White Rock Canyon low water TR - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 09-05-2012   #1
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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White Rock Canyon low water TR

Snowhere and myself decided to head south to New Mexico for Labor Day weekend after managing to secure a shuttle and obtain a suitable map. Specifics of the trip planning can be found here: https://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f...end-45016.html for anyone interested...

We left Salida at 330 pm Friday and by the time we drove to Santa Fe and met Abe, got my car dropped at Cochiti Reservoir and made it up to Buckman Crossing it was 1130 pm. There wasn't anyone at Buckman that night, but we still didn't feel comfortable camping there so we shoved off under a full moon.



We floated around 2 miles and ran one easy class II rapid before finding a satisfactory campsite river right.

The second day we launched pretty early and got going.



Even though the flow had dropped to the bare bones minimum for a kayak, 400 cfs at the Otowi Bridge, we still had enough to float, and some current....at least at first.

We stopped at the Red Dot trail a couple miles down before it got too hot and hiked up to some petroglyphs:



and a fantastic view of the canyon:


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Old 09-05-2012   #2
 
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After climbing up to the Petroglyphs it was starting to get pretty hot, so we stopped for an hour or two and soaked in the cold water pool of Pajarito Springs:



Not too far below the Red Dot we came to the rapids.



The biggest in the canyon is Ancho. The guidebooks rate it as III/IV and there was certainly large rocks in a constricted channel, but at this flow it boated more like a II+.



Below the rapids the water completely flattens...but the scenery is incredible.



but then it got difficult for a little way. Hidden sandbars and no current made it difficult to read the water. I managed to hand crawl a couple times, but didn't have to exit my boat. Snowhere wasn't as lucky:

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Old 09-05-2012   #3
 
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We traveled significantly farther on day 2 then we expected. The plan was to camp/hike at either Frijoles or Alamo Canyons....but apparently we missed them as we were preoccupied with trying not to get stuck.

We ended up camping at Capulin Canyon at river mile 14. There were large, fresh bear tracks:



so we were very careful with cooking, and made sure to hang our food in a tree a good distance from camp.

The next morning we hiked Capulin Canyon in search of the elusive "Painted Cave". We found good hiking, but were unsuccessful in locating the cave...



From Capulin we were 6 miles of flatwater from the boat ramp at the reservoir. The channel began to deepen, and the scenery stayed fantastic all the way to the lake.



The "log boom dam" was not an issue to paddle around, and we were extremely lucky to have completely calm winds as we paddled around to the takeout.





My car was patiently waiting at the parking area for us. No tickets, no vandalism, the cooler even still had cold beer in it! From there we headed up to Orilla Verde recreation area to do an "elf" run on the racecourse...



All in all I would call it a fun and successful trip. The scenery and hiking are top notch, as is the "wilderness feel" of the run. The whitewater was quite mild though, and the majority of the trip was flat water. I would definitely do it again, but would look for a little more water. I think the most important thing about this trip is to take enough time to fully enjoy it. I could see it sucking if you were in a hurry to paddle the flats.
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Old 09-05-2012   #4
 
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One more pic to share, myself and the fully loaded Pyranha Fusion. A great boat for kayak self-support.

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Old 09-05-2012   #5
 
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Evergreen, Colorado
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Cool. Looks fun. Was the put in shady? Just wondering why the better option was paddling in under the moon.
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Old 09-05-2012   #6
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thanks for the report Logan. Super bummed I wasn't able to make it, but looks like you guys had fun!
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Old 09-05-2012   #7
 
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Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Great report!

Looks like you took out at the west ramp. Was the Tetilla ramp gated after dark?
I kayaked Whiterock as a rushed day trip nearly 7 years ago and saw the biggest beaver (Castor canadensis) on that lower flat water stretch, then raced a motorized canoe to the same ramp. Any rattlebugs or scorpion stories? How about ELF images from Pilar?
Thanks for the inspiration. Now I'll plan a long weekend family trip for next spring with more water for the raft and a motor for the lake section.
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Old 09-05-2012   #8
 
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Looks nice, gotta love self support missions!

That first pic is classic, those handlebars are legit
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Old 09-05-2012   #9
 
Park City, Utah
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I helped build the little dam below that waterfall about 30 years ago

Thanks for putting up some pictures!
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Old 09-05-2012   #10
 
BV, CO
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Nice, Logan. But I thought you were supposed to put your gear in your boat...
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