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Old 11-02-2012   #11
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,928
Originally Posted by cataraftgirl View Post
Deso or San Juan. Deso has more rapids, San Juan is more mellow with a few rapids. Both have great canyon scenery and good camps. Is the on Deso a done deal? It sure will be an improvement over the old system....goofy & frustrating.
I'll miss the system based out of Price. The systems work well for the intitial lottery but SUCK for cancellations, follow-ups and any problems experienced along the way (which is simply bound to happen). Deso is odd until you get use to the fact that half the people cancel their trips. We ALWAYS get the permits for the weeks we want, you just need flexibility of a day on either side. We have floated Deso 2-3 times a year for the past 5 years without any troubles.

The San Juan is also a great option, depending on the time of year. You couldn't pay me to be down there in the summer.

I wouldn't recommend the upper Dolores for newer crew. Most of the time the first day is a rock dodging ping pong alley and then you get to Son of- and Snaggletooth which are both either big class IIIs or Class IV rapids with significant consequences for gear and equipment. Lower can be great but when it runs everyone and their mom decides to float that week. Camps can be a nightmare (advice from a river solitude junkie).

Ruby-Horsethief can be a great flatwater trip, even in the summer as there are camps with a ton of shade (i.e. stay the F away from Black Rocks in the summer).

The Green below Flaming Gorge (A-B-C) can be great fun and has fabulous fishing. 2-3 day options with great camping. The first day has some of the clearest water in the region.....thousands of trout per mile.


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Old 11-02-2012   #12
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,120
I've had the opposite experience with the old Deso system. I've never liked it. I found it very difficult to work with. I hate calling the Price ranger office and getting a constant busy signal. Every time I've seen a cancellation Deso date on the calendar and called to get it, it's not available because they haven't updated the calendar. I finally gave up trying. I've really liked the system for the Main Salmon. Cancellations are very easy to get, and you have access to the website 24/7. No phone calls to make during business hours, just see a cancellation date you want and grab it on the spot. I wasn't sure about the at first, but after a couple years of using it, I like it a lot.
I've only done the San Juan in spring when the temps are reasonable and the water level
is decent.

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Old 11-02-2012   #13
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 78
Apply for a San Juan permit (mid-May to early June the best flows/weather conditions). If you don't draw, which I usually don't, just keep checking their website for cancellations, then jump on one that works for you when it becomes available. Call the Monticello office first thing in the morning and be prepared to call multiple times before getting an answer. They only take calls from 8am - noon, M-F. Only the lower section has any significant rapids (and only one at that), but the scenery, camping and hiking are outstanding.

You can also try the Chama during the non-permit season if the flows are adequate. Late April or early-mid September are best unless you are drawn in the lottery or can pick up a cancellation during the permit season (May 1 through Labor Day). Dam releases tend to be from noon Fri to noon Sun.
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Old 11-05-2012   #14
colorado, Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 84
Mellow trip

A friend of mine did the Chama early this summer and it is a very mellow, but pretty trip. Two nights on the water and one at the put in was perfect. There is no real whitewater to speak of, but decent flow without to much dead flat water.

If they are not releasing to much water and churning up the lake, then the fishing can be off the hook from what I heard. When we where there the river was almost 1000 cfs it was BROWN TOWN big time. Blown out with no fishing to be had. that is my take it on it
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Old 11-05-2012   #15
colorado, Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 84

Oh I second Restrac200. The green is a great two night trip as well. Super sweet clear water and great fishing, if you are a good fisherman. I suck so I did not catch much, but there is ALOT of fish in those sections. Again, another very scenic and mellow river. One thing though, there is one somewhat techy class 3 in the middle of the trip, but that is it. A few pin rocks at the bottom that could get you if you are not paying attention or miss a stroke, like I did this summer) Not to bad though really. Last 5 miles of the trip is just a beautiful narrow canyon. I want to go back.

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