Muddy Creek - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 03-25-2008   #1
 
jonny water's Avatar
 
Geologist, Colorado
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Muddy Creek

I am planning a Muddy Creek trip thru the Chute section the weekend of May 9th. A friend wants to take his canoe and is a competent boater but hasn't boated in years. I don't want him to flip and have assured him it is class II+. Can anyone confirm this or does it enter into class III.

Also, is this too early for a run on Muddy Creek. We want to float the whole way with minimal pushing/pulling of boats.

What about children, is it pushing it to bring my 3 year old? We are training him in the pool to stay afloat with his wet suit and pfd right now.

Thanks!

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Old 03-25-2008   #2
 
Palisade, Colorado
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I wouldn't take a canoe or a three year old...

Not that the Muddy is particularly hard-core, but a lot can go wrong on a trip like that. slot canyon(ish)+water flowing through it+responsibility for a 3 year old=not a chance I would take. plus, (probably will be) a fair amount of walking on either end of the actual chute section where the creek can meander a bit more (shallow).

May 9 might be a bit early to have boatable flows. it traditionally peaks in late May, early June.

is it a smaller whitewater canoe (doable) or an aluminum behemoth (sounds sketchy)?
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Old 03-25-2008   #3
 
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Thanks for the insight. My son will probably wait for the river....as much as I'd like him to go, I don't want him to be scared or not like the river experience.

My buddy would be in a large aluminum canoe....maybe he should just go in a duckie. Also, maybe we'll push back the trip a few weeks but that will cut into my real boating season....hmmmmm.
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Old 03-25-2008   #4
 
placerville, Colorado
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yo john--you guys should take him on the lower san juan. plenty of water and awesome scenery. also the slickrock to bedrock section of the lower d would be good as well. no rapids, great scenery. you would also be able to swing by rico and stoner on your way home...
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Old 03-25-2008   #5
 
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Muddy Creek flow

The USGS national water info system has a gage record for Muddy Creek, #09330500.

I'm looking at data (Surface Water/Daily Streamflow) from 1999-2002. The peaks were pretty short, with steep rises and falls, and occurred between late April and mid-May. There are double and triple peaks, i.e. it's not entirely predictable. 100 cfs is a good spring flow. 200 cfs would be a thumper.
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Old 03-25-2008   #6
 
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Gotta be ready to go if it flows. Didn't even go last year.
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Old 03-25-2008   #7
 
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One way to be ready

Here are the SNOTEL plots for 2008 and 2007.


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The dark blue line is the year's water content of the snowpack while the lightblue or lavender one is a 30-year average. Notice that in 07 the water content is way below the average and drops off fast. By contrast, 08 is looking pretty good right now.

When the SWE line starts to drop off, that means the water is coming off the mountain. Time to saddle up.
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Old 03-26-2008   #8
 
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So it looks like late may may have guaranteed flows but from what Chip says, late april to mid-may should be fine. I guess it is kind of hit or miss but this year should be good. I may try to keep our original May 9th date and watch the gage.
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Old 03-26-2008   #9
 
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Say what?

Sorry, mate. No way did I say that May 9 would be good this year.

As far as the peaks, I was looking at data five years old and more. Courtesy of American enterprise, George Bush, and all those soccer moms in Suburbans, the peaks are coming earlier every year.

Check out the SNOTEL and the USGS stream gage— you judge. Once the SWE curve starts to dip on the SNOTEL and the stream discharge starts to rise, you've got water. The peak is not long. Like the amigo says, be ready to jam.

The Muddy, Dirty Devil, and the Escalante (Utah) are all flashy desert streams that make advance scheduling a gamble, to say the least. Probably not a good choice for kids & dogs. You should be somewhat prepared for hazardous peakflows in the narrow spots (i.e. if all of a sudden the water thickens up and you see lots of pine needles and driftwood, look for escape routes.)

And please— for the sake of future generations— don't take an aluminum canoe.

good fortune,
Chip
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Old 05-05-2008   #10
 
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Well, muddy creek is just starting to come up. It may run this weekend but it may not. We are still wrestling with the idea of taking our 3 year old. He is actually 3.5. If Muddy Creek dosen't run we are going for slickrock to bedrock on the dolores.

CAN ANYONE CONFIRM IF MUDDY CREEK IS CLASS III?
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