San Juan River MH to Clay Hills in 4 days - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-26-2011   #1
 
juneau, Alaska
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Feb 2011
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San Juan River MH to Clay Hills in 4 days

I have four days to raft the San Juan River from Mexican Hat to Clay Hills in Mid May. According to the bureau of rec. estimated flows during that time period should be ~2800 cfs. Right now I have Slickhorn Camp-site reserved on night 2 and grand gulch on night 3. So on days 1 and 2 we have to paddle ~20 miles each day,day 3 ~4 miles, and day 4 ~14 miles. I am concerned about paddling 20 miles (with pretty inexperienced paddlers) two days in a row and am considering changing my grand gulch camp to night three and cancelling my grand gulch reservation. Which would make day 1, day 2, and day 3 ~ 13 miles each and day 4 ~17 miles.

Any opinions as to what I should do?

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Old 04-26-2011   #2
 
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Durango, Colorado
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I have done the same schedule with night #1 at Honaker. Our flow was around 1500 cfs. There's plenty of current on your long days, so no problem. The short day 3 is great; you can take a leisurely hike up Slickhorn and enjoy the pools. The last day sucks no matter where you start from.
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Old 04-26-2011   #3
 
Jenks, Oklahoma
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It can get windy in that section, so on the long mile days get up early and get on the water as early as possible. If you can get to camp before the wind starts, you can hang out and recover. With decent water flow, miles on San Juan (except for the last day's 4 or so miles) are easy to make. Your choice. If you get up early and no wind - not a problem. If you sleep in and are rowing after mid day and the wind comes up - gonna be a long hard tiring day big time. slickhorn and grand gulch are just awesome camps and I would hate to see you miss either of them as the hikes are about as good as it gets.
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Old 04-26-2011   #4
 
Thronton, Colorado
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Stick with your plan and get up early. At those flows, you should be OK. We ran it last week at 650-ish, and could have done that, although we did not get a lot of wind...
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Old 04-26-2011   #5
 
juneau, Alaska
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What are you guys considering an early departure? I forgot to mention this is for a bachelor party...
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Old 05-10-2011   #6
 
White Mountains, Arizona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okieboater View Post
It can get windy in that section, so on the long mile days get up early and get on the water as early as possible. If you can get to camp before the wind starts, you can hang out and recover. With decent water flow, miles on San Juan (except for the last day's 4 or so miles) are easy to make. Your choice. If you get up early and no wind - not a problem. If you sleep in and are rowing after mid day and the wind comes up - gonna be a long hard tiring day big time. slickhorn and grand gulch are just awesome camps and I would hate to see you miss either of them as the hikes are about as good as it gets.
I couldn't agree more. The wind on the San Juan can get downright nasty so early starts are the best strategy for enjoying camp later on.
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Old 05-12-2011   #7
 
juneau, Alaska
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What time is early? 8am departure in able to raft 20 miles before midafternoon?
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Old 05-12-2011   #8
 
juneau, Alaska
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8am departure in order to raft 20 miles before midafternoon?
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Old 05-12-2011   #9
 
Kayenta, Arizona
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Realistic

Let's be realistic here...

You are doing a bachelor party, and most likely partying hard and staying up late. Good, enjoy your selves and the river. So realistically, you wont be on the water any before 10am most days. This should still work, especially if you have a crew that is willing to cover ground.

The water through the goosenekcs always flows at a nice speedy rate, even if the CFS is low. Hell, the Goosenecks has nearly a 10 foot per mile drop so you will be fine.

Realistically, I would shoot for 6-8 hour river days....on the water at 10:00, off when you get to your destination. Unless you just float along and do not paddle at all I would bet you will be fine. This time of year the sun is out late, so even if you dont get off the water till 5 or there-abouts you will have ample time to set-up, cook and party down.

We did the lower San Juan in 3 nights, 4 days a few years back in duckies and the flow was under 400cfs...granted we worked our asses off every day, but it can easily be done.

Don't forget to look around and enjoy the scenery....amazing place down in there.

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Old 05-15-2011   #10
 
Montrose, Colorado
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It's nice to hear a little talk about the San Juan. I've been getting a little worried about the rumors in the last day. Flows, I hear, are low. First time from Mex hat to Clay Hills. but did both stretches up river prior years. ... what can I expect this year. Can I do 17 miles in first day through goosenecks? second day 15 miles so we can hike JOHNS CANYON (any idea if its worth checking out) ... if that all works out. I've covered more than 30 of the 56 so I've planned relaxing days after that. Just wondering if this is still " do able" at really low cfs as it is now? ... party of 7 signing out.
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