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Old 04-24-2013   #1
Bayou's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 198
San Juan River: 2013 trip p/report & photos

Alright buzzards, gauges at Farmington and Durango are both climbing and it's almost May so I venture to guess that the San Juan is going to be hitting real good over the next month or so. And by "good" I mean anything over 750 cfs.

I've rafted Mother Juan three times since 2009 and not once have I hit it over 700 cfs. Grabbed a cancellation May 3rd from Sand Island and am praying for some water.

Anyone ever camp at the Sand Island launch before? How is it compared to camping at the Mexican Hat launch?

Also, can anyone give some side-hike suggestions and campsite recommendations between Sand Island and Mexican Hat? Anyone camp at Pouroff Campsite before?

Thinking about checking out River House Ruin... is it worth it?

I've always launched from Mexican Hat so I've never seen the 27 miles upstream of 'hat. Any info would be appreciated.

Lastly, I challenge you to post the most badass pictures of Mother Juan you can dig up.

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Old 04-24-2013   #2
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GF, Montana
Paddling Since: 1983
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Sand Island is a standard loop camp area up stream of the put in. Nice enough, but remember, you're in canyon country and it's all wonderful. MH on the other hand is a concrete and sand ramp with a pooper and garbage recepticle. The upper 27 miles is worth it, many pertoglyphs/pictographs and river house is worth the short hike. If you have 700cfs do it and don't look back.

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Old 04-24-2013   #3
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camping at sand island is far superior to mexican hat.

i have also camped at pour over before too. very cool spot. i plan on stopping there on my trip in june

this is andy and brett

Oh! I don't take it lightly! I've always got to know
There's an old lion a roarin' n the river down below
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Old 04-24-2013   #4
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Denver, Colorado
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Thanks for the info.

... and nice Big Horn!
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Old 04-24-2013   #5
Pugetopolis, Washington
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River House Ruin is very cool and worth a stop. Need to keep an eye out for it on river right. Sand Island is I don't understand why anyone would launch from MH,unless you had time constraints. The petroglyphs at SI are very cool too. First time I did it was at 500cfs,never got stuck,luckily. Can happen though. The river still has decent current for as flat as it is too. I enjoyed it at low water
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Old 04-25-2013   #6
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Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
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Sand island is a real campground. There are some petroglyphs right by the campground, downstream side. Way better than staying at Mexican hat. River house is definately worth the short hike. Butler wash, upstream of river house, has nice petroglyphs. Chinle wash, on the Navajo side, is supposedly a nice hike with ruins and petroglyphs. I haven't been there yet, going to check it out on my may 21 launch though.
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Old 04-25-2013   #7
Thronton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
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Just got off the river last Saturday (at a mere 400CFS at one point).

Definitely stop at River House. It's a short hike from the river and worth the hike. Some of the petroglyphs on river right are also short hikes from the river and worth stopping for.

Honnaker is a good camp and hike. You can hike to the rim from there if you are so inclined and have the time (we've never ad the time but have hiked parts of it).

We also stayed at John's Canyon, and it's not too bad.

Slickhorn B and C are good camps and have access to a good hike up through the canyon there. It's an old prospecting site from oil shale days, and there's a nice tenaja for swimming in if it's warm.

Grand Gulch is also pretty cool for hiking near the end. We camped at Steer Gulch, but stopped for a short hike on this last trip. We also did a short hike in Steer Gulch.
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Old 04-25-2013   #8
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Denver, Colorado
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Duckies on the San Juan are a lot more fun when you bring you right kind.
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Old 04-25-2013   #9
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Grand Junction, Colorado
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River House is definitely worth it and Chinle Wash is sweet! Make sure to get a permit from the Navajo Nation to go up Chinle to see Baseball Man.
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"If you boat with your mouth open in the wind and put your tongue against the roof of your mouth, its impossible to pronounce a word that begins with the letter 's'."
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Old 05-27-2013   #10
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 25
Which camps for big groups

Which camps from Sand Island to Mexican Hat would be best for a group of 24 (with lots of kids)?

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