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Old 12-31-2014   #11
Cottonwood, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 137
Mind you, that was the Upper Verde run. The higher flow and bigger rapids in the lower sections make running inflatables a virtue.

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Old 12-31-2014   #12
Flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 383
Hey Dusto,
Glad to know its boatable that low. I assumed it would need more. I'm a little confused about your 'no inflatables of any kind' comment. Were you scraping every inch of the way at that level? It's obvious to me why your 13' cat was too big, but packrafts do better than kayaks with tiny volumes of water. I'd think a light ducky would do better than a canoe as well. Is there something about the nature of the run that favors a hard plastic boat?

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Old 12-31-2014   #13
Cottonwood, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 137
Yes - the narrow, hard plastic boats slide over and thru the tight rocky channels quite nicely, while the inflatables (especially my ridiculously long waterlined Pack Cat) will slide onto a rock and inevitably get hung on it, requiring to get out and push or pull thru. But yes, my rig was dragging (or being drug) most of the trip. I was trying to imagine running my Tomcat thru that section (I know a lot of people have done it), and figure it would be better because it's smaller, but still wouldn't work as well as a canoe. I would also recommend using a single blade canoe paddle over a double blade kayak paddle, that way you're not running half the length of your paddle into all the overhanging brush that lines 70% of that run.t
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Old 12-31-2014   #14
Cottonwood, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 137
A pack raft could be a totally different animal, hard for me to say because I have no experience with them.
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Old 01-04-2015   #15
RiverMamma's Avatar
ebbing, flowing..., CO, NM
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 239
Originally Posted by lmyers View Post
Gila? Anyone know the elf minimum for the Wilderness run? That might be something to experience before it disappears...
I once put on the Gila in February at about 95 cfs in a 12' Avon... It was brutal... but it was an experience I'll never forget! (I was also about 16 years old...) Another member of our crew was rowing a shiny new 14' SOTAR & she rocked it! (her biggest issue was her long oars.) We only had one popped boat, and it only took us two days longer than expected, and it only snowed a little bit... Gorgeous though! Definitely hop on the bandwagon of voicing the importance of the Gila if you haven't been already! They are trying to dam it... and at this point it looks like they're winning. :'(

Otherwise, really, just about anything is boatable at just about any level, as long as your willing to play rock dance games! I have duckied the Verde at about 50 cfs, I have worked the Rio Grande racecourse commercially down to 147 cfs in 12'rs, run Browns Canyon at 240 cfs in a 14'er, (worked it commercially down to about 280 cfs in 13'rs.) ELFing is totally a personal thing more than a craft or flow thing, (within reason.)

Your biggest concern this time of year really is ice, which does make AZ generally a better winter option, though if you check the weather for long warm spells, the Chama could totally rock.

Journeys of a River Mamma Blog "Ever onward, ever forward, ever down the River!"- Ed Abbey
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