Flashback Friday – Early River Runners and Hatch Family History

Flashback Friday – Early River Runners and Hatch Family History



Flashback Friday this week continues with the interview between Elizabeth Sowards and Ted Hatch from 1984, this time talking about early river runners and more Hatch family history. He mentions Barry Goldwater’s book Delightful Journey: Down the Green and Colorado Rivers and explains that some early explorers started their rafting journey on the Green River in Wyoming and traveled all the way to the Gulf of California.


Ted: You can see these old Model A Ford wheels. (Laughs) Those were new Model A Ford wheels then. This was named Lota Ve after …. Alt Hatch had named his daughter Lota. I don’t know if you remember Alt. He was manager, eventually, of the Penny’s Store in Boulder.

E. Sowards: He was your dad’s brother.

Ted: Yes.

E. Sowards: Was that his whole name, Alt? Or was that a nickname?

Ted: Alton was his name.

E. Sowards: Alton.

Ted: You knew “Bay” Hatch. He didn’t run the river much. He used to live here. He died. He was born and raised in Vernal. He died quite young. He didn’t run much, but the Swains are double-cousins due to the Hatches have married Swains. Two brothers married two sisters. So anyway, Frank Swain and those guys were all related closely to us. I had three uncles on the trip and my dad.

These are early pictures up on the Middle Fork. This is a history of that area. The guy that wrote that used to work for us. He ran boats for us, Cort Conley.

I got this this year, and I thought it was really neat. Goldwater sent me this book that he wrote on the Grand Canyon when he went through. He went with Norm Nevills (of Mexican Hat, Utah) who was a friend of my dad’s, and he wrote and thanked me and said he knew our family and had great respect for my dad, which I really appreciated.

E. Sowards: Oh, that was great!

Ted: You know, he didn’t have to do that. He just did.

But when they ran Grand Canyon, they started way at the top. On the Nevills Expedition they started at Green River, Wyoming. They went all the way through Flaming Gorge through what we used to run too. Flaming Gorge, Brown’s Park, LaDore, Split Mountain, Grey, Desolation, Stillwater and Labyrinth Canyon, Cataract Canyon, and now of course, there is a dam at Page. In those days they had the Glen Canyon. Then they ran Marble Canyon and Grand Canyon and you were at Lake Mead.


The earlier explorers went clear on down, some of them. Powell didn’t go all the way, but some of his men went on down to the Gulf … all the way through!

Hopefully guests and guides alike have enjoyed these Flashback Friday’s about the historical exploration of the area. Look for more in upcoming blogs about rafting Colorado River and preparing for your next Grand Canyon whitewater adventure. See you next week!


Book your 2024 or 2025 river trip today to get a peek at this still rugged wilderness and play your own part in Hatch history!

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