Moving from Michigan to Denver--get me excited about rafting! - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 02-10-2016   #1
 
fishingraft's Avatar
 
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 249
Moving from Michigan to Denver--get me excited about rafting!

I've been scouring this forum since last summer when I bought my raft for fly fishing in Michigan. Luck would have it that I'm packing up and moving to Denver in a month. I've never floated whitewater, and am absolutely thrilled to learn...and how serendipitous, I already own a 13' NRS Outlaw!

A few of you have offered to show me the ropes. Thank you so much! Will take you up on that soon. In the meantime, what do you think my first year should entail? I'm looking for a mix of 2-6 day floats, with one longer one to get in the books before the end of the season.

What rivers should I get to know? Any books I should read?

To all you guys who helped me build my DIY frame, I'm really going to put it to the test this summer.

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Old 02-10-2016   #2
 
New Castle, Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 85
I also moved here from Michigan, last summer was my first boating season. I started with a whitewater guide course at the beginning of the summer, which was probably unnecessary but I learned a ton. I did a bunch of floats down Ruby/Horsethief Canyon, which is an easy Class I float that can take 1-3 days. From there, I got on a Desolation Canyon Trip. Deso is an awesome trip to do to get your feet wet with multi-day trips in the desert. The rapids were mostly I-III, and the trip takes 5-7 days. If you can find someone who has a permit for a Deso trip I would definitely try and get on that. At the end of the summer I did my first taste of bigger water and ran Westwater Canyon. Westwater is right after Ruby/Horsethief.
Hope some of that helps!
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Old 02-10-2016   #3
 
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Summit County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 92
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So many great rivers in the West to explore. If you have truly never seen whitewater I would suggest a guide school and/or a swift water certification. Are you trying to fish or just do overnights with friends? I would start by looking into The Upper Colorado River (Pumphouse, State Bridge) Do not try to learn white water when these runs are above 2000cfs, If you do run center at Yarmony, you will learn all about white water(sarcasm). Other areas to look into are Ruby-Horestheif of the Colorado River (Utah, permit required and easy to get). The Arkansas River has some option but there is more whitewater for the most part than the previous section listed. The milk run is pretty mellow, browns would turn things up for you and in the numbers/gorge you would learn all about swimming white water.

As far as more than a 5 day trip, the permit season just ended were all waiting for results. You can still acquire a permit, but making friends with a permit is probably easier.
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Old 02-10-2016   #4
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Green river from green river to mineral bottom or confluence of the colorado. The second option involves a jet boat ride back to Moab and a permit that is easy to get. Both are good shake down trips for long trips.
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Old 02-10-2016   #5
 
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Summit County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 92
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Also Books to look into:
Whitewater of the Southern Rockies
Colorado rivers and creeks (out of print but you can still find them on amazon for a decent price)
Any of the Belknap's map too
And of course the Buzz search feature will have everything you need
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Old 02-11-2016   #6
 
Steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oarboatman View Post
Green river from green river to mineral bottom or confluence of the colorado. The second option involves a jet boat ride back to Moab and a permit that is easy to get. Both are good shake down trips for long trips.
The Green below Flaming Gorge (A,B,C section) is really nice. No permit, nice campsites (pretty sure you reserve those ahead of time), beautiful scenery. Water's clear and there's so many fucking fish you might not be able to concentrate on the few easy rapids that do exist.
It's fun to see the change in scenery on the trip down from Flaming Gorge to Brown's Park.

Please clean up your trash (and any that's not yours if you see it), and shit in a toilet (many of the campsites have permanent ones) while you're there. The area is beautiful, but it does seem to be greatly under-appreciated. When we went, we discovered a cove where people had literally been shitting and pissing and leaving their remnants (toilet paper and turds) for others to find... and that's super lame.

Also, on a side note, because I can't help myself... consider not moving to Denver... there's not enough water as it is to support the current population, let alone a rapidly growing population.
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Old 02-11-2016   #7
 
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 249
Thanks everyone! My list is already huge. Super pumped to join the other 999,999 people moving to Denver this year!

Quote:
Originally Posted by soggy_tortillas View Post
Also, on a side note, because I can't help myself... consider not moving to Denver... there's not enough water as it is to support the current population, let alone a rapidly growing population.
Can't blame you for saying this. Totally understand--and it's only getting worse. I'm going to be working for an agency that's all about water resources in the west, so I'll be doing my due diligence to try to make sure that there's enough water for me, you, and all nature's plants and animals (which is impossible, it's an effing desert).
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Old 02-11-2016   #8
 
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 127
Once you're Class IV ready, Cataract Canyon is the ticket for your "longer than 6 day trip". I believe it is right around 108 miles. Only ~30 have whitewater so bring a motor or a friend with a motor. Very easy to get permits compared to other trips out here.

You will know if you're ready when you stop feeling scared shitless rowing Westwater.

Deso trips can easily go over 6 days with a slow pace and/or layover days - it is an 84 mile stretch.

You're not going to find anything but day trips and single overnights <4 hours from Denver.
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