black boxes/muddy ZERO cfs? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 09-16-2018   #1
Palisade, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 298
black boxes/muddy ZERO cfs?

i know you can't boat on 0 cfs (San Rafael) or even 7 cfs (muddy), but what about hiking? anybody familiar with hiking the black boxes or the chute at super low levels? super nasty stagnant water? deep or shallow? please and thanks...

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Old 09-16-2018   #2
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Salt Lake City, Utah
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 207
I camped right above the upper box last night. It was crazy to see the San Rafael as nothing but a bunch of pools. I haven't hiked the upper box, but I did do the lower at about 25 cfs a few years back. It was not a great hike. Yes, it's pretty, but walking in chocolate milk water, with a foot of slimy mud below it, with tons of shin smashing boulders mixed in, is not my idea of a good day. That said, I think it would be easier at 0 cfs. I don't think it could be more snotty muddy than it was at 25 cfs.
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Old 09-16-2018   #3
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Salt Lake City, Utah
Join Date: Jul 2015
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Actually, the more I think about it, it could be a lot worse at 0 cfs. I remember being frustrated that I couldn't walk on the shore where I could see to avoid the shin smashing rocks because it was even stickier than the mud in the river. I ended up waist deep in some of it where I had to roll/wallow out. Honestly, I'd never recommend that hike to anyone under any condition. I'd totally do something else if I were you.
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Old 09-17-2018   #4
GJ, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
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Plus some of the pools will be deep enough to require swimming. Take an inner tube, packraft, or air mattress.
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Old 09-18-2018   #5
Summit County, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 156
These are both popular canyoneering spots at low/no water. I was there two weekends ago and saw a group dropping into the lower Black Box. Google "Road Trip Ryan" and you'll find good, canyoneering-specific beta there.
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Old 09-19-2018   #6
Colorado Plateau Metropolis, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 46
I hiked the upper years ago with a dry bag in my backpack. I was able to ride my backpack through some of the big pools.

The shin mashing/bashing rocks are for real. After getting a few bruises, I found a hiking stick, so I could probe in front of me while walking in the river. Bring some webbing/rope to get down some of the steep sections.

The hike is beautiful, yet I believe the kiosk says something to the effect of of a “perilous journey”.
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