Paddling around the Arkansas - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 11-22-2012   #1
 
White Haven, Pennsylvania
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Paddling around the Arkansas

So I moved out to the Kern River Valley in So Cal this past season for about 5 months. I loved the river, even though it was a low flow year. It had a lot of different sections and everything from continuous to pool drop and class 1 to class 5+. And there is also brush creek, although i did not manage to catch it while out there.

Outside of the river though the area is pretty run down, and the locals are a little sketchy. Lots of meth heads and such and the boating community and the local community don't really seem to intermingle much. And with it getting so hot in the summer there isn't much to comfortably do that doesn't involve water. Also the rafting outfitter i worked for was not run very well and did not treat employees very well so other than the river I left the area with kind of a bad taste in my mouth.

Now I am trying to decided where to go to this next season. I would like to commercially guide raft guide wherever I am so it would need to be a place with some business. Currently I am looking at the Ark Valley, BV, as my choice. I have read a lot of the threads on here having to do with Ark and the river seems awesome.

I kayak when not work and regularly kayak class IV/IV+ and pushing into V so would like to be an area that has some kayaking opportunity when not working.

My question to you guys is, other than the ark, are there any other tribs of the ark in the area that are runnable when flows allow or it pretty much just the Ark and Clear Creek of the ark when it runs that are runnable? What other rivers/runs are with in a few (4) hours away from the area?

Thanks for the any and all help! Just trying to decide if I should give the kern valley another chance (might have an opportunity to work for better outfitter if i go back) or maybe check out the Ark? Any other suggestions on areas out west that have somewhat busy commercial run rivers with other paddling opportunity nearby?

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Old 11-22-2012   #2
gh
 
pnw, Colorado
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If we dont get snow soon and lots of it, even the ones you mentioned will be tough to get on.
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Old 11-22-2012   #3
 
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Almost everything in the state is within 4 hours of BV: Aspen, Crested Butte, Denver (N fork s platte, clear creek), summit county are all easy day trips.

However, if you are looking for a drainage that has it all, check out the Poudre near Ft Collins. Awesome town, great boating community and everything from class I to V+ within an hour.
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Old 11-23-2012   #4
 
Denver, Colorado
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If you're willing to drive 3 hours, the Ark is an awesome base - in a normal year. But EVERYTHING I'm seeing tells me this is going to be a very bad water year here. You might look at Montana or Idaho - maybe guide out of Boise in the Payette basin or try to get on with one of the companies running the Middle Fork Salmon -- but I would avoid Colorado this year if I were looking for work and fun that requires water. I hope I'm wrong.
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Old 11-23-2012   #5
 
Glen Vegas, Florida
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Y'all who are already complaining about next year being a bad water year need to go out and burn a boat or some boards to appease the gods. Both the sierras and PNW have already been hammered, I'm sure they are not complaining about a bad snow year. Any storm that hits CO will be coming from he pacific, not just magically materializing here, so slow your roll.
Figure out what kind of bikini top to wear while rowing your ducky or how many wine coolers y'all can fit your overpriced cooler, just stop complaining about a junk snow year in November.
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Old 11-23-2012   #6
 
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Golden, CO
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In Colorado most of the creeks mainly only run in the big snow years and that would probably be for a month or so at best. It's all snow melt, nothing really comes up due to heavy rain because it doesn't rain much.

If I was looking for some place to move for guiding and paddling I would be thinking about Boise, ID. That area really has nice sunny weather and tons of different creeks and rivers within a short distance. Also, the season is really stretched out due to various dam projects that meter the water out all summer (were talking the Payettes etc..). I'm from PA and currently live in CO so I might have the perspective your looking for on this.
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Old 11-23-2012   #7
 
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Golden, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankC
In Colorado most of the creeks mainly only run in the big snow years and that would probably be for a month or so at best. It's all snow melt, nothing really comes up due to heavy rain because it doesn't rain much.

If I was looking for some place to move for guiding and paddling I would be thinking about Boise, ID. That area really has nice sunny weather and tons of different creeks and rivers within a short distance. Also, the season is really stretched out due to various dam projects that meter the water out all summer (were talking the Payettes etc..). I'm from PA and currently live in CO so I might have the perspective your looking for on this.
Disagree about the Colorado comments. While bad snow years prohibit some stretches from running, it's all about how you take advantage of your situation. Early season Taos Box, Big South, Vallecito, Lake Creek, Gore, OBJ, etc can all be had if you keep an open mind and time it right. You can't be a water snob. We paddled from March to October.

Agree on the Idaho comments. Abundant amounts of river miles for everyone.
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Old 11-23-2012   #8
 
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Basalt, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizzle View Post
Y'all who are already complaining about next year being a bad water year need to go out and burn a boat or some boards to appease the gods. Both the sierras and PNW have already been hammered, I'm sure they are not complaining about a bad snow year. Any storm that hits CO will be coming from he pacific, not just magically materializing here, so slow your roll.
Figure out what kind of bikini top to wear while rowing your ducky or how many wine coolers y'all can fit your overpriced cooler, just stop complaining about a junk snow year in November.
HAHA funny, and true.

But seriously BV is awesome for paddling. For after work runs you can paddle every night. Pine Creek, the Numbers, Lake Creek, Clear Creek of the Ark, the BV and Salida play parks if your a playboater are all options and all run at very low levels even if there a not ideal snow year. then (snow depending) with in 4 hrs of driving there are countless runnable creeks and rivers. Over Cotton Wood you pass you have access to all the stuff in Crested Butte, over Independence you have access to the Roaring Fork, Glenwood, and the Crystal. You can take highway 50 you have access to Bailey, 11 mile and ( a little further drive) all of the front range boating. If you head toward Gunnison you conveniently located next to the Taylor, the Black canyon, Gunny Gorge. you are alos with three hours of all of the summit county kayaking including the blue and ten mile, also close to Gore (one of my personal favs. And that runs as early as march and is still currently runnable. I love Buena Vista, it is awesomely centrally located for kayaking and the boating community that lives there in the summer time is so much fun and you never have a hard time finding someone willing to paddle
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Old 11-23-2012   #9
 
Denver, Colorado
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Lake Creek is another Ark trib that has a longer season (you can skip the class 5's if you just want IV+). And as a few have already mentioned... the Ark is centrally located and easy to get to tons of great runs within a few hours.

BV is a great little town in the summer. I like to refer to it as "adult summer camp." I don't think that the non-boating locals are sketchy (ranchers, prison guards, bible thumpers, and a few meth head high school kids for sure, but not sketchy). If you are just going for the summer there will be tons of boaters to meet up with. And if you stay for the winter there is a great small group of outdoor enthusiasts (climbers, skiers, kayakers, fisherfolk) who stay all year. However, they don't really intermingle much with the non-boating locals.

As for the possibility of it being a bad water year... If it's as dry as it is right now in January I might start complaining. People seem to forget that it didn't really start snowing until December with the big runoff we had 2 years ago.
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Old 11-24-2012   #10
 
White Haven, Pennsylvania
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Thanks for all the great info everybody. Think the ark is my top choice right now. Thinking more long term because wherever i go to this season will probably be where i spend my next few boating seasons so I can get some experience under my belt guiding somewhere. With that I am not to worried about the water levels for the season because low water can happen anyway and somewhere that has low water this next season might have high water the season after and vice versa.

Driving distances is not big thing for me because where I am from in PA would we drive 3.5+ hours just for playboating. And I am far from a snob when it comes to water levels being from an area entirely dependent on rain and driving a couple hours after some rain only to find that the area you drove to got a quarter inch rain less than everything else and getting completely skunked.
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