So There I Was... Just a few days ago actually...
WOW, This might get a little long but I just got off the Verde and had one HELL of a trip. It was my first trip down the Verde there is some all right beta on the stretch on the buzz and from the NPS. I was itching to get in my boat, so a few buddies and I planed to run from Beasley Flats all the way to Horseshoe Reservoir, about 50-55 miles 5 days and 4 nights.
So where do I start…..
We pushed off from Beasley at about 2:00pm after some of the crew ran the shuttle….kind of. Well the weather was good and I believe the flow was at about 1400csf, and within the first 4 miles you hit the all the good rapids. First is “Off the Wall” and the “Pre Falls” and “Verde Falls”, we scouted the falls from river left and ran the river right, main channel line. We had a 13’ Hyside and a Super Puma both with center fames….so the Falls (river left) line really wasn’t an option. The run out of the falls is gorged but pretty friendly nevertheless.
That night at camp the rain started around 9:00pm and didn’t really stop. We pushed off the next day…..in the rain and started to watch the river rise. It was a long cold day but we knew that there were hot springs 17 miles from the put-in at Childs.
Past Gap Creek (which is a day run take out 7 miles from Beasley Flats, and there is a little over a ¼ mile hike from the river to the road) the river has a lot of different channels with wood, brush and trees, especially as the river was rising. At some corners the river would seem like it flowed through natural picket fences, some areas were straightforward and some weren’t. The problem was it’s hard to scout most areas just to find the right or safe channel because the vegetation is thick and the banks are flooded.
Now don’t get me wrong, I understood that the Verde is a “small” river and that its known for its strainers and that it may be kind of an adventure. But I felt good about the trip; we met with Dexter Allen, the Verde River Ranger and got some recent beta on trees and what not past Childes take out because that section past Childs is run much less.
With that being said, that second day we just had our minds set on making it to the hot springs after being stuck in the rain all day. But we ran in to some problems with the infamous tress the section is known for. We regrettable, after about 8-9 correct decisions on the safe channels, we put both boats in a boat popping, foot entrapping, “not gunna have a good time” situation, that caught us all off guard. Ever thing worked out we didn’t have to resort to z-drags or d-rigging but it wasn’t a good place to be at the time. So we busted a move to the hot springs at Child’s, which are on river right (you can see a palm tree from the river) just after you see a small ranch on river right.
We all relaxed at the hot springs for about two hours and decided that we would camp at Child’s and decided if we want to continue on with the trip. As we sat in the springs, another group showed up and long story short we found out that they were planning on doing an overnighter from Beasley Flats to Childs and they were in the middle of running their shuttle when they got stuck at Childs because the road in was so bad from the rain. So we camped at Childs and the next day the road was alright so one guy from our crew got a ride back up to Beasley to get his truck, what fallowed after that was a lot of driving on bad roads to get cars and gear, not to mention that we come to find out that the guys who originally ran the shuttle left a truck at Bartlett Dam not Horseshoe which would have been interesting if we would have continued on.
Overall, the trip was kind of rough you can’t camp at the hot springs and the Childs take out campground is on river right and is layered in trash, and right next to the old power plant , and that’s where we sent a got portion of the trip.
The best advice I could give you is that the Verde is an awesome river I believe that I just caught it at a interesting time, and off the couch. The guides are right however about the wood, and speaking with Dexter when you can catch him will help out a lot. Recently, AZ has seen a lot of rain and most roads accessing the river are in bad condition. I know for a fact that the Childs road off of hwy 260 is pretty bad and really bad the last 200 yards into the campground where the NFS had put non-native clay to fix the road from being washed out. The road to Beasley Flats is not to bad and horseshoe lake road was recently closed but is now open to 4WD. Nevertheless I would suggest bright a 4WD no matter what!!
I really don’t mean to be ripping this river apart I think it is an amazing place and past Childs the wildness of the river only gets better. There are boat loads of historical and cultural significance to this section, and it shouldn’t be overlooked. But at the level that we ran it at paired with the weather, we decided it would be best to call it a trip at Childs. I really didn’t want to damage my gear so early in the season especially when I just found out my buddy pulled a Yampa Permit!!
Hope This Helps,