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Old 06-03-2015   #1
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 4
Ruby Horsethief / 5 year Old

We are planning on doing Ruby Horsethief on the 18th of this month with our five year old. Is it possible to do this run in two days one night? We have Mee Corner reserved for the night of the 18th, which is at mile 13. Our little guy loves to camp and he's longest day on the water so far is about 8 miles.

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Old 06-03-2015   #2
Colorado Plateau Metropolis, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 42
I have done a few one nighters on Ruby-Horsethief. The water is running pretty fast right now, so it will be easy to put in the river miles.

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Old 06-03-2015   #3
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 4
Thanks for the info. The BLM's website states that good maximum flows for family trips is between 5,000 - 10,000. It looks like that it could be flowing around 25,000 - 30,000. Do you thing these flows are to high?
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Old 06-03-2015   #4
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
The issue isn't so much rapids on the trip but will be the fact the water is moving very swiftly and powerfully. If the flows are what you think they will be, you can have hydraulics and turbulence that could suck a child with PDF under and hold them if they were to fall out of a raft or into the water from shore and then be swept to the wrong place in the current. If you take the kids you'll need to be very wary around eddy lines and also be alert for boils. The water will also be fairly cold.

If you're an experienced boater with high water experience, you'll know what I'm talking about. If you're a relative novice or you haven't run peak runoff water, then expect the river to be moving about 3 or 4 times faster than you'd expect just from looking at the flatwater. The water will have big eddy lines and vortices that could suck a tube down to the water level (or possibly even flip an unlucky boat if the situation lines up just right), and boils that appear out of nowhere and could be a foot or two higher than the surrounding river.

Lots of folks will say, "It's just R-HT, it's Class I, what's the deal?" And lots of folks do it with no trouble. However you may be on the river at peak runoff. It's relatively low risk situation but could be very high consequence if a little kid gets tossed in when a tube gets sucked down on the edge of a boil or eddy line. And the places where someone is most likely to get tossed out of the boat will be the worst for someone that falls in.

Further down the river in Westwater Canyon, while swimming, I've been sucked under and held under by vortices on a part of the river that didn't have any rapids. At the time I was wearing a Type V PFD (like the commercial customers wear, w/ 25 lbs flotation).

Frankly, I wouldn't want to take a little kid on that kind of water due to the constant vigilance required while floating and while the kids are playing at the water's edge. Peak runoff isn't the time for a lazy float unless you've got experience in that kind of water. A month later R-HT should be a relatively care-free trip.

Be safe,

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 06-03-2015   #5
Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 471
Did it few days ago at 16K. (3) 4 year olds and (1) 3 year ol and many other kids. Totally fine.
Blackrocks section has a few eddyline boils and small whirlpools. We didnt think twice about it. But thats us.
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Old 06-03-2015   #6
wildh2onriver's Avatar
irvine, California
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,197
Mee Corner is my favorite camp, didn't get it 3 weeks ago. If you are reasonably competent on the sticks and have an adult to monitor your child on the boat -- you'll be fine.

Easy float with good current, you'll have no problem doing that stretch in two days.

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Old 06-03-2015   #7
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,929
If you do go, 2 days is very feasible.

On top of some of the hazards mentioned above is the fact that somer of the camps have swift water landings compared to the comfortable eddies of others. There are handful of camps I can think of that will require vigilance with kids.

Best of luck with your choice.

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Old 06-06-2015   #8
SummitSurfer's Avatar
Summit County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 435
I don't know how much it will help your little ones, but my 8 year old has a whistle on her vest for those "just in case" moments. If she finds herself in the river and floating away she knows she can blow the whistle and get our attention. Now before I get flamed....we watch her like a hawk when we are on the river, but it gives us a little peace of mind knowing she has a way to get peoples attention if in need.

My 8 year old and I have been doing high flow "Daddy-Daughter" trips for 5 years on Ruby and were actually interviewed by the Grand Junction News once at the boat ramp for launching at 49k (super high water). We have always had a great time even with the flooded out camp sites. Like many have said before me, unless you have a really good eddy, swimming or being near the water should always have a adult with PFD nearby.

Bring some other games to play as swim time for the kiddos will be limited. Horseshoes, Uno, Nerf ball, beach games and hikes have always allowed us to have a great time.

Many of the channels are open at high flow, so with a little caution...the channels can be great time to adventure on the float down. Left of Dog Island is about the only one we have not been able to get down without getting out and dragging a little.

Other than still a great time with the kids. Just use a little more caution as the water is moving faster. AND as another person posted on here...if your staying at Black Rocks pull over early and go scout your landing for your site. We stayed at Black Rock 9 once when it was flowing 30k + and had lots of up river guest that missed their site. If you do miss your site there are some less desirable "oops we passed it" camping further down river.

Have fun and remember its not about the destination so much as it is about the journey with the kids.
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Old 06-06-2015   #9
SummitSurfer's Avatar
Summit County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 435
PS Mee Corner is great too for the kids because of its over-hang it allows them to get out of the sun and into the shade for a good part of the day. There is a trail that leads around the corner to Black Rock 1.....we found a nice slow eddy to sit and play in the water. A 100 yards down from that though...trouble lurks for kids swimming. So grab a life vest, put the beer down and spend some good ole family time down there just sitting and playing in that eddy BUT have a watchful eye.

I've been doing Mee Corner and Black Rock 9; "Daddy Daughter" solo trips with her for since she was 3 and have always had a blast....well, except for the time the camp next to us was a nudist group and that was interesting to say the least. ha ha!
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Old 06-06-2015   #10
Pinecliffe, Colorado
Paddling Since: 05
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 447
Be careful around Black Rocks, was out there doing R/H WW and I heard another group pulled in a pretty fit guy that jumped out of his canoe for fun and was struggling to get back into it, pretty swirly and some suck hole funnel type currents.

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. KARL MARX
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