What kind of river log do you keep? - Mountain Buzz

View Poll Results: What Kind of river log do you keep
It's all in my head - I have a photographic memory 6 14.63%
I keep a master list of runs, but few or no details 9 21.95%
I keep a log of every run with details 16 39.02%
I don't keep a log 10 24.39%
I tick off the runs in my guide book 8 19.51%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 41. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-21-2008   #1
raftus's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,165
What kind of river log do you keep?

I have been bad. As a commercial guide, after my rookie season I stopped keeping an actual log of every run. Instead I just got a summary from each company I worked for and used that. But I haven't really kept track of my private runs outside of my head. I do periodically update a word document with a list of everything I have ever ran and the number of times i have run each stretch.

So I want to know how you track your runs. Do you have a logbook, use a legal pad, just tick off the run in a guide book? Do you note the date, level, boat paddled, weather, who you went with, who owed ice cream? Is there some perfect book or journal out there for doing this?

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Old 02-21-2008   #2
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 971
Here's the official one:


I would try to keep copies of everything if you still plan on guiding commercially. After 1500 or so, it doesn't really matter for miles, but would still be good to have a record if you want to guide somewhere new or something.
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Old 02-21-2008   #3
raftus's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
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I used to use that one, and I have all of my guide training, check out, and related stuff in the official format. I am well over 6,000 miles now and the outfitters I have worked for have just wanted some kind of written record - so the logs from previous employers have worked just fine for those requirements.

I think I want spaces for who I went with, some trip notes and other memorable things for my private trips. For the commercial trips I just want to add one more tick to the list. The 87th time I guided parkdale dosen't hold much meaning for me.
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Old 02-22-2008   #4
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Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1999
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I have a log of every raft and kayak run. I keep a list of each run, who was there, what boat I was in, the flow, the date, the miles and my swim count. Then I also write narratives for interesting days. I use a small maybe 6"x4" note book. On the right hand pages I keep the list and write the narratives on the left hand pages.

I love looking back into it. It reminds me of all the cool trips and people I'd forgotten from time to time. Also, I have a great history to help me predict what will flow and when. Thinking about it now, I wish I'd kept peak snowpack totals for the major drainages to help me differentiate expected flows from year to year.

Journals are awesome - even for kayakers or non-professional rafters and a must for professional types.

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Old 02-22-2008   #5
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Phuoc My, Da Nang, THE 'NAM
Paddling Since: 1845
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,994
^ im with Joe, I go for detail in logging my trips.....

I made some forms on the computer a few years back when i got started boating, they have a few text boxes at the top for Body of Water/Stretch, Flow, Date, Who Went, and What Boat i used, plus the bottom half is empty for filling in with exciting stories. i printed off a huge pile of em and just fill out one of those every time i get back. i've got a large filing cabinet that they all hang out in, and its been nice. No questions about who went, what the flow was, etc, because its all right there!
"Don't f$&@ing eddy out, just run it! Whaddya doin??" -LMyers
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Old 02-22-2008   #6
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Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 02
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 183
I get a new calendar every year

Each paddling day I mark the river, flow, who went, quality and anything interesting; details such as swims, which combination of folks worked best together, folks I'll never boat with again etc. It works realy well when you are getting antsy about run off coming, Its not exact but will put you in the ballpark.
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Old 02-22-2008   #7
The next zone, .
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,200
I logged in every trip for quite a while now I just do a yearly update. I keep a yearly snow and water calender that I look back on for flow levels and snow days..

My first log entery was in 1982.. Browns Canyon with the pops.. First time I was on the oars was 1985 Salida to Rincon and is 87 I kayaked from Salida to Rincon.. My first unsupervised trip was at over 3300 cfs on the ark when I was 14.. Took all the rafting gear and my day's jeep for shuttle then ran browns with a few other kids.. We knew we had no chance but to get caught.. Funny pops was more pissed about drivin with out a license than he was about raftin at 14..

When I did the total and add em up again.. I have about 35,000 total miles since 1982.. Over 70% are on the Ark or creeks around the Ark.

Worthless but fun to look back over.
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Old 02-22-2008   #8
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Oct 2007
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I keep my river logs in the groover.
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Old 02-22-2008   #9
Join Date: Jul 2005
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I keep a fairly elaborate log in excel with a section with general info on runs (put-in, take-out, gradient, number of times I've run it, etc.), a section for all the flows I've run each section at, and a section for day-by-day info. I think it's definitely worth it and provides good entertainment for the off-season.

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Old 02-22-2008   #10
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Tabernash, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 113
My "Captain's Log" has gotten more detailed as years go by - I've mainly recorded the run itself, total mileage, who I ran it with, any events of note (e.g., my two flips) and anything else I felt compelled to mention. Last year was the first time I started recording cfs, campsites and weather. It's fun to read it over the winter and gets me totally amped for spring
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