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Old 03-09-2012   #1
Phoenix, Arizona
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 9
Help on where to whitewater kayak

So I finally did it, I bought a Tomcat Tandem (thanks to someone on here pointing out they were 25% of at NSR).

I have gone whitewater rafting a couple of times but on guided 1 day trips in Colorado, you know... the ride the school bus with 40 people you have never met before and get assigned to a raft and a guide, they serve lunch and you raft some more and then they give you a ride back to your car. That is the extent of my experience but I loved it so I bought a kayak.

I am from Phoenix, so my first question is about the Salt River. I have read that you can kayak with just the one day permit on some sections of the river, does anyone know more details? Is this going to be too technical for me as I am a novice. I would also like to bring my 13 year old son along and he has never done this. I purchased life jackets when I bought the kayak. Is this safe for my son? I am guessing it might depend on the water flow.

Are there other areas in South Western Colorado and Southern Utah that are good for the family and don't require permits that have to be won in a lottery?

Can you kayak through any part of the Grand Canyon without 'scoring' a permit in the lottery system?

Any advice would be appreciated!

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Old 03-09-2012   #2
Kayenta, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 95
Get Experience...

Good purchase. We own two of these badboys and they got us on the water and got us hooked so we had to buy a 14 foot raft after about 3 seasons with duckies.

That being said, you need some good quality experience before jumping in to whitewater. There are numerous lakes in and arounf PHX that may be a great place for you to get the rig wet and see how it handles before putting on a river. Go up North and check out Lake Pleasant which is beautiful and often not that crowded. Multiple nesting pairs of balds also.

The salt that you refer to is a technical and serious wilderness run that is probably one you will want to wait a season or so before trying.

Though it is clearly a party float and filled with college folks, the lower salt just out of town could be a nice intro to moving water in your new real rapids, but a nice float to get aquanted with rivers.

Next, I would travel up north a little further and run the the shops in and around Sedona, search on here and get Paddling Arizona guide book...the verde offers class II and III runs to build up to.

Further north in Utah, there is the San Juan which is permitted, but you could easily get a date to do your first over nighter if you are flexible with the time frame.

After you have built up through these, the Moab daily is a great float within a day's drive and offers fun and splashy rapids...possibly this could be a great goal for you by the end of the summer or so.

the Animas Daily is a fun and splashy run, and at low water will be ideal for you...a good July/August trip up there would be great for you. Above that in Pagosa Springs there are short flatwater runs that are scenic and would be great practice

The point your way up, and get familiar with youir gear, your skills and introduce the boy to the water life. You have made a smart purchase, enjoy.


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Old 03-09-2012   #3
smauk2's Avatar
Near water (hopefully), Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 770
White Water of the Southern Rockies has detailed information on hundreds of runs in Colorado and surrounding states. It also has a lot of really pretty pictures.

Whitewater of the Southern Rockies: The New Testament to Class I-V+ [Book]

I'd also recommend taking a swift water rescue course, or paddling with experienced boaters.
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