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Old 08-16-2014   #1
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 26
Is Desolation/Grey floatable in a Raft in mid September?

It looks like I'll be heading out to Deso/Grey in mid September with a friend. I have very little river experience and haven't ever kayaked (I've done a few canoe trips and some shorter rafting trips). The plan is to float on two inflatable kayaks. I'm wondering if it would be more advisable to float a raft instead. Would this be doable? Does the inflatable kayak idea sound plausible considering my lack of experience?

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Old 08-17-2014   #2
Sturgis, South Dakota
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 23
You'll be fine...

Rafted Deso in early August. Great trip. One of the nice things about Deso is that the rapids start out small and then get bigger, so you get some practice before you hit anything big. Scout Steer Rigge, Joe Hutch, Wire Fence Three Fords and Coal Creek. If you can carry enough gear, take the kayaks. But a raft would be fine too.

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Old 08-17-2014   #3
el-duderino's Avatar
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 40
Me and a buddy self supported in two tandum IK's last august. The flow was in the neighborhood of 1200 CDs. We had no problems. We have both floated Deso before so take that for what you willI would think that if you are familiar with recognizing the obstacles which are primarily rocks and avoiding and want to stop and scout the bigger rapids

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Old 08-18-2014   #4
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,933
How fast of a physical/kinesthetic learner are you? Paddling a loaded IK for 5-7 days can be tiring if you don't learn to paddle efficiently. Look to your buddy for pointers and advice.

Its manageable in an IK. Mid-September should still be mostly warm during the day but it can bring some major monsoonal rain so go prepared. I would want a pair of long hyrdo-skin like pants and likely a top. If you are new its best to prepare for an ejection or flip in some of the rapids. An IK would be easier for low water but wetter and for me paddling those is tougher on my body during multi-day trips compared to a raft. IKs also require less gear and are easier logistically.

A raft could be more comfortable but comes with the downside of being more cumbersome to navigate especially in lower water of Deso. There can be lots of shoals/bony non-named riffles throughout the middle stretch that will catch you if you don't keep an eye on reading the water. Joe Hutch is really the only major problem for a larger raft at low water and its gotten friendlier but does have a picket fence mid-channel that could be stressful for the novice.

Hope that helps. Love Deso and float it multiple times a year. If you have a buddy that is a good mentor and teacher it could be a great multi-day to hone your Class 3 skills (though largely Class 2).

Best of luck.

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