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Old 03-14-2014   #1
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 13
San Juan Quandry

I got an invite on the San Juan for the first week in June. I went on a trip last year at the same time of year and the water was 500cfs and dropping. It was on the whole not worth it. I resolved I would not do the trip again below 1000 cfs, yet here it is the BLM is asking this experienced rafter to decide on March 15th about a possible water level in June. Having researched what I can about snow-pack and Navajo Dam levels, it is still a crap shoot. I guess this is more of a bitch than a question.

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Old 03-14-2014   #2
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
It's highly unlikely the river will be below 1000 this June. the Animas alone should be pumping in 1 or 2k this year at that time.

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Old 03-14-2014   #3
Eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 52
San Juan Water

Like Mania said, historic levels since 2000 show an average of 4000 cfs at Bluffs, UT the first week of June. The basin is at 88% of average with Red Mountain showing 104%, which isn't bad with 1/2 of March and April left. The averages say you should have plenty of water. I am a betting man and I would bet you have 1000 cfs the first week of June. And of course, the San Juan boys try to time a release with the peak of the Animas, which usually happens in the last two weeks of May or first week of June. Lots of water = sand waves out of nowhere.
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Old 03-15-2014   #4
Monument, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 3
I agree that I'll never, ever float that freaking river under 1000. What a clusterfuck that lower stretch is at low levels.
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Old 03-16-2014   #5
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Flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 40
I personally think low water is fun! There are more mud opportunities for on shore activities. You just gotta know how to run a river and "see" the sand bars ahead of you. You have to be willing to do a little boat shoving off the sand bars if you miss judge.....Any river trip is better than no river trip and lower water is just a different challenge. I have done it at about 300 with a bunch of Little kids and we had so much fun, the water was heavenly warm, the kids had a blast, and the adults had a great time too.
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Old 03-25-2014   #6
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U not daho, Idaho
Paddling Since: noon
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 70
I've enjoyed low water march/april trips before.
Any recent reports?
I hear the clay hills take out is harder to access as water is not flowing near right bank?
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Old 03-25-2014   #7
Florence, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 180
doughboy is on this week. Watch for beta from him next week.
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Old 03-26-2014   #8
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 13
Dryfly response

Dryfly: Last year we pulled out at Clay Hills below 350 cfs and there was decent access. You certainly want to keep an eye out for the best streambed leading to the take out when close to Clay Hills landing. My memory is that at the take out (Clay Hills) you are picking deepest lines anyway, so you will be well practiced by then. You will not be unloading in mud from recent high water that is for sure.
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Old 03-26-2014   #9
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 12
We ran the SJ last year at 450 cfs, and it was probably better than running it at slightly higher flows. The sand bars were exposed and easy to see and avoid. Here's a vid of the trip if interested.

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Old 03-26-2014   #10
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 13
Good video, Avodan. You inspired time I will make a short video of the next kids trip....Very Cool. When I get back from my coming trip, I will post a slide show of my San Juan 2012 trip.

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