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Old 04-26-2010   #1
johnson city, Tennessee
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1
looking to run the san raphael(black box)

Hey guys/gals hopin to find someone to take us through the black box section of the san raphael. We are passing through on our graduation road trip and this run seems like it would be a memorable one...if you disagree, recommendations? Would love to hear from someone about this.. we will be passing through in may 20ish so let me know..btw I am experienced class v boater friend has ran some class v rivers I would say he is a SOLID 4-4+ boater.. thanks

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Old 04-28-2010   #2
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 33
I ran the San Rafael about five years ago. I was really excited to do something different and new. A Front Range friend heard about it and thought we should check it out as it was at a good level, slightly below 1000 cfs I think. A bunch of Class V types somehow got wind of the plan and decided to invite themselves along. Everybody was geared for a big two-day adventure filled with classic drops on a desert river. It didn't quite turn out that way. After it was all said and done, I'd say that I was underwhelmed by the experience. Highlights of the run included a big river-wide seive right off the bat. It was easy to spot and go around. Contrary to my imagination, very few sections of the Black Boxes are sheer-walled for any length of time. A bit of wood was jammed up at a minor drop. Ran the drop anyway. We walked over another log-jam. The largest drop is in the second Black Box. It was barely runnable because of the low flow. Higher flow might be tricky as well because of a rock that blocks most of the channel after the initial drop-in. Upon exiting the last canyon, we paddled for a long time on flat water around endless bends. It took a long time to get to our shuttle vehicles. In summary, it was a scenic float interrupted by a few inconvenient obstacles. Better to do the upstream run and not worry what's ahead. I think it's called the Grand Canyon of the San Rafael or something like that.

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Old 04-28-2010   #3
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 273
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it's a beautiful run, but is 75% flatwater. Your buddy should be fine if he's a 4+ boater. There are a few sieves that are easily portaged and recognized. The lower canyon is harder to scout things in, but for the most part is no big deal. I would do it again, but would plan on bringing my own personal 12 pack of beer to drink at camp and on the paddle out
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