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Old 02-10-2012   #11
TriBri1's Avatar
Tigard, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 768
One other note on the water guns, they are a great way to soak down your cooler during the day to keep it cool. I also use them to clean off my boat, I am kinda anal when it comes to large amounts of sand and grit all over the decks.

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Old 02-10-2012   #12
Minden, Nevada
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 10
Been on the desogray 4X in all flows but I would suggest skipping camping at the put-in since the road is very good (as of 2010) and just launch the first day. Ditto the bugs but again you're going early in the season though this has been adry year so far.My suggestion is to make the meals simple the first two days since cooking/eating with bugs on the hunt is real drag so something like pre-made chili that just requires heating up. Great family trip with fun wwater. We bring old cotton long-sleeve shirts (thrift store variety) that we keep soaked to cover legs and arms. The main thing is to keep the sun off the kids (and adults). Keep dry box handy with lots of snacks and liquids. Yeah water guns very fun especially if you have duckies around! Plan a layover-day at Rock Ck as one suggestion. Nice rock art once you leave the bugs (can't recall name but in guide book)- have been with kids from age 8 to now teens and they always have a great time. Have fun!

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Old 02-10-2012   #13
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,120
May & June are always prime mosquito season on Deso. Severity & timing of the hatch varies slightly from year to year. Plan for it.....bug spray, bug net hats & jackets, bug candles, screen house for the river. Make sure you reserve one of the screen houses at the idea ever. Someone suggested a layover at Rock to the ranger first about that, as you aren't allowed to camp within a certain distance of Rock Creek (private property). +1 on scouting Joe Hutch rapid, it's the biggest one on the trip.
Have a great trip.
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Old 02-10-2012   #14
The Russian
kazak4x4's Avatar
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
There is a camp site about 1/2 mile down from Rock Creek that is very popular. I personally prefer the Log Cabin site right before Rock Creek. Then the 3rd morning we stop at Rock Creek to fill the sun showers at the creek and it's good to go for the shower.

A couple of things I just remembered that weren't mentioned.

1. Get an indian permit, it's worth it if it's a busy day. If you camp on the left side of the river, you have to have an Indian Permit. Here is url: Desolation Canyone Camping Permit Form just order it and print the check out page to show the Ranger.

2. Be on top of your gear! Make sure to go through all the gear on the permit list. Rangers are getting very strict down there and I have been given an anal exam twice now. Make sure glue is fresh, correct material for your boat in repair kit, extra life jackets, extra oars, all nine yards, check the permit.

3. The mosquitoes come about a week after the river peaks. So you can watch the flow and see how bad it will be. If the river is rising, there will be no bugs practically. I've been down there in the middle of July (most buggiest time) and it really wasn't that bad. Have nets and you are good to go.

Hope all this info helps.

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Old 02-10-2012   #15
., ...
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 207
Love this float, I hope you enjoy it! Amazing scenery! The rangers are pretty easy going at the put in as long as you have the gear as kazak4x4 said, I would hope they use lube if you get an anal exam. Make sure your wearing the life jackets after Jack Creek, the ranger got a little upset with us since we selectively used them, there is a lot of easy going water and its temping to set them aside when its hot. Depending on how many days your out there, good cooler management is advised. I like to cover mine with a wet, bright colored towl to keep the sun off it (can't afford the extra paco to cover my cooler).
Wish I was going this year!
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Old 02-10-2012   #16
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Lewistown, middle of MT
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 222
Great tips. We have 2 family's going with us who don't have rafts, but have experience - so they are renting the package from River Runners - so we'll have all the required equipment. I did get the Uintah permit for camping. My kids are fair haired irish girls from Montana - so we are on the skin protection.
I've heard epic tales of the wind in deso - nobody has said anything. Do you follow the sage advise get up early and be done rafting early or can we plan on sleeping in?
Being a nurse I will bring my own lubricant for the exam. Is it worse than the Grand?
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Old 02-10-2012   #17
The Russian
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SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
I used to think Deso was laid back, it depends on the ranger. This year there is a new ranger and you know how rookies are, always have to go by the book. I don't blame them though, just have the gear according to the permit and easily accessible to show them and you won't have any trouble.

Let's say if you do a Deso trip and you get no wind one day, you can count yourself lucky. So ya if you can push off in the morning, get to camp by 3pm and enjoy your stay. I hate launching at 11a-noon, and then pushing through all the wind. First of all you have to lower your sun shade, so your family will get sunburned and wind burned and you will be tired to lift a beer can later at the camp.

I've learned to plan quick breakfasts in the morning and then having bigger lunches and huge dinners.
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Old 02-10-2012   #18
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 111
The times I've been I haven't really seen wind be that much of an issue. It does tend to blow in the afternoon (sometimes actually downriver). Although my perception of wind may be skewed after enduring a hurricane on the San Juan.

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Old 02-11-2012   #19
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 198
I feel your pain, rbrain... crazy wind always catches me on the last day or two of the San Juan. Built up some massive arm muscles pushing through it last summer.
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Old 02-11-2012   #20
BackCountry's Avatar
Gunnison, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1970
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 86
I also feel your pain. A couple of years ago on our March San Juan trip the ranger told us we were to expect a "wind event". He said he had seen fully loaded 16' gear boats picked up and flipped up river in the kind of wind we were expected to get. We laughed having seen big winds on the river before. Well we got to the Narrows and the "wind event" hit with no where to pull off the river - 15' vertical walls and no place to camp. The wind blew sustained 80 mph at least up river making 3' white caps. Took almost 3 hrs of extreme hard rowing to make it 1/2 mile. Couldn't set up a tent when we got to the first place we could pull off the river. I just wrapped myself and two kids in the rain fly, laid on the ground and PRAYED for it to stop. One of the top 5 worst weather events of my life. The ranger wasn't lying about our "wind event".

I've seen it blow up river that last day out on Lake Powell from Grand Gulch too many times. Now I pack my small 6 hp motor on the boat and break it out for such days. It can really ruin the trip for some people when you have a miserable last day exhausted from fighting the wind having to get to the take out because camping is reserved and there is no place to pull out.

If you get an up river wind in the first 30 miles of Desolation at low water flows you will be wishing for a motor.

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