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Old 04-10-2013   #1
Moon's Avatar
Silt, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 193
making deso a little longer

anyone have any info on launching from Ouray? boat ramp pics? how was the extra 30 something miles? Any good camps? I have a motor so not concerned about the flat water.

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Old 04-10-2013   #2
montrose, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 326
As I recall there are a few decent camps, but I don't remember where. I don't remember the "boat ramp," but I don't remember any problems there either. I think it is a popular place for oil lield truck to fill up with water.

As you float this section it gradually goes from open valley into a small canyon. It is a nice float, but I would avoid it like the plague during mosquito season.

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Old 04-10-2013   #3
Pugetopolis, Washington
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 767
Would JWPowell ask for boat ramp pics? Or good camps. You know it's flat,just go. Beats working.
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Old 04-10-2013   #4
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,406
You don't need the motor. Rig light and wear dry pants, there are lots of sandbars at 1,000-1500, not sure about higher flows. It's a beautiful stretch, lots of wildlife - you really should leave the motor at home.
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Old 04-10-2013   #5
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 63
pelican bay marina has one of the best cheeseburgers I have ever eaten. not too far from Ouray bridge!
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Old 04-14-2013   #6
Silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 8
If you're launching later in May, beware:

you likely know about bugs increasing as it gets warmer and water level rises.
A ranger there once told me biologists have measured the "insect biomass" on the Green -- Sand Wash and upstream, I think it was for early June time period -- it exceeds the biomass in the forests of South American rainforest and the Amazon River ....... whoa! That's a lot of bugs. Happy Travels to all.
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Old 04-14-2013   #7
mgpaddler's Avatar
Cottonwood Heights, Utah
Paddling Since: 1972
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 61
I went down from the Ouray Wildlife refuge in late April one year. There is a boat ramp near the headquarters. It is dirt or gravel but good shape. The birds were amazing but the wind was upstream and gale force at times. It is completely flat and not really all that scenic. I found a couple of places to camp on river right that had old cabins or corrals near by. There was a lot of noise from shooting and drill rigs along the way. Saw more Walmart prayer flags (plastic bags) than on most roadways through Utah. Bugs weren't bad but there were swarms of gnats at times. Probably wouldn't do it again but it was more fun than the asshole ranger at Sandwash.
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Old 04-14-2013   #8
Old Guy in a PFD
Tucson, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1967
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,022
Did that trip once. Once was enough. Waste of time and effort, that is unless you carry lots N lots of beer and consider bugs to be protein
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Old 04-30-2013   #9
CRG, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 10
Just got off Deso including the Ouray to Sand Wash section--14 ft raft, a tandem canoe and a ducky.
We launched at the Ouray bridge There supposedly is another launch in the wildlife refuge 6 miles upstream but our shuttle outfit (River Runners transport out of Vernal whom I highly recommend) said with the low water there is a drop off that would make launching difficult. There is a picture of it on the American Whitewater site but its many years old.
The section of the river itself is 30 miles of slow flatwater; we had to paddle fairly constantly to do 2.6 mph and had some wind the first day. The initial scenery is rather stark with low hills which slowly transitions to a steeper canyon. There were a number of cows the first 10 miles including a few dead ones on sandbars but at river level no human activity, machinery, shooting or anything else to intrude on the solitude. Accessible protected campsites seem rather limited. We camped on a sandbar of which there were many at our flow of ~3000 csf it looked like there may have been a few accessible protected benches on either side of the river (left requires Indian permit) around mile 112 on the map but we didn't look closely to be sure.
Is this section worth doing? It depends on why you float rivers I suppose. I liked it --you have the whole river to yourself, great solitude, sense of exploration, doing the John Wesley Powell thing, lots of birds and wildlife, and intense quiet (so skip the motor for sure) and get to experience a wonderful transition into a beautiful canyon.
I certainly would not do it during bug season however
And about the ranger at Sand Wash?--You hear stories about the Sand Wash rangers and you still have to check in and our ranger was quite helpful and congenial. He could have given us all sorts of grief since our canoe was packed more for Missouri beer float than a whitewater wilderness trip but he checked for the required equipment, went over the map with us and send us on our way without a lot of drama.
So in my book it's a worthwhile river experience to do at least once. But that's just me

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