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Old 08-03-2014   #11
tango's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 690
Paddling at night can be awesome or terrible, much like whitewater in general. I used to work for a rafting outfitter on the Ark who runs commercial moonlight trips down Browns Canyon.

A couple times last year I put on Bailey at dusk with some buddies. Another time I finished Gore at 9:30. Rolling into Tunnel and Kirschbaum in the dark made me feel alive in a unique way. Running challenging whitewater after dark is rad. Some might criticize my judgement, but much like paddling solo I know the added risk and accept it.

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Old 08-03-2014   #12
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 808
Valid point Yeti. My first response was a bit glib, if accurate. We have a pretty good idea of the bail out options on our local creeks. For instance, vallecito is in a gorge, but you can climb out pretty easily in a handful if places ( without a boat). You can walk out of Lime at adrenaline and get out of the final gorge downstream pretty quickly. Bakers has much more limited options. I will admit that putting on bakers at 7:45 is a little nerve racking, but by that point, you are pretty much committed.

As I said, like many things, like paddling solo, putting on late just decreases your margin for error. I do think that knowing the run well makes a huge difference. Paddling an unfamiliar run in a hurry can lead to really bad decisions and dangerous situations. You just have to decide for yourself whether you can accept the smaller margin for error. Then once you decide to do it, paddle hard and don't worry about the setting sun.

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