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Old 08-08-2009   #1
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 168
Bluff to Mexican Hat - how low is too low?

I am putting in Thursday at Sand Island with 2 other people for 3 days on the river down to Mexican Hat. We will be in a small oar frame cat (12.5 feet), a JPW Fat Cat and a kayak. Our load will be light versus our capacity

It is looking like it might get as low as 400 cfs. I imagine this is doable, but how much lower before we need to go elsewhere?

Any rapids that become of greater concern at really low water?



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Old 08-08-2009   #2
Coon's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 48

4oo cfs seems considerably low for that section of river.
I've been down there with a 13 footer when the gauge
read just around 800 and it was very shallow and we did
drag in several places. I'm sure it's doable, but honestly
I probably would opt out cause I would be worried about boat abuse.

With regard to rapids, everything is read and run (in my opinion).
The only 'real' rapid is Eight Foot rapid and it's a cinch, just hug
the wall on river right, and then make your way back center to
avoid some big holes. The only rapids that become more dicey
at lower levels are downstream of mexican hat, and since your
not paddling that section, there of no concern.

Ps. bring your bug juice, and a portable AC if you have one.
It's freakin hot on the San Juan!!!!


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Old 08-08-2009   #3
wildh2onriver's Avatar
irvine, California
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,197
You'll be fine. I've ran at less than that in an 18' Aire Leopard--had to push a couple of times in the braided areas on the lower end. Go light.
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Old 08-10-2009   #4
DurangoSteve's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,907
Good news for you: BuRec bumped up the release from Navajo to 1100 cfs from 900 on Friday. That should help float yer boat.
You can never step into the same river; for new waters are always flowing on to you. - Heraclitus of Ephesus
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