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Old 09-08-2011   #1
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 8
getting a raft to the gunnison

Does anyone have suggestions for the best way to get a raft down to the Gunnison Gorge? I haven't done it, but understand it's over a mile walk in. Trying to get almost 200lbs of flaccid rubber down the trial is surely to be the crux of the run. I have wondered if it was worth draping it over a mtn bike, while we hold it from the sides, then riding the bike back up. Let the suggestions fly.

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Old 09-08-2011   #2
Conifer, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 131
In the past we have rolled the paddles/oars inside the boat like a joint and then got three people and carried it down. It works pretty good. Rolling the paddles inside makes the boat more rigid. Or pay for the mules

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Old 09-08-2011   #3
Conifer, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 131
Oh, forgot to add that we then run a few straps around the now joint looking boat to help keep it together. Throw it up on your all shoulders and start the walk.
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Old 09-08-2011   #4
lmaciag's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 670
My understanding is that it is a wilderness area. Therefore, no wheels allowed. There are pack mule outfitters that bring gear down for a fee.

Found this while I was trying to confirm: BLM Colorado | Gunnison Gorge NCA | Gunnison Gorge Wilderness

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
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Old 09-08-2011   #5
g.soutiere's Avatar
leadville, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 279
the joint way worked for us a few years ago. just make sure you start your hike before noon or you will be off the river after dark.(our mistake when we went)
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Old 09-08-2011   #6
Summit County, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 153
Contact Larry Franks about renting a horse to carry it down, 970.323.0115. He's the only guy that does it. It's $90 per horse and worth every penny and you won't regret it. lmaciag is right, it is a wilderness area so no wheels are allowed. With all the other gear I'm assuming you'd need to carry down, you'll be happy you didn't haul your boat down there. For us personally, the cooler always seems to be the most difficult. We get there the night before and do a trip or two down when it's nice and cool. Then my husband is back on the road at 6am to get to Pleasure Park to pick up the shuttle guy and then is on his way back. While he's doing that I take another one or two trips back down. Larry shows up around 9am and gets the boat organized. He does several shifts during the day, so make sure you call about a week in advance so you can get the earliest shift possible. We are typically on the water by 11am. I should note that we use our oar frame set-up, so we have the frame, oars, chair, etc. to haul down. If you plan to do a paddle team, you wouldn't have to worry about all that stuff.
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Old 09-08-2011   #7
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 405
We got our raft down via horse several years ago. The Pleasure park folks at the take out did our shuttle and arranged the horse for us - probably through Larry that summitraftgirl mentioned. Worth every penny!
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Old 09-08-2011   #8
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1901
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 110
Make an Eazy-Lee and use gravity to your advantage. You will basically make a wheel out of your rolled raft. All you need is an aluminum pipe, a couple lengths of sturdy wire, four small U-bolts and a rope. Cut the pipe to just wider than the width of your raft when rolled normally (not lenghthwise like a joint, but normal rolling fashion). Run the wire through the aluminum pipe and use the U-bolts to make a loop on either end of the pipe. I like to use two wires (hence, four loops) to reduce the stress / friction on each wire. Then, roll your raft with the pipe in the middle, with the four wire loops sticking out the sides. You should end up with your normally rolled raft with a couple inches of pipe sticking out the middle and two loops of wire on each side. Tie each end of a rope to the wire loops -- the rope will be your reigns as you roll the raft down Chuckar Trail to the water (or once you reach the flats at the bottom, you become the horse, and pull the raft to the water). It's probably also a good idea to wrap the raft in an old tarp to protect it from sharp rocks on the way down.
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Old 09-08-2011   #9
Palisade, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 181
Larry is a good man but he has some lousy guys working the horses down the trail. And I believe he has a (3) horse minimum so the total cost is $270 unless he has another group going in at the same time; then you might be able to pay for fewer horses.
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Old 09-08-2011   #10
Summit County, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 153
We did the Gunny Gorge twice this year and used Larry both times. No minimum for our horses and we only used one both times. It carried our raft and two Pacos. Larry led the horses down to the put-in both times as well. Never had any problems with his other guys (and gal) and he's never mentioned anything about a minimum to us.

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