Desert classic

It's written in our bones to always want what we can't have, and for area boaters, the “River of Sorrows” takes on new meaning. Although the Dolores River flows within an hour of home, for the past six years it has been untouchable to the paddle – save one short weekend in 2016. The coveted and curious Dolores – which flows south, before taking a u-turn north – snakes approximately 241 miles through Southwest Colorado and Utah, through high-alpine and ponderosa forests, red rock canyons and finally desert before joining the Colorado River. This year was one of the lucky ones when McPhee Reservoir spilled continuously starting April 1. Boaters have had nearly two months to tread the rare landscapes and take on the feared Snaggletooth Rapid before the faucet is turned off once again. For the latest on flow forecasts, visit the Dolores Water Conservatory District website

The stunning mix of deciduous, coniferous and red rock.
A patriotic boatman charges past a rock in the crux move of Snaggletooth Rapid.
Docking the rigs on some prime beachfront property.
Telling tales around the fire – a vital component to any successful river trip.
Chelsea Reinsch basks as the bow flower while husband, Tim, drives.
Rigging to flip on a blustery start to Day 2.
The new Dolores River guidebook gives some much-appreciated beta on the stretch from Bradfield to Slickrock.