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Old 03-14-2011   #1
Austin, Texas
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 9
San Juan - Early July

Considering a San Juan trip with a July 4 put-in, Sand Island to Clay Hills. We expect water will be low enough for open canoes. Plan is to take the kids (7 & 8 years). Worried about the heat and bugs. How bad is the heat and does it cool down at night? How bad are the bugs?
Thanks in advance.

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Old 03-14-2011   #2
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 178
We did a 4th of July trip about 15 yrs ago and it was religiously hot. We had good flow due to some rains or something. While we were on the water life was good. Kids were in and out of the water constantly. It's an east west oriented canyon with red-black walls so it has an oven like aspect at night. Camps can be exposed so tarps are a must. Wet down the rock or sand you are sleeping on. At bedtime the rock was still hot to the touch.
I might choose to go at a cooler time if I had the chance but don't regret the experience.

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Old 03-14-2011   #3
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 178
Oh yeah - bring a bug tent for the young uns to hang in while you rig/shuttle at Sand Island. After that the bugs weren't so bad.
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Old 03-14-2011   #4
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 198
We've done July trips the last two years and plan to again this year. We've never had terrible bug problems.

The sun and heat are more or less constant. 360-degree wide-brim hats are a must. I also bring a few white towels with me to dunk in the water and lay across my legs when we're paddling. The white color reflects the most sunlight possible and you get some nice evaporative cooling action right on the legs. Everyone I went with last year is bringing the towels now.

We're putting in at Mexican Hat July 4th... if you haul some butt on the river we might see you.
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Old 03-17-2011   #5
Austin, Texas
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 9
Thanks to everyone for the info. I especially like the towel idea for the legs. With canoes, I am unsure how I could add shade.
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Old 03-17-2011   #6
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 136
Originally Posted by earlyd View Post
Thanks to everyone for the info. I especially like the towel idea for the legs. With canoes, I am unsure how I could add shade.
The answer is right in front of you. Mexican Hat = Sombrero
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Old 03-21-2011   #7
Unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1896
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 94
If you haven't done the two Green River trips (GRSP/Ruby - Mineral, Mineral - Spanish) yet, you might want to reconsider. We did the SJ with young kids in two tandem canoes, so yes, it can be done, but we did it after the Green trips. The Green is a more forgiving river for newbies, though it will still require you to have your skit together. Bugs will be worse on the Green. Mineral - Spanish is a nicer trip, and the Mineral road will be open end of this month.

An excellent absolute beginner canoe trip is Green River State Park to Mineral. The park is a very nice park, with showers, grass and a humungos boat ramp where you can take all day to organize things before you put in. Next day and 1/2 is Utah ugly, but after that the canyon is great. We used Moki Mac for shuttle, and Bob Quist picked us up exactly on time at Mineral, and left us off next to our van at GRSP. We had made reservations for a campsite before we left, so 15 minutes after we were back the tent was up and the wife/kids were headed for a shower. Moki Mac will also do the shuttle from Mineral back to Ruby if you want to avoid the first day of ugly-open.
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Old 03-25-2011   #8
ilanarama's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 85
We did it last year in mid-July and it was HOT. It didn't cool down much at night. A few skeeters around Slickrock and down. The best thing about the heat was that it drove the animals to the river; we saw more bighorn that trip than we ever had before.

We wear light-colored thin long sleeves and long pants. You can dip in and get wet and then do some evaporative cooling. Also protects from the sun.

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