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Old 05-23-2011   #1
denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 21
What's up with the lower toas box?

Still super low (219), especially for this time of year. Anyone been on it at this level, or know why it's so low? Is it worth running yet?

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Old 05-23-2011   #2
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,407
not worth the drive at these levels.

needs to be above 1000 for much action in lower box.

was out there last week, locals told us not much snow in the Rio Grande drainage and their guess was most of the water was being taken by CO farms upstream of the Box.

Pilar was around 400 cfs and barely runnable unless you are in a very small raft, IK or kayak.

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Old 05-23-2011   #3
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 614
The TJ Bridge gage better reflects the flows in the lower Box. Itís at the takeout and not 30 miles upstream like Cerro.

Peak snowmelt from Colorado hasnít happened yet. Granted a lot of the flow gets diverted before reaching the Box, but Iím expecting the flow to get to 1000 CFS in the next few weeks.

Here's low water video that's been posted before:
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Old 05-23-2011   #4
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 57
Unlike most of the west where there is massive amounts of snow, snowpack in the Rio Grande Drainage is less than 50% of normal so don't expect much of a season for the Box.
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Old 05-23-2011   #5
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The SWE peak was 30% below normal, but now the SWE is average:
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Old 05-23-2011   #6
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 84
Cadster is correct. It won't be epic, but it will definitely go up some. Almost all the Box's water (with the exception of the Red River and Rio Hondo, comes from Colorado. Wolf Creek and Silverton are both somewhat close to branches of the headwaters. Check out how much snow they got last week. I know it snowed down here in Santa Fe in town on Thursday/Friday very lightly. The general basin snowpack is a little better indication for tributaries.
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Old 05-23-2011   #7
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ebbing, flowing..., CO, NM
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 239
ok, so here is the deal... the box is runnable in hard boats down to about 350cfs... but you really need 550 for a raft. & yeah, low water box trips are loooong days of lots of paddling (also heads up, it's been epic windy down here this spring.) The race course is totally runnable down to nothing (I have personally worked it commercially down to 147cfs, that was in 2002, & this season is looking very reminiscent of that one... we peaked in March at about 650... it's been fluctuating between 250 & 515 since... ouch.
ok, so whats up with the water? well heres whats up, the upper Rio Grande basin is at %80 of snow pack & is flowing just fine... the lower Rio Grande basin is only at %30 of snow pack... so yeah, the tributaries that feed the box are not flowing. Now, the Rio Grande water compact is relatively effective (as far as water compacts go,) because it works on a sliding scale, if there is less water in general, we all get less water... so CO owes so many acre feet down stream to TX & NM (less this year cuz there is less to go round,) BUT... CO doesn't give a flying bleep about when they send it & how it affects river recreators... SO, they sent most of what they owed down stream all through Feb & March! (btw, it was lovely then, 650 cfs & warm sunny days! glad I caught some of it!) But yeah, I don't think we are gonna see a box season... it has gotten teasingly close a few time & dropped right back down. :P I think unfortunately we are in for a desperately low water year on the Rio this year.
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Old 05-23-2011   #8
denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 21
Thanks for the beta, much appreciated. Won't be making the drive any time soon.
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Old 06-09-2011   #9
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 614
Over 1000 CFS and still rising.
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Old 06-09-2011   #10
Farmington, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 10
Hey all, just a heads up, River Mamma is totally right but a crew of us ran it last August at about 220 CFS in Hard Shell Kayaks, It was actually surprisingly fun. Worth the Drive, unfortunatly not, but we only had to portage a small section (about 20ft) of Powerline, and Pinball was really fun at that low level. We were running in play boats, pin potential is high and not lots of play so Creek boats or River runner would have been a better choice. The whole thing had a class III Creeky wilderness feel to it. If you find yourself around the lower Box at those flows and nothing else is running near by It is worth the effort, plus we were the only ones in there.

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