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Old 07-08-2013   #1
Sherwood, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1
MFS August 21

Hi all,

I've been checking threads on the MFS regarding low water. I got a permit for late august but the flow is looking to be quite low. Some in my group are grumbling a bit about projected flow since none of us is familiar with this section. Most posts are in reference to the first 25 miles from boundary. Is the section from Indian Creek down not a problem at low flows? I've never done the MF and I'm hoping to get on the river regardless of flow. Any advice would be welcome. I have considered IK for the first 25 and flying in all the weight. Please advise if you have any ideas.


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Old 07-08-2013   #2
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 535
basically, the low water difficulty goes in stages... the first 5 miles until below velvet falls are the most technical and demanding then it drops down another notch in "ease" until the pistol creek/indian creek area then it's pretty straight forward for any heavier loads for any competent rower on a low, water technical river.

an IK seems like overkill conservative to me if you go off the top. lightly loaded rafts are fine...again assuming competence in rather technical water, a willingness to get stuck in a few spots and nail some rocks pretty good.

personally, if people are leery of the upper 25 then just fly in people and all, avoid the "stress", enjoy the float,see how that goes for your group and then be able to make up your own mind for future trips on tackling the upper 25. no shame in that. at low flows, 75 miles is a nice casual pace with time for side trips, fishing,ect. anyway.

also, there is a dvd available through adventure sun valley on the river run off the top at 1.70 you can buy for your own reference too. keep in mind cameras always make the gradient look a little mellower than it really is though.

ultimately, it's for you to decide though. nobody here knows your skills or lack there of for you and your group.

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Old 07-08-2013   #3
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,121
We fly in to Indian Creek most years for a fall trip. It's a great trip, and there's no shame in missing the upper 25 miles if you or your group don't want that stress. Any time spent on the MF is well worth it.
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Old 07-11-2013   #4
Eureka, California
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 34
In 2007 we did the Middle Fork trip with the gauge at 1.66. We had a 14 foot raft, 16 foot tandem canoe, solo canoe, and one IK. Because of the canoes, we couldn't fly in to Indian Creek.

I think we were on the water no later than 10 AM from Boundary Creek, and it took us all day to get down to Trail Side Camp at mile 6.9. Our biggest problem was Sulfur Slide Rapid and The Chutes, the tandem canoe portaged The Chutes. We had packed really light with the knowledge that was going to be bony, but we got hung up a lot that first day and a half. Our oarsmen was not a happy camper,

I'm sure the river has changed character in the last six years, but do have fun! And back then they were just starting to have bear problems in camps so be prepared. We used ammonia underneath a tarp that covered the cooler-offloaded, and didn't have any problems
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Old 07-17-2013   #5
Jackson County, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 45
low water trip

I was on the MFS from 7/3-7/9. The level was at 2.4 feet and dropping at the Boundary creek gauge. We put on the day after a heavy rain storm hit the canyon so the water was as black as coffee. It made it very difficult to see rocks and it took us about 6 hours the first day to make it 13 miles to our camp. We had 10 craft in our group ranging from an IK to 16' rafts and cat boats and all of them got hung up at least a few times the first couple days. I'm sure the water will be clear when you go, but be prepared to manhandle your boats from time to time. It'll get easier below Indian Creek. If you're up for an adventure and don't mind some work, go from the top. Just pack light. If you prefer an easier ordeal, fly in to Indian creek. It's a great trip regardless. Enjoy!
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Old 07-17-2013   #6
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 74
Low water trip. MFS

I have a permit for 8/5 and am watching the flows closely. It's at 2.09 now. I would love to see it at 2.0 for our trip. I'll let you know how is goes. My plan now is to pack little and enjoy the upper section. Any advise or thoughts would be great for me as well. Thanks.
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Old 07-21-2013   #7
slamkal's Avatar
vancouver, Washington
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,146
Originally Posted by beanack View Post
I have a permit for 8/5 and am watching the flows closely. It's at 2.09 now. I would love to see it at 2.0 for our trip. I'll let you know how is goes. My plan now is to pack little and enjoy the upper section. Any advise or thoughts would be great for me as well. Thanks.
There are good regression tables for this river. Just shooting from the hip you will probably be at 1.8. I know it's runnable at that level just run your tubes a bit soft and remember its the journey not the destination

I did a 2.1 float on an 18' leopard and would do it again and again at that level. Any much lower and I'd want to go much lighter and smaller
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Old 07-31-2013   #8
denver, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 4
hi. saw you have a permit for 8/5 for the middle fork. i just quit my job and start another aug 19 and would be very interested if you had an open space. i am a former emt/whitewater rafting guide w swiftwater 1&2. i live in denver near city park so we could meet ahead of time and i tend to be drama free and a light drinker.


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