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Old 05-27-2004   #11
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
Cascade Creek has a few free spots available right off the highway ( a few miles up from the ski area and not too far from the Schoolhouse) and that makes for an easy basecamp. There's also free camping behind the area on the road leading into Hermosa. The other option is Lime Creek road, but take care not to camp on private property.

Have a great trip- looks like you'll have a good medium flow up top. Last year we had about 4.25 feet on the Tacoma gauge (visual- check it out when you pass Tacoma. Equaled about 1000cfs @ Silverton) and it was stompin'! Call 4 Corners and get the Tacoma gauge height.

One more piece of info- Red Rocks is one of the last rapids, and it's kind of a boulder fan. Look for a cliff wall on the right that's almost overhanging just above the start of the rapid, and the train is way above taking a turn out of sight. The middle of the rapid has a line, but it's a boof beside a pyramid rock onto a flat rock that's hard to see. There's an easier sneak on the far right side. You should be able to scout this one from the right bank at these flows.

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Old 05-27-2004   #12
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,302
Two things.

Once you pass tacoma powerplant you are not commited. The best takeout is about 1-2 miles below the powerplant where the train crosses the river. There is a big eddy on river right. Why hike longer than you have too?

Everyone should get out here and walk down 1/8 of a mile, then peer over the edge to scout Mandatory Thrashing. This allows you to A) decide if you want to run it B) scout the center line, which I prefer the most and C) you are able to route into the drop with speed instead of catching the river left eddy.

Then hike back upstream to the bridge and decide who's running and who's walking.

Kyle McCutchen
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Old 05-27-2004   #13
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
Cutch is right about that takeout. Watch the poison ivy.

I'm pretty sure that Cutch is describing the Guardian. Mandatory Thrash is what I erroneously described above as Red Rocks, and is further downstream (I'm bad with rapid names sometimes- Red Rocks is right after). The scout on river right at the Guardian that he described is a very good idea, although you really can't see the far right line I mentioned in my previous post. That center line that Kyle describes becomes very meaty at these flows- you're pretty much gonna find about 2000 cfs running through there as I imagine that not much is coming down Hermosa right now, and most of the additional flow is coming down Cascade and the other tributaries.

Since I no longer live in Dgo I haven't seen what the flow is doing lately. Either way, the Box will be pretty big right now- there is a sign at the takeout, but catch every eddy as you see the train tracks bear away from the river. You do not want to accidently go too far.

Durangotans- can we get a ruling on the names of the rapids?
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Old 05-27-2004   #14
cosurfgod's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 384
If you don't want to do the whole thing in one day, for $5 the train will bring in all the camping gear you want. You have to be at Needleton Station (11 miles) by 3:00pm but that is not a problem.

Just an idea, it is nice to spread out an awsome canyon if you can. You will have more energy for the box if you decide to run it.

As far the rapid names; the gardien is the first nasty river wide whole with the move on the right on the wall. (at these flows) I'm not sure wich one Red Rocks is but Mandetory Thrasher is about 3/4 of the way down with the drop center/left with the rock under it. Sorry, these descriptions suck. Good Luck.

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