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Old 03-19-2014   #11
FrankC's Avatar
Golden, CO
Paddling Since: 1856
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 339
Originally Posted by ski_kayak365 View Post
Having lived and paddled in Colorado most my life, and now living in S. Jersey the past two years, I would gladly go back to CO. For more reasons that just paddling, but that said, having close rivers to paddle most the year is great. A 6 hour drive, will take you to the other side of the state and have countless I-V creeks and rivers to paddle. Unlike this area where a 3 hr drive will get me limited to no paddling..
There is actually plenty of paddling within 3 hrs of South Jersey. The poconos have tons of creeks that go off after heavy rain (about 2 to 3 hrs from S. Jersey). Closer by you have the Tohikan, Lok and Wick Creeks that can be all run in one day (probably with 1 hour of you). Then there is Scudders and the Wing Dam for park n play layboating. Don't forget about the Atlantic ocean for kayak surfing. Of course if you don't mind driving 6 to 7 hrs you can have pretty much something different to do every weekend if you follow the dam releases.

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Old 03-19-2014   #12
golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 35
RE: comparisons

I said it on BT, and I'll say it again: The local reports here are generally all accurate. If you really want to kayak as your main sport, Denver (and most of Colorado) is a rough place to be most of the year. Don't kid yourself into thinking at it's easy to be a year round kayaker in CO--it can be done, but there aren't many options for most of the year....most boaters don't kayak much from October through April...Many only paddle May, June, July. The mid atlantic, SE, parts of Reno/California, or PNW are just WAY better if you actually want to kayak year round.

BUT, if you want to live in a beautiful place, with generally more chilled-out healthier people who love the outdoors....CO is fantastic. If you're willing to enjoy Mtn Biking, Snow sports, Climbing, and lots of other mountain activities for most of the year, CO majorly wins... It seriously kicks ass for all those ways that the mid atlantic can only dream about.

That being said, as someone who just wants to kayak all the time (because kayaking has ruined my life )... CO can't be a home base for me.

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Old 03-20-2014   #13
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 747
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What are people's thoughts on the trades on such things as access, quality, community, and style of boating between these two areas?
Good community, colder and more continuous whitewater, fairly similar access.

Additional questions: How often is it that there is a really short season in Co in a given year if there is little snow?
Define "really short." Even on a bad snow year, the heart of the season is still a couple of months long.

How far do people normally drive for the class 3 up to 4/5 classics? Seems like there is actually a lot within a 2-3 hours of Denver?
I'm in Denver, and my season usually looks like this: Now through mid-April: Gore. Escalante out by Delta when it runs. Heart of the season is basically May and June, during those months it will be after-work runs on Clear Creek, SSV (RIP?), Big Thompson (RIP?), Boulder Creek (?), and Bear if it runs. Parentheticals are to account for the fact that the big floods that ripped through have significantly changed some of the key after-work runs, and it's tough to tell what they'll be like. Then weekend trips to runs like Boxelder, the Crested Butte creeks (OBJ etc.), the Poudre drainage, maybe Castle Creek/Slaughterhouse in Aspen, Durango, etc. The Big South is a crown jewel of midsummer since the main season for that is gate-restricted to July 4 and after (unless you want to hike for half the run or do an overnight from the source). Then after mid-July it's Gore and Bailey for the rest of the summer.

Do you find the rivers to be graded different out there?
Not particularly. Though "Class IV" generally means "numerous class IV rapids, often in a row" rather than "one class IV move"

And if you feel like adding something... what do most boaters do in the off-season? As others have said, CO is not great for year-round boating, but if you're into doing a multisport approach, it's fantastic. For me, this means spring/early summer = kayaking, late summer/fall = mountain biking season, winter = snowboarding.
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Old 03-20-2014   #14
Hood River, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2163
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 295
Not sure exactly where you are in the mid atlantic.... but I would say you likely have better paddling there in certain respects. That said, there are trade offs depending on your paddling style and preferences.

The paddling here is really good, but if you are living in Denver you will have to be prepared to drive a long way to get it most of the time. There is definitely some really good boating on the front range during the main runoff, but it isn't as good as the rest of the stuff going around the state.

If you don't have any particular reason for Denver, check out BV, Durango, and Carbondale. Small towns, so work prospects will be limited, but definitely paddling meccas. If you have to live on the front range/Denver, definitely try to live in Golden. Way closer to the mountains and you are right on Clear Creek. Denver itself sucks big time for an outdoor/active person.
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Old 03-20-2014   #15
Hood River, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2163
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 295
Stephen really said it best.... if you are very committed, you can paddle April-October with the best quality being May, June, early July. If you are EXTREMELY committed and love ELFing, you can get in some boating with Ark runs during the winter months. Either way, be prepared to drive.

But you can mountain bike year round, rock climb, and the skiing is fun. So it is a nice place to live.

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