the way. Our hope is that these stories will help to illuminate the complex ways that people connect and value the Green and Colorado rivers in a time when both our social fabric and the natural world are experiencing immense changes. Thank you for following and supporting us!
WHERE MANY RIVERS MEET
All the water below me came from above.
All the clouds living in the mountains
gave it to the rivers,
who gave it to the sea, which was their dying.
And so I float on cloud become water,
central sea surrounded by white mountains,
the water salt, once fresh,
cloud fall and stream rush, tree roots and tide bank,
leading to the rivers' mouths
and the mouths of the rivers sing into the sea,
the stories buried in the mountains
give out into the sea
and the sea remembers
and sings back,
where nothing is forgotten.