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Old 05-06-2006   #1
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 33
Cataract and Westwater

Is it possible to float Cataract Canyon and Westwater... possibly Ruby Horsethief in one extended overnight trip?

Any info would be great... I am looking to set up a 5 day to week long river trip in Mountain West... could not get Salmon permits... any other ideas in CO or UTAh, New Mexico???

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Old 05-06-2006   #2
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 140
when are you looking to go? or are you flexible? has some bearing on suggestions.

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Old 05-06-2006   #3
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883
You're talking about an awful lot of river in 5-7 days. But I've learned never to say people shouldn't do things I think are impossible or impractical, so here's a little info.

Loma (the Ruby Horsethief put-in) to Moab is a nice leisurely five day float -- I've done it a couple of times. Lots of options for side canyon hikes in the upper half. But you have to have a Westwater permit for the 17-mile stretch in the middle, between the WW ranger station and Cisco. And those are obtainable in advance only from the BLM office in Moab -- no permits are issued at the ranger station itself. Below Dewey Bridge, the river parallels the road, but it's still a nice float.

The Moab (or more commonly Potash) to Hite run through Cataract Canyon is another easy five day possibility. Depending on how much wind and current you have, and how much side canyon hiking you want to do, it's very doable. And permits for Cat are pretty easy to get because the shuttle is not exactly convenient.

I think most people familiar with the vicinity would agree that to make the whole run in five days -- Loma to Hite -- would be pretty impractical. If you were serious, it would require a really fast run (most would say with a motor because of fairly predictable wind problems). And you'd still have to get the Westwater permit for the day you planned on going through there. And you'd have a much much longer shuttle, of course.

Better, I'd say, to pick one of the two and relax and enjoy the river and its canyons.


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Old 05-06-2006   #4
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 33
Thanks Rich... I am planning a trip for Mid August, no motors, but I feel like Westwater may be too short of a run for what we had in mind. Cataract might be the way to go, but I am also wary of long dreaded flat water stretches... We may be needing a cooler full of Dales Pale Ale.
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Old 05-06-2006   #5
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 115
A night float from Moab/Potash to the Confluence is a great way to make miles on Cat. Try to plan your float on a full moon, and watch for the eddies that make you think your floating downstream instead of in circles.
Oh yeah, and don't float past the Confluence in the dark...
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Old 05-06-2006   #6
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Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882
Originally Posted by Strider
Oh yeah, and don't float past the Confluence in the dark...
Join up, suckas.

"People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid."
- Soren Kierkegaard
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Old 05-06-2006   #7
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 140
mid- august and you've given up on the main and MF?

patience and you'll permit with a cancellation on one or both, no problem. Start checking the recordings every day in six weeks but you should get something within that 30 days(when the dates really open up due to non payment) before launch without too much trouble.

Never understood why people give up when they don't win through the lottery. I've picked up permits easily for August the last 2 years w/ good notice.
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Old 05-07-2006   #8
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 524
Just a heads up if you're planning on doing a Cat trip in August with no motor: Lake Fowell is coming back up. The expected lake elevation by the end of July is 30-40' above where it was over the winter, and the current just barely got past the ramp last time I was there (end of March). My guesstimate is that the lake will start somewhere between Sheep and Dark canyons. So plan on a long row across a lake if you don't have either a motor or a push arranged.

Some people I know hit the lake and let the (very slow) current drift them towards the take out while they sleep through the night. I haven't tried it, and I've heard mixed stories about the success - if you try it, make sure you have a light mounted to ward off the drunk yacht-drivers.
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