ELFing the Upper Ark. - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 10-20-2016   #1
 
BV, CO
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,453
ELFing the Upper Ark.

I wrote this up for a different thread but thought I would give it its own title for future searches etc.

Here are some guidelines from my point of view for anyone thinking about ELFing the Ark. Firstly, the gauge to use is the Below Granite gauge when it is operating.

USGS Current Conditions for USGS 07087050 ARKANSAS RIVER BELOW GRANITE, CO

It normally operates "April through September" but for some reason is still on line into October this year. When it stops functioning you need to use the "Granite" gauge and add in the "Clear Creek below Clear Creek Reservoir" gauge and technically the "Pine Creek at Mouth" gauge but normally when we're ELFing that is barely running. 4cfs today.

Detail Graph

Detail Graph

Detail Graph

If you look at those gauges right now, Below Granite reads 162. The other three read 119, 20 and 4. In theory they should add up to the 162 but they only total 143. That disparity is meaningless at higher levels but is significant when ELFing. There is almost nothing else entering the rio in that stretch so I tend to attribute it to the inaccuracy of the gauges. Also, I tend to think the higher number is more accurate, in this case the 162 reading.

These are the gauges to use for Pine Creek, The Numbers and the Fractions though Pine Creek enters the rapid Pine Creek in the middle of the rapid.

IMO:

Pine Creek laps go at any level.

The Numbers from the AHRA putin go down to 180ish.

The Numbers from just above #1 go down to 125ish fluidly. It becomes "Full Contact ELFing" below that and though it rarely drops below 100 it still goes.

#5 starts manking out at the bottom of the entry slot below 200 and the rock is heavily in play below 150ish. I walk the slot sometimes.

#4 and #6 are fast and shallow and it really helps to know the line. They really aren't read and run for the first timer.

The Fractions actually go fluidly at slightly lower levels than the Numbers but you need to know the lines. There are cobble bars that can be avoided but knowing where to finesse them is key. I have run from the RR Bridge putin to Elephant Rock at 59cfs and stayed in my boat but it required wheel chairing twice. The rio rarely gets that low. 100 is still pretty fluid fun in this section.

You can ELF all the way to BV but it doesn't go as well as the sections above once its down to 200ish.

The gauge for Browns is the Nathrop gauge:

USGS Current Conditions for USGS 07091200 ARKANSAS RIVER NEAR NATHROP, CO

This gauge goes through September and is done now. The year round gauge to use is the Salida gauge:

Detail Graph

The Nathrop gauge usually reads higher than the Salida gauge. 270ish vs 230ish last weekend. Browns goes down into the high 100's but is a long day. At 270ish last weekend it was fluid and beautiful! The one spot of note is the bottom of Pinball. There is a slot but people frequently end up backwards in there. I sometimes walk that slot on the left.

There's beautiful boating to be had on the Ark almost year round. One thing to note is that this time of year the wind tends to blow down river and that's worth 15 or 20 degrees on your skin compared to wind in your face.

Any locals that want to chime in, please do.

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Old 10-20-2016   #2
 
BV, CO
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,453
Hmm, the gauge links didn't copy through. Don't have the time to fix that right now.
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Old 10-20-2016   #3
tytanr
 
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Ark ELFing

Looks like a great weekend coming up. Anyone up for doing some of these runs on the 22nd and or the 23rd?
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Old 10-20-2016   #4
 
Canon City/Breck, CO, /Colorado
Paddling Since: 2014
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Is the lower ark already donezo? The gorge and big horn?
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Old 10-21-2016   #5
 
Florence, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 220
Thinking of bighorn/parkdale this sat. Been on in the 450s. Three rocks and spike buck are bony but still a line. I'm running a tomcat so a hardshell should be a little better. I understand the gorge is a little more channeled, but haven't run it. I use the Canon city guage and add 75 cfs. Water temps here still in lower to mid 50s
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Old 10-21-2016   #6
 
BV, CO
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,453
Quote:
Originally Posted by radtoto View Post
Is the lower ark already donezo? The gorge and big horn?
No. I was just sharing what I know about my back yard. The Gorge goes really low but others would know better than me.
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Old 10-21-2016   #7
 
Boatin', Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 202
With the exception of ice bridges in the dead of winter, the lower Ark is always in. Both sections raft-able at 200ish. Bony, but doable. Kayaks and IK's can go even lower, and it rarely gets that low. When BH and RG get froze over - BH rarely, Pink House down will cure the blues.

This time of year usually add 40-50 cfs to the Wellsville gauge. If they start transferring water, low elevation melt, or heavy rains between Parkdale and Salida - that theory goes out the window. They can irrigate so much this time of year the Canon City gauge is up and down, kinda worthless unless your doing PH down.
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Old 10-21-2016   #8
 
Florence, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 220
Seems most of the ditches shut down by now. Town run is a low water crawl already, but better than sitting at home. Kayak hole at centennial park is good for a little entertainment even in an IK at these flows. Actually prefer pathfinder to florence river park. Nice run, longer, though not more just a way to score some river time.
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