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Old 03-24-2014   #1
chrisjaquet's Avatar
Telluride, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 26
Night float between Diamond Creek and Pearce Ferry

I want to do a night float between diamond Creek and Pearce ferry. Lake meade current height is 1107.94 feet.

Does this mean we will have current all the way to take out? Any tips on which section to night float are appreciated. We will have all of the required equipment including lights.

Thanks buzzards

Whiskey is for drinking; Water is for fighting over
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Old 03-24-2014   #2
flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 155
yup, current all the way. I myself kinda like this stretch of river... there are a few entertaining items below diamond.... Separation to Pearce might be a better plan. I slept thru most of it the one trip we night floated. but lashed up the boats and posted a couple guys at the oars to keep it in the middle.... worked pretty good.

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Old 03-24-2014   #3
Las Vegas, Nevada
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 97
You will want to tie up at Separation. There are stil some rapids to deal with up to MIle 236. There will be current the whole way. We did it last year and it was necessary to have a few oars accessible for steering. You will also need to watch out for the Hualapai docks. IIRC, it took about 12 hours from Separation to Pearce, on flows between 6500-10,000. Figure 4 mph.
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Old 03-24-2014   #4
Colo Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 597
Also, your barge will drift close to some walls and so need to be rowed away from them on a few occasions, especially in the first five or so miles below Separation. Easily done with two rowers on the outside oars. There probably will be a few sandbars to watch out for, too, and certainly a big sand island somewhere around mile 270, I think it is. Go left of that.

It was surprising how well our barges have stayed in the main current, not sliding off into an eddy.

I like the night float, a lot. There is a small price to pay for not getting enough sleep, if any, but it's worth it.
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Old 03-24-2014   #5
Old Guy in a PFD
Tucson, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1967
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,022
I floated it twice; once we woke up in sight of Pearce, the second time we had drifted about 4 miles from Separation. Managed to get a tow from a friendly house boat or we'd been at it for another week.

Either way, tie em up, post a watch, and party!

Think about sleeping arrangements; will you have enough flat or semi flat space for everyone? Will it be dry? Will people be kicking each other in the ..................head?

This is one item that you can largely ignore until you get to Separation, provided you have considered the number of bodies and space available, have your lights and have breakfast in a bag. Maybe dinner as well.

The first time we ate early at Separation, changed, and launched. That was the year we woke up in sight of Pearce.

The second time we just tied up after separation, ate whatever was accessible (Peanut butter and jerky are NOT a good mix with Schnapps), changed, and let the festivities begin. Long damn night, what with the chorus of snores and slumber party giggle attacks.

The men finally quit giggling, but the women never quit snoring.
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Old 03-24-2014   #6
Las Vegas, Nevada
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 97
Schutzie, how on earth did you only make 4 miles?
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Old 03-24-2014   #7
turtle83's Avatar
subaru, down by the river
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 71
I second staging your night float at separation canyon in the evening after dinner.

We clipped a 16' cat onto both sides of my 14' raft and made my boat a giant paco pad bed to sleep on. My girl and I slept while others posted up on the oars (thanks guys)! A member of the group broke out a boombox that no one even knew he had and played some great music for night floating through the GC. It was truly one of the most memorable moments of the trip and a great way to spend the last night in the GC! We unclipped at sunrise and passed all the other groups still loading their boats at camp. We pulled up to the take out at like 7am with one PBR left
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Old 03-24-2014   #8
Old Guy in a PFD
Tucson, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1967
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Originally Posted by GCHiker4887 View Post
Schutzie, how on earth did you only make 4 miles?
Well, like most of that trip, no one was quite sure what was going on, what was supposed to go on, or who was supposed to make it happen (or not happen). It was one of the more humorous trips I've been on.

We had zero current by dark. A slight wind. Watchers who ........... well, lets say they were sensorally challenged.

Not totally sure. Just that we woke up in the morning and realized we had not moved much. Not that anyone cared much until it was pointed out that we would be rowing for .................. a week.
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Old 03-24-2014   #9
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,346
Love the night float! We barged up downstream of separation, I can't remember where but it is used by the Hualapai as there is a gross toilet there. If you want to know I can dig up my map.

We did 6 boats barged side by side (strapped frame to frame), with one person on each end, each with only one oar. We went down the river like a long snake, and the two oars basically moved us left and right. Mostly we just floated, but there were some things to watch out for. Switch out in shifts, and let your drivers sleep the entire night. That way there is someone that can do a marathon drive home while everyone else, who took shifts rowing, can sleep.
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 03-25-2014   #10
flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 89
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 148
High Water Approximations, Low Water 11-12 hours

For folks Nightfloating from 240 Seperation to Pierce Ferry takeout it takes approximately 9.5-10.5 hours push off to touchdown. Don't push off before the time you want to awake in the morning. If you are passing Seperation at 10 pm you can be at Pierce Ferry 7:30am. If it is in January you may be in the dark:0 at 5:30am and baring down on Pierce Ferry Rapid:0 Leave yourself a buffer.

I suggest passing diamond from noon to 2pm depending on the water flows, weather conditions and ones
trips needs to scout 232. That will put you at the last rapid in the afternoon with time to do dinner and setup for the nightfloat in the light.

Anyway Gneiss Canyon(236) is the last rapid obstacle to nightfloating. After you pass Gneiss Canyon pick a good place to pull over. If you are pulling over at Bridge Canyon City? or Seperation Canyon, let anyone passing by know you are only temporary as they may need/want the camp.

So when you pull in, pull off your kitchen, groover and dinner items needed along with everyones personal bags and paco pads. This will allow the nightfloat technicians to setup the cleanest rig without all the participants schnedel in the way. While dinner crew is cooking dinner, tie the boats frame to frame, 4-5 boats wide, leaving the oars on the outside handy for evasive maneauvers. If you have more than 5 try to make a cube and you will float and bounce more efficiently. BUT Take off your outside spares so they don’t get munched at night. I suggest two people on watch at all times. 2-3 hour shifts work well. Make some coffee for the late night oarsmen. Red Bulls or other energy drinks are super easy as well. D-ring to D-ring is a big no no! as when a 6,000lbs raft rolls off a sand bankment it can generate quite a force on a small d-ring. Frame to Frame is the way to go. I put one strap each on the corner of each frame. Easy to seperate strong enough to bump. Duckies make great beds for people with smaller shoulder span. It also can make a great guitar chair.

COunt up your sleeping spots, and danger zones. One example of a danger zone is a place one can put their foot while walking across the boats in the dark. Point them out to everyone and discourage cross boat travel. For peeing safely at night we deflate one or two self bailing floors so when you step into the floor you will be in the river. This is one safe and easy way to pee. Also the pee bucket is just as easy if you would like to keep your floors blown up. Sleep with your PFD as your pillow. If someone falls in at night be very vocal yelling out to the crew so they know where you are. Sounds at night are a good determinant to impediments in the river. We used to bring a spotlight, lazers are pretty cool too. The spotlight doesn't last very long so limit your use, and save it for true discovery. The Park Service requires a white light(headlamp) to be on at all times, we used the breakable glowsticks bought at any party store. We turn like a giant disco ball.

After dinner place all items back on the boat and instruct the peeps to grab their paco pad and dry bag and take them to their sleeping spot. For the outside boats sleep your heads to the inside and feet outside. This used to be more of an issue when our nightfloats would scrape through the tammies as the lake went down but it is a good technique nonetheless. There should always be someone on watch. Some trips just have those folks that stay up, others have shifts. Good to be safe.

Possible problems: Hualapai docks are along side the river at mile 260. I've only hit them one time in 20 floats since the lake has gone down and that was at 25K with a 13 boat nightfloat, but it's still a possible obstruction. This is a good marker for location in the middle of the night. When you see the ghostly abiriations on the shore you may be at Quartermaster. 1/2 way there.

From time to time a waterborn tammie will pop up in the current usually beside a sandbar. Sandbar alley is 250m-260m. Since the lake has gone down I haven't parked on a sandbar yet as the boats tend to meander along in the current and find their way. If you get snagged on a tree undo the two straps on the frames and let the boats pass the tree and then re-connect. At mile 275m near the end, there are willows in the river. If you did your math right you should be watching the sunrise as you are 1 hour from Pierce Ferry If you didn't and it is dark you may hear the most gentle and soothing dripping sound of weeping springs right before you ram through a pod of Willows Plan to be awake here, Pierce Ferry is 1 hour away.

Oars and locks are danger zones. If you reach out to use one to hold you up? it may not! sending you face first into ? Also if you are walking around as you were instructed not to do, one could fall on one open oar lock. Never run oarlocks with no oars in them. Its a fork without an oar

I can't imagine a jetboat running at night but if you hear one, :0 all hands on deck with flashlights!

If you are going to bump something don't reach out and try to stop it. There's alot of force behind your floating barge. Let the boats handle the bump.

Pearce Ferry Rapid is below the takeout. When you pass through the Gates of the Grand Wash Cliffs(276m) and out into the faulted open planes you will be baring down on Pearce Ferry. Unattach the boats so you will be ready to pull over. Don't try to pull your raft in tied together as their is a good current rolling by Pierce Ferry takeout. It's difficult and unneccesary to line boats back up to the takeout. IF you push off to early(4pm? In the winter) at Seperation and sleep through Pearce you will Die! If the lake is below 1115.

Others Dangers? Of course be careful with excessive alcohol, it impairs ones judgement, and compounds problems.
I hope this helps.


40K cfs we took just 6 hours from Bridge Canyon City to Pearce


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