upper lake fork scouting report
went up above Lake City hoping to take a few pics of the 50is footer that was mentioned a couple days ago. Found a whole lot more. heres my report-
Lake Fork- 3 Gorges Section- Sherman to Lake San Cristobal is mostly pastoral meadows and beaver ponds and ultimately, not very good boating. However, there are three small canyons the river flows into in between. The first section, which runs from the Mill Creek CG to below the private property, starts out with some easy III before pouring into some IV's. There is private property on both sides of this section, so scouting here is not an option, although i dont think you would need to. The next canyon is probably the best. Put in at the bridge where there is an old metal gate with a "no tresspassing" sign on the west side of the road (the river is on the east). this is a short IV+ section through some fun drops and some bouldery rapids. take out at the bottom, hike up and run it again. Williams Creek CG, which is right below beside this, would make a good place to camp and run this a bunch of times. The last section is remiscint of the Box below Lake City. A deep box canyon isolated from the road with a few class III's tossed will bring you to Lake San Cristobal. Put in at the public lands boundary (Theres a sign on the road). These gorges, while not worthy of driving to just for themselves, could provide some fun if you were in the valley for a few days.
Lake Fork- Cinnamon Gorge- This is pretty extreme. Im not sure where the guys in the story put in, but you could put in as high up as Burrows Park (the two deserted cabins on the Cinnamon Pass road). Most of the run is V/V+ in nature, lots of preciptuous, continuous drops. There is also a lot of wood in this run. Portaging, although located in the bottom of a deep canyon, isnt too hard until the bottom. This bottom section is where things go from fun to extreme. The river pours over a couple V's into a very narrow slot, which then pours out into the height-yet-undecided waterfall. The river then pours into a very turbulent looking set of boxed in rapids before mellowing out and going past Sherman. The main problem with this run is isolation. Although the Cinnamon Pass road is above, its a LONG ways up, and often times there are multiple sheer cliffs between. Climbing out before the waterfall box would be possible (although extremely long), but climbing out anywhere near the waterfall box would be difficult to impossible. But dont let that stop you. This run has a LOT of potential.
Lake Fork- Upper Upper- Although not technically a "run", I thought i should at least mention it. Above Burrows Park, along the Cinnamon Pass road, the river goes through several tiny mini gorges with runnable drops in them. although the boating in-between these gorges is mnaky and beaver pondish, there are seven or eight drops that appear runnable. So if youre bored and in the neighborhood, have some fun.
Cottonwood Creek- Again, im not sure where the crew from the website put in, but i drove a ways up and found some good stuff in between. You can pretty much put in anywhere. There are a lot of good runnable drops on this, and a lot of ugly wood choked stuff. Be prepared to get in and out of your boat a lot. There are some quality drops on this creek though. twisting IV's and a narrow V or two. The bottom part of this run is smooth boulders and is faily easy. An ideal takeout would be the Cataract Gulch Trail bridge. It comes just after the gradient runs out.
Ive got pictures of all of this, if anyone is curious. And again, these are just my observations. If something needs correcting, let me know.