Mexican hat to clay hills - should we do this? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-11-2013   #1
durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 95
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 6
Mexican hat to clay hills - should we do this?

Mexican hat to clay hills two 14' boats animas droping slowly. Juan at bluff just over 600cfs. 450 seems to be the cut off. What do you think will the water hold for a five day trip we launch tomorrow am.... maybe...

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Old 06-11-2013   #2
cheyenne, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Apr 2010
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just got off the San Jaun. The flow started out at 1650 on the 29th and was down to 650 on 06/04. The last 17 miles was rowing all the way. We had to follow the current from one side to the other. It took 8hrs. We didn't have any wind on last day.If we did it would of been miserable. We would've camp one more night due to wind
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Old 06-11-2013   #3
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jun 2004
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It will probably be close to 600 cfs for a daily average tomorrow, and then will drop slowly over the next five days. We'll be increasing the release from Navajo (most likely) on Friday to compensate, but you can still expect flows to average in the high 400's down at Bluff next week since it's so hot and dry.

Call/email if you have questions-

Susan Novak Behery, P.E.
Hydrologic Engineer
Western Colorado Area Office
Durango, CO
[email protected]
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Old 06-11-2013   #4
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2011
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I did a Mex Hat to Clay Hills trip a few weeks ago. Flow dropped steadily, ~500 to 280. We had 4 rafts, 18 ft SB to 14 ft cat. It was not bad at all. Very little pushing and shoving above Grand Gulch, a fair bit the last day, all boats hung up a little at Government and rope assist from shore was useful for a couple, but we did it in 5 days, did plenty of hiking, and had fun. Lighter is better. We got an early am last day start and got to Clay Hills just as the wind started really blowing - dodged a bullet on that one. The last day at 280 was no harder than at 4x that, maybe easier because the channels are very visible.
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Old 06-11-2013   #5
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,261
Had somewhere around that flow last October:

Government becomes a technical rapid with potentials for pins. Worth scouting and having someone on shore to help if needed (had clean lines myself, though I rowed both boats through rapid in sequence).

Some of the lower camps beyond Government become impossible to access to beware of selection.

The river beyond Grand Gulch can be absolutely epic and miserable. We had moderate wind and had to drag boats 15-20 times that day. Easy to get stuck for long periods of time.

Biggest hazard was actually a dog-leg right riffle I believe somewhere near the falls at John's Canyon (???) if I remember correctly (whatever the big pourover and camping on river right is). Its heavily braided and hard to find passage through. Be prepared to get out and aid your boat through tight slots and off medium sized rocks. Nothing that should do major damage but just be aware.

For myself, having done it once, I would not do that stretch again below 1k. I like to end my trips on high notes and this was not possible for us in the lower run. Each person will have different priorities though.
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Old 06-11-2013   #6
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Durango, Colorado
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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Like an earlier post said, the last day is the kicker, but at low low flows the channels do become more visible. I think it would still be fun, although it'll be a warm one. My best advice is to get on the water as early as possible (by 1st light at the latest), your last day to avoid the wind & the heat for the flats, plus its so pretty that time of day, especially in that section. Have fun!
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Old 06-11-2013   #7
don't bogart that
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Frosted Flakes N of Baytuckey, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 185
Run it

Have fun, take it as it comes, Drought is as Drought does, What you going to do, stay at home and clean your toilet? Pack light rent a SUP to scout the sand bars, Rock IT
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Old 06-11-2013   #8
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 202
Last day

Depends on the last camp. Slick horn to clay hills will test your resolve. We grabbed a decent sand bar above Steer last month, nice to have 2 days for that last float/walk
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Old 06-11-2013   #9
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 05
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 36

yea shiff you should probably stay home, you have way to much house work going now.
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Old 06-13-2013   #10
colorado_steve's Avatar
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 287
i would love to hear a recent trip report!

june 24th launch for me. we are going to go for it. taking 10 days from sand island to clay hills and camping at slickhorn and steer gulch below government. 2 15ft rafts, 1 14ft raft (me), 1 ducky and 2 sups. fingers crossed for water.
Oh! I don't take it lightly! I've always got to know
There's an old lion a roarin' n the river down below
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