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Old 06-26-2008   #1
Houston, Texas
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 2
Ark last year vs. this year?

Well obviously water levels are up this year in the rockies, but too bad it's bone dry as usual in Texas... My question is how big of a difference is 3200 cfs on the ark vs last year's levels of around 1200 at this time? Obiously much bigger, but how much? My brother and I drove up from Houston last year and ran all sections of the ark (besides pine creek) pretty much blind and on our own. We had a great time, but besides not knowing what was around each corner, we weren't very challenged. We were hoping levels would be higher this year, but now we don't know if we've got more than we asked for. Seeing that we're driving all the way up next tuesday, I would really appreciate some info, examples, comparisons, etc... I wouldn't be nervous if we had someone to show us the lines if they think they might be in the BV/salida area next week (that would be ideal). We're both very solid paddlers and have been paddling for over a decade, even though that means pretty sporadically being from tx. Anyway, I know some of you talk trash about 'Texans' on the rivers, but since we're driving all that distance I sure would feel better doing it with some honest info. Thanks in advance.

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Old 06-26-2008   #2
gapers's Avatar
Not a river guide, Ft. FunK
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 276
It's too much. Stay in Texas.

Devils advocate
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Old 06-26-2008   #3
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Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,448
Honest advice: At current levels it'll be a grade higher than what you saw last year and substantially more continuous. Meet folks at the putin if you want someone to show you the lines. Doesn't sound like you've got the regular Texan chip on your shoulder, but to be safe, you might say you're visiting from Oklahoma.
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Old 06-26-2008   #4
Snowhere's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 93
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 844
It will be a lot more pushy and big. Holes will be nasty and swims will be long unless you have your shit together. In some ways it is easier as nothing is bony and a lot of times you can use the current to roll up fast. The flip side is you can be fighting the current making your roll that much tougher.

Pine creek and numbers are no place to be if you are not sure of your abilities at this level. I would start in Browns and that will tell you how you are fairing. It is so dependent on the level it is hard to say. Browns at 3200 is harder then Browns at 3600. Some things wash at certain levels only to come back as the level gets higher and vice versa. You will have a easy time hooking up with other paddlers at Fisherman's Bridge for Browns too.
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Old 06-27-2008   #5
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Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 887
Doesn't sound like you've got the regular Texan chip on your shoulder, but to be safe, you might say you're visiting from Oklahoma.
Thats just awesome.....

I think Snowhere's advise is spot on, the whole canyon is a blast but big so start with something like Brown's and then move up - I doubt anything will be a disappointment.
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Old 06-27-2008   #6
Breckenridge, Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 19
Pretty significant difference at 32 - 3300 from 1200. If running a raft you may want to check out the bridge on number 1. Not sure how well a raft will fit under it at that level. Might lose some heads. Be safe!
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Old 06-27-2008   #7
Woodland Park, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 43
The Ark appears to be dropping slowly, about 3-400cfs over the past few days. By Tuesday it could be in the low 2000cfs or still at the current level of 2500 at the Numbers, making some sections harder and some easier. The lines in the Numbers don't really change all that much between 3000 and 1200 with #1 and #5 being the exceptions, both of which show multiple routes at higher flows that aren't there at lower flows. IMHO 2000 to 3000cfs is the range I consider to be the hardest levels for the Numbers, as there is considerable power combined with some serious holes to avoid (especially #4). At higher flows, things smooth out a bit, but then you're dealing with increased dangers if someone swims, since eddies are at a premium. The rescue potential increases below 2000cfs.
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Old 06-29-2008   #8
Houston, Texas
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 2
Thanks for the input (except for Gapers gay response). Looks like things will still be crankin in a couple days, so Browns would probably be a good warmup to shake off the rust and get used to the bigger water.

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