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Old 07-31-2006   #11
cosurfgod's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 384
Los Pinos TR

Flow: Pine River below Vallecito Damn was ~600 cfs but has droped to 480 overnight.

Put in: We put in at the dam, we climbed over the fence at the fire station and hiked along the spillway until we climbed another fence and entered the pool at the powerhouse. We paddled across the pool and wedged ourselves through a rock and wire fence to enter the river.

Run: I was suprised at the quality of whitewater and no fences. It was pretty contiuous class III. Not boney but could use a little more water. The whitewater was nice with scattered horizon lines and a few holes. There were a couple of nice play waves but not always the best place to flip over. We only saw a few people and they were freindly and smiled and waved. The scenery was beutiful and the whitewater was much better the town run (Animas). I would give it a solid class III.

Take out: We opted to take out at the CR501 bridge as we had paddled 3 to 4 miles and we felt it had most of the gradient. I think the river would slow down to class II and you would most likely encounter agressive ranchers and fences. We quickly got out at the bridge with the "no kayaking" sign with no encounters from land owners.

This would be a great class III run if there was better access. The flows are consistant throughout the summer and possibly better in the fall with the dam release. If anybody has any better access please let us know.

Creek Boaters Like Tight Boxes
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Old 07-31-2006   #12
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 14
lower pine river paddle

cosurfgod ---

hey there.... interested in possibly paddling lower pine river this evening... could be potential for skirmish with local folks over access... what is your phone number... if i don't make it, then touch base with me afterwards for de-brief.... thanks.

dunbar hardy

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Old 05-11-2009   #13
Tacoma, Washington
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 10
Los Pinos Access

I've been looking at the Los Pinos for some open boat warm up stuff. Supposedly prior to 2006 the Pine River Irrigation District allowed river access at the Dam, but no more. Am reminded of the current sportsman's plight with access on the lake proper.

I did get a fishing permit from the Utes hoping to run from Bayfield down. At 500 cfs there is perhaps 200 left at Ignacio, but interim stretches are bone dry. The last good access I found from the Ute fishing maps is a place called 'Diversion' 2-3 miles down from Bayfield, a pretty spot.

I've heard rumours of barbed wire between 501 and Bayfield too, good to hear it may not be an issue. Access looks like it might be easily arranged from the 'coolwaters' resort - but haven't requested. Dam to 501 is a pretty stretch - darn shame it is closed off.
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Old 05-12-2009   #14
Tacoma, Washington
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 10
The river today came up to 1400, it must mean Vallecito reservoir is spilling, and it seemed like the time to go espesh as no barbwire across river was reported here and a good access was identified at the Pine River Ranches plat.

Access at PRR was good, hopefully it will stay that way. However there was wire across the river which proved problematic in my 14' Dagger open.

Regardless, this 'lower-lower' section is quite good, as far as I made it at least! It's fast, so the surfing might not be great but there were at least half a dozen decent play holes in the first two miles. Maneuvering around pour overs in one rapid and the continuousnous make this a solid 3 at this level. I was reminded quite a bit of the Mesa run on the San Juan.

That wire fence could be nasty - it's strong down from a large permanent cable - so that it's above the water where you can get under the cable and under the water where the cable is too low to go under. I flipped in a steep gravel bar type of situation partly distracted, partly messed up, partly fillled with water from the previous rapid, partly heading for shore.

I ended up letting the boat go through, hiking down to follow it.

I saw one more obstacle, a gas pipeline about 12 inches above the water, also with a fast water lead-in.

About a mile down, at the first ranch bridge, I noticed red lights flashing - turns out the boat caught just downstream above an irrigation intake. The Upper Pine River Fire, La Plata Sherriff and Bayfield Police were all there, as well as ranch folks - maybe 30 people in total.

So much for healing my shame in private.

Everybody was very helpful and hopefully I made a good case for opening up this prime stretch of intermediate whitewater.

This is definitely still a project river and hopefully wire will get taken down in Season as it gets more use. Lower water is recommended for a first descent of the water (fence?) year, but experienced decked boaters won't have problems at any level.

Remember, the goal is to make friends and get this river opened! And thanks again to La Plata Public Safety.
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Old 05-12-2009   #15
Tacoma, Washington
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 10
Oh yeah, if you find a Werner Bandit Canoe Paddle, Amber blade, it's return would be appreciated.

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