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Old 05-18-2006   #1
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The Ranch, Colorado
Paddling Since: 04
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Increased flows and a question about new dangers

This is my first full season as a kayaker - I missed last year's runoffs as I didn't boat then

I'm curious as to whether increased flows, aside from changing hydraulics of various runs, present any other hazards. For example, are rivers likely to see new sources of debris such as tree limbs dislodged from erosion, or crap washed in from tributaries, or rocks and such being moved?

As a guy who isn't really familiar, like you pros are, with ANY of the runs I do, what should I be extra vigalant about.

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Old 05-18-2006   #2
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yes is the short answer. As the volume of the water doubles, the force it exerts quaduples. This changes everything. Generally speaking lower volume tighter creeks are most affected because small timber and small moving rocks can change things and block the entire channel easily. That's why on certain small creeks, many rapids are mandatory scouts every time. Also, there's been more than one instance of rock slides coming into rivers and changing things.

You have float a little bit of road side Main fork Salmon when you do the Middle Fork. We drove by this section running shuttle. Seven days later at the end of the trip we came onto the main fork and saw a huge brand new horizon line. I've heard from locals that this new landsldie rapid is considered one of the hardest on the middle fork run. It definitly caught us by suprise.

I wouldn't worry too much about your local class III beginners runs. They generally have wide channels and stable river beds. How the high water changes the features on those class III runs can really spank you though.

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Old 05-18-2006   #3
Join Date: Oct 2003
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As the water rises, more stuff is in the water like dog shit and stuff. When the water starts going back down the stuff is already gone and the water clears up. Minor issues compared to how the hydraulics change with the flow. Also, if you don't have a good roll, you might find you get separated from your equipment much faster and may lose your boat or paddle for a while.
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Old 05-18-2006   #4
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Eagle County, Colorado
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In some runs, eddys go away and swims get be long. I remember doing a higher water run on the Eagle and swimming for a loooong time before eddying out behind a nice big massive strainer. When I had swam it before at lower water, I could swim to an eddy. High water often means less eddies, and harder to swim to. Also, your lines can change. If you usually go around the back of one rock, and around the front of another, they might just be two big holes now, and your usual line will pummel you.
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Old 05-18-2006   #5
Fort Collins, Colorado
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Eddy lines get more powerful as the flow increases. And at really high water they can become almost like a hole themselves. They can even get strong enough to flip rafts on occasion.
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Old 05-18-2006   #6
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Thought-criminal, Colorado
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Boils and whirlpools can come out of nowhere and suck you into the belly of the beast. Big, fun wave trains can obscure your view of man-eating holes that await your arrival. Good news is, flip over and you likely won't bash yourself on the bottom like usual. So...don't swim. If you miss your roll, try again and again and again until you come up. If you're stuck in a monster then you might not have a different way out. But don't swim if you can help it or you may lose expensive shit.
I hope in the future Americans are thought of as a warlike, vicious people, because I bet a lot of high schools would pick "Americans" as their mascot. -Jack Handy
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Old 05-18-2006   #7
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Cold man, cold. Since most of the water is snow runoff in colorado the water you are on today was snow the day before. The swims that the previous posts talked about now pose a greater threat for hypothermia. Good rule to follow is always dress to swim.

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