Box Elder = Real Deal
1. Box Elder Canyon is the real deal, with big, awesome rapids in a deep and beautiful canyon.
2. Making sure you know where the put-in, take-out and hike-out are is pretty essential for coming home on time and not leaving your boats in the dark 3/4 of the way up the wrong hike-out, spending the night in Casper and royally pissing of the wifey.
3. High water is great but a little intense in there (especially as warm up run). Scouting and portaging are sometimes limited but everything goes and there is usually a big pool at the bottom of the really* big stuff.
What a great run. What a bitch of hike out. We had a lot of water, left late and couldn't find the run until late in the afternoon. We put on probably as it was nearing its peak for the day at about 4:20 with the gauge reading 400 cfs. I'd estimate we had well over 500, maybe more like 7-800 actual cfs in the canyon.
There were hardly any dry rocks in the river bed, big wave holes and rowdy seams but everything was relatively clean and straightforward. I found this photo for reference on the Gravity Sessions site. We boofed the competely dry rock on the far left at the top to start off this drop (Electric Slide) which was well underwater at our level. There were also no dry rocks in this drop anywhere at our level. On their site they say the gauge was at 350 cfs so I'm thinking that the gauge should only be used as a rudimentary barometer because the 50 cfs difference on the gauge was significantly more in the canyon. I think Mike has already warned of this just wanted to reiterate.
Wild Turkey was huge and I went for some serious downtime in my Grande - a reported 3 count before resurfacing way downstream. Awesome and really powerful.
Seriously some really fun, big and intense rapids with serious gradient and high water made for a epic feeling day... especially when we ran out of daylight, hiked up what I'm guessing is the wrong gully since we had to rope our boats up the majority of it and then leave them there in the snow when it got too dark to see.
Highly recommended, but not to be taken lightly, especially with good flow. The beta is a little bit tricky too, so go with plenty of time.
Cub boater: "What do the spiders mean?" Old fart boater: "Trust your intuition." CRCII