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Old 07-01-2010   #1
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5
Class III/IV boater from Missouri seeking co.

I'm driving to Colorado next week for a two-week whitewater paddling vacation. On Wednesday, I'm meeting a local paddler in Fort Collins to paddle the bridges section. He offered to introduce me to the paddling scene on the Poudre. From Thursday the 7th to Thursday the 15th (when I'll meet up with some of my friends from Missouri in order to paddle sections of the Arkansas), I'll be on my own. I'm hoping to make my way from Fort Collins to Salida, paddling fun Class III and IV sections of various rivers like the Yampa, Eagle, Roaring Fork and Crystal, and I'm wondering if anyone out there wouldn't mind having me tag along. I don't mind driving a bit out of the way if it means paddling a sure thing with fun and competent paddlers (otherwise, I'll be hanging out at put-ins, hoping to connect with someone). I direct an outdoor adventure program at a school in St. Louis, and I'm a certified instructor, so I know what a pain it can be to deal with paddlers who misrepresent their abilities. You can count on me to represent mine honestly and to do my best not to inconvenience you. If you need to know more about my experience, I'm perfectly comfortable on Class III water and, after a day or two of warm-up, I'm comfortable as well on Class IV (depending, of course, on the volume). When I'm paddling Class IV stuff for the first time, I do like to have some sense of the line before I enter drops. I've only paddled Class V once--on the Yough in Maryland--and had no problem (although I was following closely the lines set by those in the lead). I play on the Missouri and Mississippi (about 100,000 cfs) and have paddled the Futuleufu in Chile so I have some experience of big water (and some really nasty water!).

In Colorado, I'm hoping to paddle some Class III stretches for the first day or two (intermittent IV's are fine) and then paddle anything under V until I'm feeling my oats (and provided I get to know the paddlers and the volume isn't too huge). I'm no steep creeker.

I really appreciate any advice or help you can offer,

Michael Dee

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Old 07-01-2010   #2
kayakfreakus's Avatar
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 887
I think the Poudre is a good starting off point, lots of sections on that river are III and IV. Sadly, we seem to be dropping off a bit now in areas. I was in Steamboat yesterday and the Yampa is way down in town, most feeder creeks are done, do not think that area is worth the drive. The Eagle is dropping pretty quick and not sure if it will still be holding any water. The Colorado will definitely still have water, I have not been to the western slope yet so not sure if the Roaring Forks/Crystal areas will still be runnable then as they seem to be on a downward trend too. The Ark will still have water and is awesome, so while some things on your list might be too low you should still have a blast.

Runs I would say you should look at:

Poudre - everything from Steven's Gulch down, Pineview is worth a scout and some people say you want 3.5 on the rock and above to go for the upper sections, but its roadside and much is easily looked at. Some of my favorite III/IV water and very hitchable, lots of local folks boating in evenings and after work.

Colorado - Shoshonee is a fun section, although short. But could also hit up the Glenwood wave if you like to play.

Ark- Everything again minus Pine Creek rapid if your feeling good, Royal Gorge and Numbers are classics and good fun class IV. Plenty of III and below on the Ark too, good paddling scene in BV area and usually easy to hook up with people.

Hope you have a good trip.

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Old 07-01-2010   #3
bobblehead's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 45
You should hit Clear Creek (Golden) on your way down to the Ark from Ft. Collins.
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Old 07-01-2010   #4
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 39
What Outdoor Adventure Program / School do you work at in STL? If you don't mind my asking.
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Old 07-01-2010   #5
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
When do you plan to be on the Ark? I am not a class V boater, but run the shit out of the III-IV...heading to the Conejos to escape the crowds for the holiday weekend, then to the Poudre (if there is still water) for the weekend of the 10th...but after that, or for mid-week runs, you should hit me up.

Logan 719-229-9333
GARNA’s mission is to foster stewardship of the resources of the greater Arkansas River region through education, volunteerism and experiences. https://garna.org
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Old 07-02-2010   #6
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5
Thank you all for the really encouraging replies! I'd love to paddle sections of the Poudre on the weekend (or even Thursday and Friday?) Logan--I'll give you a call Wednesday or Tuesday when I have a better idea of my plans and location. "Tele-axel": I teach English at John Burroughs School in St. Louis and direct the outdoor program. The program is divided into three general categories: required programs (7th grade orientation trip and 9th grade field biology trip to our primitive camp on a tributary of the Current River in southern Missouri...), adventure and service opportunities for anyone (which, depending on the degree of a student's participation can get them credit for one season of the sports requirement--rockclimbing, caving, Ozark river float trips, backpacking, beekeeping, technical tree climbing, a whitewater unit...) and service programs for the senior May project (trailcutting and cave restoration...). Because I spend my weekends during the school year either leading trips for others or grading papers, I have to make the most of my opportunity to paddle in the summer!
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Old 07-02-2010   #7
GagePLoungin's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 39
Had to come out here, eh? Not man enough for the mighty Currant River? or the Meramec ?
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Old 07-03-2010   #8
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 39
Sounds like a cool program. I worked for a camp in STL for a while so I was just curious of other programs in the area.

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