1st Decent of Miller Creek
(6) of us (Steve Ward, Jarod Johnson, Nick Wigston, Chris Menges, Willy and Blake) made the first decent of Miller Creek this evening. I've been scouting and cleaning this run all winter.
This run drains into Lemon reservoir, 15 Miles North of Durango. It drops 400-500 FPM. Todays flow was estimated to be about 60-80 CFS. Definetly the minimum.
The steep section is about 1 mile long with (2) distinct sections. Both sections are very continuous with very little eddies. The upper section is littered with falls verying in height between about 10' and 5' with pronounced drops. It starts with a slide and a small 4' falls that leads to Ruby red Falls, a triple drop: 4' into 7' into a 12' near vert slide that drops into a tight move all across about 30 horizontal feet. There are various vert. falls that lead to "5 dollar falls," which is a narrow slot falls that was too low to run today. If you run this drop I would reccomend levels high enough for the left chute to be running (right side would be a beating). The runout of the upper half is a little manky but quick moving.
The lower section is basically a large granite slide littered with falls around 4-5'. The lower section kicks off on a right bend that leads to the Sawyer Sluice. You want to be Left to avoid fast impacts into wood and round rock on the right shore. This slide is low angle about 100' long into a lateral that leads to the next granite slide and so forth.
I ran down to where Miller drops under the road and eddied out below a small falls. The river continues thru an 8' culvert under the road and ends in Pain in my ass falls. A man made jumble of rocks, that drops about 12'. This drop will clean up w/ more H20. The run then runs out into a 4-ish mess an eighth mile till it hits the reservior.
I would rate todays run at 5. The low water definetly made some of the drop's landings questionable, but everything ran smoother than it looked. Miller Creek has been increasing about 20 CFS per day., there is no gauge.
We will be hitting this run as much as possible in the next few weeks. Observing the height and size of some of the log jams makes me think that it may get too big to run this year. But it is tough to tell.
Good luck if you chose to run it. Make sure you park in Miller Creek campground and not on the main road. The locals are kind and don't hate boaters yet., Lets keep it that way. The creek bed is constantly changing so hike your boat from the bottom to check out hazards.