Hey kids, just thought i would give my two cents.
The hike had a little snow on the north side of the pass, but not to bad. About seven miles of hiking got us to a place we could put-in. It gorged quickly after according to the map and it wasn't lying. sieves and crap @ 100 cfs except for one runnable slide that was very reminiscent of OBJ.
Camp 1 next to the gorge, 1/2 mile drops 285'. gorge not recommended.
Walked to the end of the gorge and put-in. The flow tripled with tribs immediatly. Five miles of flat in a hour and a half. There where two small drops (8' and 15') hidden in the flats. Second steeps drops about 280' per mile for five. Sieves and some sections run before the falls. The falls are gnarly. But you can kinda see the line? We didn't run it. There is a gorge that starts there we called vallecito simulator. Same style drops/rock, but maybe bigger because of tiers. think double entrance, double trashcan, double finishline, etc...overall easy day getting there.
We chose to stay there and run that section of water in the morning instead of the third lower gorge because of time. We had time for one and we chose that section. It was well worth it. That gorge was worth the whole thing. After the walls drop away then things get interesting. Flint creek doubles the flow and things get a little manky, but big and steep boulder gardens. We didn't have time to scout it all so we went for the bottom half of the next two miles. Super fun.
Time to get movin'. The next gorge was four miles of flat away. At the entrance we all wanted to run it, but there was no feasible way. We hiked down thinking about the rapids of the last gorge and scouted this third/lowest gorge. Really good potential. 200' for two miles. Much more flow. Rapids flow together. We put it at the bottom and paddled the 10 miles to vallecito. class three except for one mile of class four just above the res. Time for a cold one. I would say 600-700 cfs at the res.
All in all it was a sweet trip. Miles of steep water. It felt like we paddled about three different rivers a day because it changed so much. Lots of work. Some of us have been studying maps for years, food caches, lots of hiking, safety issues, huge shuttle (for colorado), and lots of water you cannot run.
Think and plan really hard for this one before you go in there. Horses would be the ticket. I am willing to share any information needed. I would like to go back and get that lower gorge this weekend. I think that there might be enough water for one more. Give a PM if there is some interest.
Big thanks to Dan and Scotty for making this one happen. Good trip. As for a first D, well maybe not, but it was a first D for us and maybe we ran some stuff that no one else has run? Anyway, it was super fun. I guess I could'a sat at home and watched Nascar or naked girls mud wrestling instead, right? Oh wait, that is just what I imagined was on TV during the paddle out.
See Ya, Johnny