TR: Left Hand Creek (Post Flood) - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 05-12-2015   #1
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Boulder, Colorado
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TR: Left Hand Creek (Post Flood)

I drove up Left Hand Canyon today to do a quick scout and ended up paddling it. I put in at the confluence of James Creek and Left Hand Creek and took out at the park (Buckingham Park?).

There were two portages due to wood. The first was a tree about 6 inches in diameter across the main channel. This was early in the run in an area where the river braids through a wide clearing. It's tricky to see this one from upstream, so take it slow. The river is only about a foot deep here, and I imagine two able-bodied paddlers could move it out of the channel. I would have done it myself, but i was alone on this mission. Portage on the left.

The second tree is a river-wide affair that is very easy to see from upstream. Portage left.

If the river ever split into two channels, I went right and didn't have any issues.

If you're driving up for a run, take a look at the bridge where the river goes under Left Hand Drive (about halfway through the run). The bridge creates a low-head dam sort of situation, which I stumbled into. It wasn't too bad at today's level (250), but I'm definitely walking it if I go back with higher flows.

There's a larger rapid about 1/4 - 1/2 mile upstream from the take-out. I had a bad piton here on one of the larger ledges, so I'd advise that you scout this one.

The gauge said 250 when I put on and I'd call this level a minimum. You can certainly go lower, but it wouldn't be much fun. I'm guessing 350 would be perfect.

All in all, the run was significantly better than expected. The guidebook makes it sound horrible, but I found it quite enjoyable. The difficulty and scenery are similar to that of Bluebridge to Ebin Fine on Boulder Creek, without the horde of gapers.

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Old 05-12-2015   #2
 
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Nice. Can't believe I've still never done this one. Always heard it wasn't worth it.


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Old 05-12-2015   #3
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I swore for probably the fourth time I'd never do it again but maybe I have to suffer one more time to check out out post flood... In some else's boat. What gauge are you using? I thought it was a visual only.
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Old 05-12-2015   #4
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Boulder, Colorado
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The gauge is called "Left Hand Creek Near Boulder Colorado" (link to gauge)
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Old 05-12-2015   #5
 
Denver, Colorado
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I noticed USGS had a gauge for Lefthand that I am pretty sure is new.It is way down stream at Longmont.There may be diversions.Weird It says near Boulder..anyway 250 preflood would be mediumish it was smaller than Bear Crk.,.two portages of wood is not bad for that creek ...there was a log not far below the confluence put in before the flood .We used to just put in below it.It was before you go behind the rock outcrop ..your piton spot sounds like the old crux..a set of tight bony ledges sandwiched between road and a cliff on left ...it is mostly similar to Four mile down without Buttress...not any more boat abusive than Bear or lwr.Bldr.Canyon low KSC...so yeah pretty bad ...too low really blows.,what about that ledge about 1/4 mile below take out,it is on private property but right by the road.Bushes made it hard to scout without trespassing,but they got blown out in the flood...always looked like it might be a decent drop /boof it was/ is just below a culvert( maybe a bridge now)...gotta get up there..
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Old 05-12-2015   #6
 
Denver, Colorado
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I reread what you wrote...sounds a lot different,at least the "braided channels" and splitting into two channels part..it was totally single track..with FU rocks..oh yeah ,the reason we never just boated down to that other drop is there was really ugly wood with lousy eddy options half way between and below was woodfest ..might be clean or really nasty woodpile..
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Old 05-13-2015   #7
 
OTR, Colorado
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Thanks for the report! I will have to check it out soon.
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Old 05-21-2015   #8
 
OTR, Colorado
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Ran it yesterday at about 270 and it was about as bony as Blue Bridge down (LBC) at the same flow. Maybe bonier, but that could have been due to me not knowing the best lines.

According to the Lefthand Creek Near Boulder (LEFCRECO) info, the gauge is just below the takeout (Buckingham Park). Here is a link to a google map of the GPS coordinates given for it.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/40...!3m1!1s0x0:0x0

I thought it was a fun run! I appreciated the adventure of running a new creek and always like being in Lefthand Canyon. But I do think LBC is a better quality run.
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