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Old 03-15-2005   #1
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 45
Westwater Question

I am going to westwater this weekend for the first time. There is a small group of us that have never done the trip. We are going to do a two day and camp at little D.

My question is how do I find little D. I have been told that it is easy to miss. Any help would be great

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Old 03-15-2005   #2
Caspian's Avatar
Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882
Slight bend to the right at the top of a rapid - giant eddy on river right, rock bar on river left. River is really wide there, hole is right of center. Don't get discouraged on the ferry out to the hole - it's quite doable in a short boat, you just need to do it right; experiment with taking different lines out to it. It's a pain, but the hole is money.

If you ask one of the rangers, they can give you very detailed info on how not to miss Little D. The hole should be decent at this level.

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Old 03-15-2005   #3
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883
Caspian is right -- the rangers can give you a pretty good description of how to locate the camps. Since there are two campsites at the Little D, maybe a bit different description will help.

You'll be on a long flat stretch, and then a large canyon will come in on river right. That will be Little Hole, and a small campsite will be obvious on river left. About 100 yards after you pass this campsite, the current makes a slight left turn with a sizeable rock face on river right. The current goes into a large eddy on river left ( the giant eddy on river right that Caspian mentions actually is below the second half of the rapid), and then the river turns right. The upper Little D camp is on river left in this first big eddy, which is right above the first half of the Little D rapid. There's a sandy beach that had a lot of tammies the last time I was there, but behind the tammies is a very nice camp. If you are assigned the Upper Little D site, you are home for the night.

If you are assigned the Lower Little D camp, then run the first half of the rapid and eddy out left on the gravel bar -- before you get to the portion of the rapid that has the wave the kayakers play in. This lower camp is back from the gravel bar, and is sort of a two-level location, with a nice spot for a kitchen down below, and lots of nice bed-down spots both high and low.

If you miss this pullout, you can also eddy out left below the second half of the rapid and carry your gear a little farther from the lower end of the gravel bar.

For that it's worth.

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Old 03-15-2005   #4
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Salida, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 516

As you approach Little D you will pass thru a narrows of darker rock that is
hard shiny and fluted. Look up and you will see a smooth red sandstone wall.
That red wall will slant down and the dark rock will submerge below the river.
You will come out into a wide area with a side canyon river right. All the way down stream river left is Little D beach. Another land mark is two towers side by side plastered right up against the wall just before the side canyon river right. You will also see towers and a small arch set back about 1/2 mile
river left just before the beach. The water is cold. Be prepared. Ferry left
as you pass Skull and Last Chance.
No amount of money is worth your free time!
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Old 03-15-2005   #5
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i get what the above posts are saying but it seems that a first timer may not. best advice seems to be ask the ranger but the way i think about it is that lil d is the first real rapid. correct me if i am wrong but it seems significantly bigger than any of the riffles above. after a number of riffles and some flat you approach a right turn, you should notice the camp on the left (upper lil d) as well as what seems like a real rapid. this is upper lil d. if you do somehow blow through the upper half without notice, it seems like the lower half is a dead give away. way bigger than anything above! eddy out left and drag your gear across the rocks and you will be rewarded with a fine camp. if you still feel lost after talking with the ranger, or are about to tear your hair out trying to remember all these posts, you can just stop at every camp you see as they are all marked with a wooden post and the name.

another thing to keep in mind is that both upper and lower lil d are large camps. if all the permits are taken and overnighting ( hard to believe they will be this time of year) a small group may be hard pressed to get lil d. try and get assigned and launch early. now for more confuson, if both camps are taken you are not hosed for play. get hades bar. this is the first camp after lil d on the right. kayakers can play in lil d and then leave their boats on the right at the bottom of the rapid. then they can hike over to hades and come back for boats and more play in the morning. the rafts will apreciate you not standing over them tapping your foot and looking at your watch while they shake off their hangovers and try to rig.
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Old 03-15-2005   #6
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883
Zbaird is right -- most would agree that Little D is the first real rapid of any consequence on the river.

Be aware that this time of year there may not be any campsite posts up. Unless BLM has changed procedures, the sign posts come out in the Fall and go back in after the high water in the Spring.

And yes, if you can't get either of the Little Ds, then Hades is a great camp. Kitchen right by the river and that great "honeymoon suite" in the black rocks up above. Miss that, though, and you are committed to running the rest of the rapids before you get to another approved campsite. That's when you get to practice that ever-popular "Skull Move".

For what it's worth.

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Old 03-15-2005   #7
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Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882
Little D doesn't really have consequences, but it is the first truly noticable rapid. Moreover, you will know it if you pass it up because any playboater in your group with 20/20 corrected vision will be weeping and moaning if they see that hole and don't get to it. In that case, eddy left ASAP and carry up to the lower site. But don't worry- the BLM boys know it cold and will steer you right.
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Old 03-15-2005   #8
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
You've got to be stoned to miss Little D. The map will show you it's a huge alluvial fan coming in from river left. It's a 1/4 mile long. Also first big surf wave is right there. Can't miss it.
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Old 03-15-2005   #9
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Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
Found some pics online that might interest you- this one has a photo of Little D campsite:

Pic of Skull from above:

Lead-in to Skull from the scout eddy:

Overview map:

Skull beat-down:
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Old 03-15-2005   #10
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 5

I heard it is always good to plan on having friends at the take-out if you miss it and have to paddle out!!

Preferable ones that have beer and firewood!!

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