Originally Posted by Fly By Night
EM how did you find Pearce in the middle of the night? I haven't been on the canyon so this might be obvious but it seems like it would be hard to find a takeout in the dark.
Its actually an amazing way to say goodbye to the canyon. I've hit it on a full moon night and a very dark night and they are both great. Amazing to be floating looking at the stars. The full moon night was awesome too... no need for flashlights at all and its a pretty thing. I actually slept most of that night since I was driving... but I've been in charge of staying up and keeping off the banks on the other trips.
You'll definitely want to set the rafts up with some usable oars on the outside and a couple people to stay up and man them. A couple of bright tight beam flashlights are very helpful too. Not hard to stay away from the walls...but its almost certain you'll get close a few times during the night. You gotta watch out for sand bars and getting stuck in eddies in a few places too. Its all flatwater though...so its pretty mellow overall.
I've gotten to the boat ramp while its dark several times and its honestly not too bad. The first time I did it we were overreacting to everything since no one wanted to miss it...but its pretty obvious when you come up on it. You'll definitely want to pay attention and keep an eye on the maps or even better use a GPS to keep track of where you are. If you do get there late, it might be better to just stop at the last camp, which is about a mile from the takeout. On my 2017 trip we did that because we got there about 2-3am...and we just tied the boats off to shore and everyone went back to sleep.
The second time I did it, which was the same one as the full moon version and worked perfectly from a logistics standpoint (though not as pretty as floating down the river as the sun goes down...the canyon walls are huge down there...as big as anywhere in the canyon). We didn't push off down the river till about 8pm and got to the takeout around 7am so it was light out when we hit the ramp. We floated to Spencer Canyon(a camp a few miles past the end of the rapids), ate dinner and let everyone groove and get their beds made up on the rafts (after lashing them together with cam straps frame to frame).
You just have to get the timing right. Depending on flows(higher flows its a bit quicker and lower slower)...its about 3-4mph average. I think its 55 or so miles from Diamond and 40 something from the end of the rapids... so it takes about 11 hours.
All that said... you definitely want to be vigilant and not miss the ramp. Its not hard to miss so no don't worry too much...but don't miss it since this is what lies a bit less then a mile from the ramp (and why most can't float to Lake Mead anymore)...
My first trip down... fairly high water (~20k cfs with Powell outflow plus monsoon runoff conditions)
More recent at lower winter flows