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Old 04-11-2014   #1
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 14
Deso Gray, Ouray to Sand Wash

I've got a permit in early May for Deso, and I'm planning on avoiding the dirt road into Sand Wash (a couple of bad experiences and long stories over the years) by floating from Ouray to Sand Wash. Does anyone out there have any feedback on that section? Is an Indian permit necessary to launch at Ouray bridge? Is the boat ramp decent? How is the camping on that stretch, in general? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 04-11-2014   #2
Old Guy in a PFD
Tucson, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1967
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,022
Can't tell you anything about permits or camping. Only did that stretch once, an April trip for training.

As I recall it was..............flat..............cold........... ...windy.

I'd take the road any time over that stretch, even if it wasn't cold or windy.

Schutzie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2014   #3
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5
I agree with Schutzie. My only experience with Ouray is 30 years ago and there was no semblance of a ramp. We put boats together on a sandbar above the bridge after packing things 30 yds. 412 bazllion mosquitos. Even with around 25K flow, it's a long flat chunk of water.

As for the road, I'm sure there's been improvements, but still I'd avoid 9 mile canyon. Just not worth the distance savings from going back to US 40 and Duchesne. Time is not enough extra, for the number of flat tires etc that have been sacrificed on 9 Mile.
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Old 04-11-2014   #4
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,929
Land ownership maps I have show the bridge put-in is just outside of tribal lands. As well, its public land soon after the launch there. I would double check with agencies and maybe call your preferred shuttle company to verify. From the info I have and double checking on RiverBrain the put-in "ramp" is currently in a developed oil extraction site. There is another primitive launch in the wildlife refuge but it looks like it could be useless at low-water.

From friends who have launched....can be windy, sandbar camps and plenty of habitat for mosquitos until mid-July. That said, they liked it for a one-time experience and there are plenty of opportunities to explore. I have been tempted a few times ....

But the road into Sandwash is shockingly benign compared to the past. Pavement goes much farther. Been a few years since we lost a tire driving in to launch, fingers crossed.

You could also launch at the Enron site on the White, the normal take-out. Its definitely a free public site. Its 19 river miles to the Green which could be a long day if you get behind on the launch ramp. May should be cranking on the White River so it shouldn't take many hours to the confluence with the Green. This is the option I would probably go with myself if I was deadset on bypassing the Sand Wash scene.

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Old 04-11-2014   #5
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 58
bug city

Bus Hatch did it in a few times back in the day. Big loops and never-ending sandbars. They broke motors. One May a research team, man and woman, was measuring bug concentrations for a scientific study. They would motor down to Sand Wash in full bug suits to camp in the screen houses every night. The most bug bites I saw on one person in a single night was 129. She circled them each with pen. She slept in the screen-house too. One buggy season, I went out at night to pee. I was in full goretex with veil, sweaty in 80 degree heat. When done, I slapped my crotch with both hands before I zipped up. Both hands came back bloody. I had a dozen bites with 30 seconds of exposure. It is like a horror movie above sand wash in May. Complete with a 24 hour loud buzzing noise from millions of insects desperate for blood. Let us know how it turns out. BTW, only 29 miles of Nine Mile remains unpaved. I've driven that road a few dozen times with no flats. You go slow, no flats. Fast, you drive flint through the tires. Take a small electric air pump and a $4.99 tubeless tire patch kit when in Utah.
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Old 04-11-2014   #6
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 58
Bus Hatch, Riverman

Bus Hatch encountered lots of wind, and you loop around to the degree that you get it in the face no matter what. He speaks in detail about the stretch you contemplate. The book is a good read. "Bus Hatch, Riverman."
By Roy Webb.
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Old 04-11-2014   #7
x, Utah
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 34
Contact me PM and I can provide recent experience.
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Old 04-11-2014   #8
Park City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 94
9 mile is paved from wellington to gate canyon. I drove wrinkle road last week, no wash boards. The worst part was driving down to the put in through the wash.
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Old 04-12-2014   #9
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 818
We have put in a few times way upriver by Jensen and floated to Sand Wash to join trips. We have gone in the mosquito free times of the year (early spring and late fall). We launch a few miles south of the US 40 Bridge at the small ramp a few miles south on Red Wash Road where the road first gets right next to the River. There is a great ramp there. This is way above Ouray of course, and we like to boat flat water rivers and are not just whitewater hungry people. That said, I will never boat that section in the middle of the summer again. It was mosquito hell when Moulty Fulmer and Dock Marston boated through there in the summer of of 1951 using oar power (see the book Big Water Little boats for details of that trip), and was the same the first time i went through there in the mid 1990's. It is a unique stretch of the Green River though. All the best, tom
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Old 04-12-2014   #10
CRG, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 10
Originally Posted by runnerdoc View Post
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
We did that trip last year, and posted on it. I wouldn't call it a ramp but it was easy enough to launch upstream of the bridge
Permit not required for launch
I don't think the bugs come out until after the peak flow.
A couple of extra days on the river beats most things.........

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