The Ark on 1/17 - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 01-24-2010   #1
 
BV, CO
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Feb 2009
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The Ark on 1/17

A quick trip report...

Got a call last Saturday from someone I hadn't seen for years. John Regan was in BV delivering some Pyrahna boats to CKS and was looking for someone to boat with. He discovered, as I unfortunately have, that CO. boaters do other less important things like play in the snow even when the rio is perfectly runnable and its above freezing. Bobby over at CKS said he knew of some old nut that might be willing to boat and gave him my name and number. John and I last boated together on the Kennebec in Maine at least ten years ago and he had no idea that I was living out here. We decided to paddle the next afternoon (last Sunday) and I managed to talk my son into paddling with us for old time's sake.

A lot of folks will know who John is but for those who don't, he's a southeastern boater who pioneered a lot of the hard stuff back in the day. That day being glass boats on steep creeks and then the early plastic boats. If you've ever seen any old Gentry videos, he was in a lot of them. He still lives in Friendsville, Maryland at the Upper Yough takeout.

John has delivered boats all over the US but somehow had only paddled the Royal Gorge on the Ark. back in the early 80's. He was fired up to catch what has become my standard low water Ark run. We road scouted the Fractions up to the put in above Number 4. This included riverside inspections at a couple spots to make sure there was an adequate line that didn't include ice dams or shelves that would force a portage. It was "clear" but for maybe 3 spots that had an ice covered channel with enough water to make them scary but were still passable. The banks were all iced in with well under a foot of snow in that part of the valley.

It was about 40 degrees but cloudy with enough visibility to see the snow falling up on the continental divide. I ran the Ark probably a hundred times last season with many of the runs at low water on the section we were about to do so somehow I ended up leading the two world class boaters I was with into the first rapid. The level was probably between 400 and 500 cfs. This fall I ran it as low as 125 and therefore I know the ELF channels.

We had a great run from Number 4 to what I know as the "Miner's Campground" takeout. This is the takeout about 1/2 mile above the pay takeout with the silver railroad bridge. Highlights were the Rio itself, the great company, seeing an Otter with a struggling 10" trout in his mouth scramble up the bank at Number 4, and boofing into an eddy and turning to see John and my son Dustin making their own beautifully stylish moves into the same eddy with me. All 3 of us were paddling with wood paddles and pogies. None of us dealt with cold hands or cold anything. Of course we all stayed upright the whole time. We were all in creekers. For me, this was one of those special days that shows me how small and tight our global paddling community is and how multi generational we are.

If anyone is looking to paddle, I would say its good to go but good solid class 4 skills are needed and swimming is absolutely not an option. PM me if yer interested.

Phil

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Old 01-24-2010   #2
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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It was funny seeing his Semi with a 2010 Burn strapped to the back. You don't see that every day.
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Old 01-24-2010   #3
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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Well done Phil. I got on the river on the 16th. It was just a Rincon run, but it was clear, and at 550 that day we hit some really nice surf waves.
Think I'll hold off on numbers for a little while though...
Also heard a rumor that they might be shutting down the releases soon.
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Old 01-26-2010   #4
 
Buena Vista, Colorado
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That's a blast from the past. I don't think I've seen Johnny since 1991 or so. I wish I had known he was in town.

Thanks for the trip report.
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Old 01-26-2010   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckspaddler View Post
It was funny seeing his Semi with a 2010 Burn strapped to the back. You don't see that every day.

I saw that rig drivin in town the other day. Gave me a smile for sure.

Phil nice work gettin out on the rio! I have to say that you guys are crazy to paddle this time of the year..

Also the flows have been cut back from about 350cfs on the 17th to 100 cfs at granite today..
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Old 01-28-2010   #6
 
BV, CO
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Originally Posted by RDNEK View Post
I saw that rig drivin in town the other day. Gave me a smile for sure.

Phil nice work gettin out on the rio! I have to say that you guys are crazy to paddle this time of the year..

Also the flows have been cut back from about 350cfs on the 17th to 100 cfs at granite today..
You know, really, that would be a good spring boating day in Maine. Post holing to get to a creek, remembering to unzip yer PFD as soon as you get off so it doesn't freeze up on you, dodging one foot thick ice flows, portaging 1/2 mile ice dams... ayuh, them boatahs back in Maine are tough.

Too bad about the flow cut back. Do you know if they'll turn it back up when they're done working in the rio?

P.
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Old 01-29-2010   #7
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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Originally Posted by Phil U. View Post
Too bad about the flow cut back. Do you know if they'll turn it back up when they're done working in the rio?
P.
They are supposed to start working in the BV stretch again soon, and then start on the developments to the Salida park...so I would guess that we are done with releases until the natural melt comes (unless we get dumped on soon and they have to make room for more water).
WaterFlow Announcements

I'm sure RDNEK has more inside info though.
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