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Old 06-25-2009   #121
penguin's Avatar
Tahoe City, California
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 53
Ah, almost forgot to tell ya about the bugs! Wicked bad for the first two days everywhere except on the water. They virtually disappeared by day three, around our 35th mile or so. Be sure to bring nets and covers in addition to at least one bottle of bug spray per person. Once we got the upper hand on them and resorted to misquito nets and massive application of spray it was quite tolerable.

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Old 06-25-2009   #122
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,121
Your story sounds like what we experienced last week at 13,000 cfs. Folks were entering the rapid on the left tongue and trying like hell to ferry right, away from the big waves. Seemed like all the flow was sucking them right into the waves anyway. The center of this rapid at that level was a nightmare. We ran right of center, working toward the right shore. It was no piece of cake either, but I figured I'd rather get hung up on a rock, 5-10 feet off shore, than mess with those boat flipping waves.
I agree with your comment about this rapid changing the complexion of an otherwise moderate trip.
And those Skeeters !!!!!!! If you weighed less than 300 lbs they were trying to carry you off. Bug jacket with hood saved my life & sanity.

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Old 06-26-2009   #123
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Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 580
We ran the left line at 14,000 and I would do it again. 3 out of our 5 boats flipped while running that line, but I attribute most of this to inexperience. The right line can be done, but is much more technical. We saw a boat have a really difficult pin, which ended up bending the frame (so I was told).

The left line is the best line. What messes people up the most (and I am guilty too) is that you need to start to pull right just after the top of the tongue. There is some funny water and a spot that looks like a little pourover, but it isn't, you can go right over it. Continuing down the tongue does suck you toward the big waves, as I found out. I ended up hitting the right side of both waves and made it through ok.

In hindsight, I was a little left of my A-line, but I would ride those waves again, anyday! Isn't that why we raft rivers anyway? Why sneak it and miss all of the fun? The river below is moving, but there are two really large eddies on each side to recover gear. As far as difficulty, I would compare it to Skull on Westwater at low to medium flows (easy move if you know where your going, some consequences if not).
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Old 06-26-2009   #124
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Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,121
Your assessment of the problem with the left line is exactly what we witnessed. People started down the left tongue, and then were a little too casual, until they were halfway into it and headed for the flipper wave. Once they realized they were in trouble, then they started pulling like hell, but it was too late. This is such a wide rapid, it's hard to see everything from the right shore scout. Getting up on the bluff on river left would be an interesting view.
Like I said, the right hand run was no picnic. Lots of trouble to be had in this rapid.
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Old 06-26-2009   #125
DeeGardiner's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 83
I just got off Deso yesterday. We ran Joe Hutch Canyon on June 24th at just over 12,000 cfs. What an awesome rapid! A bit intimidating, but it was fun.
I was rowing a 14' self-bailer. My plan was to start on the left side of the tongue and ferry right as I came down the tongue, building momentum to pull left of the big haystack. But here is what happened:
The river bends left just above the rapid. There is a bush on river left further obstructing the view. So you can't really see the tongue until you are almost there. The left side of the tongue was more turbulent than I expected, and it is hard to get there due to the bend in the river. So I didn't get left as far as I planned, but still planned on ferrying right. I timed it well to exit the tongue near the bottom where there wasn't such a large curler fence. But as soon as I got in to the choppy water it was clear that ferry right was difficult at best. It was hard to even get in a solid stroke with the oars. So I bagged the ferry idea and decided to hit the waves straight. We hit the right edge of the biggest wave and thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Those waves are huge! Much larger than they look from shore.
Boat #2 was a 16' self-bailer. He had the same plan but started his right ferry too soon. He hit the curler on the edge of the tongue which pushed him back towards center. He hit the big wave dead center, but he wasn't lined up straight. The boat tilted and dumped 4 of 4 people out. I think they would have flipped if they people stayed on the boat, but it came down right side up. Two of them were trying to climb back in when they hit the rock wall. Their weight on the upstream tube almost flipped the boat there, and one of them fell back in. They were all safe (other than a few bruises) and had great stories to tell at camp.
Boat #3 decided to take the right run. He had to punch through about 3 small holes and dodge some rocks, but it wasn't much of a problem. This was another 16' self-bailer. I suspect as the water drops this right sneak will become more difficult.

We also watched another group run the rapid. They entered the tongue facing backwards so they could reverse row through the curler on the edge of the tongue. They punched through okay and completely missed the big waves.
They also had two one-man duckies. The first made it right of the wave and had a clean run. The second got pushed left of the big wave and then flipped afterwards. She got pushed in to the mini "room of doom" on river left. On her third attempt she was able to ferry across the current and escape.

My daughter and her husband were in a two-man duckie and saw her duckie in the room of doom but did not see her (she was behind a rock). They tried to ferry over to rescue the boat, but didn't make it, so they flipped along the rock wall. Our other two-man duckie ran the haystack and had a clean and exciting ride.

With respect to bugs:
The bugs at the put-in were not as bad as I expected from prior years. But that may have been due to the weather. There were scattered thunderstorms and wind that day.
But the bugs were much worse down in the canyon. We had to use our bug hoods at every camp. In prior years we didn't have much problem below Jack Creek, but this year they were all through the canyon. The gnats were bad during meal times and then the mosquitos came out as the sun set.
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Old 06-26-2009   #126
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Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 83
I just posted a few photos of our Joe Hutch Canyon experience.

Picasa Web Albums - Dee - Joe Hutch Can...
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Old 06-26-2009   #127
St George, Utah
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 48
DeeGardiner, Great pics I am taking 18 scouts down on the 6th of July I am stoked cant wait!!
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Old 06-27-2009   #128
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 10
We are leaving on Monday morning. Nervous for Mosquitos and Joe Hutch. It has been fun reading all of the posts coming from people just getting off of the river. Thank you all! Will post again about all conditions when we return!
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Old 06-28-2009   #129
Salt Lake City, Utah
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1
Just got off of Deso on Fri. 6/24. I thought it was running at around 11,000, but from posts here closer to 12,000. We had five boats in our group. All 14 foot self bailers and one 16 foot self bailer. From our experience at this level the best way is to hit the tongue in on the right side, fight through the turbulence, avoid the haystacks and fight through the turbulence to get ready for the wall.

I guinea pigged the rapid first. Did everything wrong, but didn't flip. Once you are in the rapid it seems impossible to move. I hit the tongue basically in the middle instead of the right. The raft spun 90 degrees to the left and would not move at all. I took 3 hard digs to the right, but the raft would not move. Hit the haystack sideways and did not flip. I have no idea why, but think both of the waves were not crashing at that time. Pretty much a miracle. Better to be lucky than good, I guess. All of our boats made it through but one. This boat seemed to be more in the middle of the run. All three people were knocked out of the boat and down the river. The raft was in the eddy and didnít flip. Our sweep boat pulled into the eddy right after the wall to have someone climb up the bank to row the boat out of the eddy and pass the wall. Glad it was the 14 footer as my friend said if it was his 16 foot boat he didn't think he could have made it out of the eddy.

Right after we pulled out the scout area to hit Joe Hutch there was a group of boy scouts that came up on us pretty fast. They were in 2 18 foot self bailers and an 18 foot cat. Right before Joe Hutch we saw some of them jump onto the cat. I believe they had about 7-8 on the cat plus most of their gear. They hit the wall sideways and flipped. I rescued 2 of them floating on coolers and one the "guides" didn't know that the rapid was Joe Hutch.

The new rapid was nice feature to my fifth trip down this canyon. It seems that there have been a lot of flips in this section according to everyone that I have spoken to about Joe Hutch. I will follow this thread to see how this will run at lower levels later this summer.
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Old 06-28-2009   #130
Chico, California
Paddling Since: 95
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1
There seems to be two rapids in this discussion. There is Joe Hutch and Joe Hutch Canyon.
Joe Hutch Canyon has been flipping boats at around 14-15 k CFS. Joe Hutch is rather straight forward. The JH Canyon however has a large wave train on river left leading up to a wall. There are sneak route river right but be careful. We had a great wrap and while we were Z dragging it off watch 3 boats from Durango flip. Our put in was June 8th. Just scout and decide.

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