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Old 04-18-2016   #1
Cortez, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 5
San Juan Mexican Hat to Clayhills above 5000 CFS

Anyone know what this is like? Are the camps washed out. Does a 4 night trip become 2 or 3?

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Old 04-18-2016   #2
Dolores, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 36
Yeah....what he said.....what's the deal with floating the lower section when the scheduled release for mid-may is going to be between 5 and 8k CFS???


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Old 04-19-2016   #3
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 32
The San Juan at 5-8000 cfs is FAST ! Won't have to put many oars in the water. The camps are not washed out - you'll just be a little further up the slope. The lower Honacker camps are actually easier to off-load gear because you don't have the steep bank to scramble up. Your biggest issue will be stopping - spread out before you get to camp to give everyone time to get tied off. Get as close to shore as possible and slow down !!

As far as number of days - sure, you could do it faster, but why ? Leisure mornings / morning hikes in camp, short days on the river, and hikes, relaxing, and cocktails in the afternoons. You have assigned camps for the bottom anyway, so you can't get to Slickhorn any earlier. If you have Trimble (very small, river left) or Steer Gulch (will be washed out), you might want to consider going all the way to Clay Hills, but at 5000 or above, you'll be there in three hours anyway.
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Old 04-19-2016   #4
Dolores, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 36
What are the rapids like at that level? Washed out? More difficult?

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Old 04-19-2016   #5
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 32
Government will be rollers - nothing technical. I assume the new one at Twin Canyon will be washed out, as will Ross.
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Old 04-19-2016   #6
Cortez, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 151
Everything's better at the predicted flows. Though opinions vary, the "fun quotient" is not really affected until it gets down to between 1200-900.

And actually, Trimble camp washed out a few years back and is just kind of a boulder fan. Definitely a last resort camp.
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Old 04-19-2016   #7
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New Castle, Colorado
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Sand waves are fun!

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Old 04-19-2016   #8
Bayfield, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 80
The new rapid at twin canyon goes left center easily however as I ran that line at about 8000 cfs last year out of the corner of my eye it looked like right side was doable with a big drop. I'd scout it but it could be a major whoopee.
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Old 04-20-2016   #9
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Flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 57
Where did you get the data for the proposed river level?
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Old 04-20-2016   #10
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Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
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Originally Posted by followthebubbleline View Post
Where did you get the data for the proposed river level?
Originally Posted by sjnovak3 View Post
Mid-April update:

Not much new to share this time, looking at 31 days at 5000 cfs. Most likely will start about the middle of May. Keep in mind our max release from Navajo is 5,000 cfs, but this release will COMBINE with the Animas to create flows down in the rafting reach. At peak we're hoping to hit 8-10 grand down at Bluff.

Let me know if you have any questions-
Susan Novak Behery, P.E.
Hydraulic Engineer
Western Colorado Area Office
Durango, CO



April 18, 2016

The April update to the most probable forecast for the April – July modified unregulated inflow volume to Navajo Reservoir is 515,000 acre-feet, a decrease of 15,000 acre-feet since the last forecast. This is 70% of the 30 year average. Snowpack above Navajo is currently 80% of average. Navajo reservoir current content is 1,475,000 acre-feet, which is 87% full (78% of active storage). Current reservoir elevation is 6069.5 feet.

As per the 2016 Interim Operations at Navajo Reservoir, releases will be made to target the San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program's (SJRIP) recommended baseflows of between 500 cfs and 1,000 cfs through the critical habitat area. The target base flow is calculated as the weekly average of gaged flows throughout the critical habitat area. The reservoir will be operated to target an end of year storage level between 6050 feet and 6063 feet. Water over this target will be made available for a spring peak release.

The most probable forecast results in spring peak release beginning in mid-May with a short 3-day ramp up to 5,000 cfs, 31 days at 5,000 cfs, followed by a 2-week ramp back down to the base release. The shape and timing of the hydrograph may change and will be coordinated with the SJRIP to balance recovery program benefits with potential flood control and operational safety. During spring operations, releases from the Navajo Unit will be made in an attempt to match the peak timing of the Animas River to maximize the peak at the San Juan at Four Corners gage while remaining below the US Army Corps of Engineers safe channel capacity of 5,000 cfs between Navajo and the confluence with the Animas in Farmington, and 12,000 cfs downstream of Farmington.

Projected spring operations will be updated with revisions to the forecast and are highly dependent on tributary flows throughout the San Juan River Basin. If you have any questions, please contact Susan Behery at 970-385-6560 or
Navajo Operations Update- San Juan River 4/7/16

GARNA’s mission is to foster stewardship of the resources of the greater Arkansas River region through education, volunteerism and experiences.
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