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Old 06-18-2013   #1
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 15
The Middle Fork at low water

I'm going to launch on the Middle Fork on June 27th and the river is only 2.8 ft. right now and still dropping. Way lower than last year at this time. My guide book says that under 2.5 ft. that people often skip the upper section and put in at Indian campground. I have a 16' raft and am getting a little nervous about getting down the upper section. Has anybody out there run it really low? Any thoughts? I'd love to hear what people have to say. Thanks

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Old 06-18-2013   #2
Avatard's Avatar
portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,188
Better cancel that permit while you have the chance!!!

Only a wuss would skip out of the most peaceful and beautiful stretch of the river at 2.5'

If its less than 2 then start to consider it.

Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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Old 06-18-2013   #3
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NOCO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 582
There are several good long threads on this subject on MBuzz. My personal opinion having done a handful of trips well below 2 feet - pack light and enjoy the upper section - especially if you have it all to yourself with everyone flying into Indian Creek. The first two days can be a lot of work when you get hung up on rocks but that upper section is not one I'd like to miss. It's definitely worth the extra effort - but it's NOT for everyone. cheers!
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Old 06-18-2013   #4
Centennial, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 72
Yo Frank, it's gonna be fine! The forecast goes out to June 25th right now and it's saying 2.41 feet. I'd say when we launch on the 27th it'll be ~2.3 feet. You'll be able to pack everything, maybe even enough room to pack Zach's, John's, and my stuff so we can R3 the 12 footer. See ya at boundary!
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Old 06-18-2013   #5
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 12
If you're worried about it, only bring the beer/booze that you need for the first two days and fly the rest of beer pile and anything else heavy into Indian. That worked well for us at 2'.
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Old 06-18-2013   #6
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 15
Stop trying to turn my raft into a sweep boat. It's not a sweep boat. How about I leave my raft, and I'll use the inflatable kayak. I'll give you my stuff in true kayaker style.
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Old 06-18-2013   #7
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Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 282

There was a dvd produced about 10 years ago that does a nice job of showing the lines through the upper stretch of the river at low flows - 1.7 when they run it. I can't remember who produced it, but it features Brad Frye of Adventure Sun Valley outfitters talking through it. Before my last lower flow trip I watched it and took notes on my float guide and it really helped tremendously running at 2.3. Some of the lines through the low water rock gardens are totally non-intuitive, so it helps to see the right lines first before trying to pick your way through.
Show me your OOOOOO face
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Old 06-18-2013   #8
Abron Cabron
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Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 594
we did the MF 2011, Aug 16-21 at 2.25' was soooo awesome. dont think twice about it. Pack sensibly light, and consider flying heavy stuff in if you must, but seriously it is the best of all worlds.... warm weather, clear,clear water thats not even that cold, and still enough juice to float the top and make the rapids exciting. 2.25' = @ 1100-1200 cfs, which for me down in new messico is a damn nice water level. I believe we had a 16'cat, 4x 14' rafts, a 11' wrap floor, and two lucky barnacle boaters. ( iwas one... drank beer and rowed the 11' with our gear through the flat sections and some afternoons on long days just to get out of the tupperware. traded off so my buddy could SUP, and i got to paddle almost all the good rapids.. such a good trade off... )
not to say the top isnt quite technical, but remember like you mentioned about sweep boats....there are gigantic sweep boats making it down easily (for the most part) all summer.... I would love to see the MFS at higher water, but the river was so friendly and such a memorable trip in general, i would do it again in a heart beat at 2.25' or better....

oh and bring a snorkel and mask... there is an underwater canyon about 1/2 way down, day 2 or 3 (...?) right below a bridge you can jump off of, by one of the top ranches... you can swim and snorkel the little reef/canyon thing...i wish i would have known ahead of time and brought my mask.... you can see fish 20 ' down in that clear water... and then theres the clean spring water and hot springs. cant ask for much more on a river trip....
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Old 06-19-2013   #9
Talkeetna, Alaska
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 16
Originally Posted by fronc View Post
I'm going to launch on the Middle Fork on June 27th
Launching the same day. See you there.
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Old 06-19-2013   #10
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Everett, Washington
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 21
Originally Posted by Wyldman View Post
Launching the same day. See you there.
Yeehaa we put on the same day. Green raft with a Viking looking guy rowing. Swing by our camp night before and we can compare notes.

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