Cat canyon - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 12-06-2013   #1
 
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 43
Cat canyon

I'm planning on a cat canyon trip this spring and it will be my group's first time down. Looking for advice on the paddle out... I do not have a motor. How awful is the flat water if you just suck it up and oar your way through it? Anybody know of a place that rents them out? Also, any advice on the best camping locations, shuttle logistics, all that good stuff are appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

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Old 12-06-2013   #2
 
Pleasant Valley, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 95
Try the search function, lots of similar questions answered in past threads.
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Old 12-06-2013   #3
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FtC / Rancho del Rio, Colorado
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the paddle out can be lame. add wind and it full-on sucks. but it is what it is. just try to save some whiskey for it!!

check out a camp called "lower XY right" at rapid #10. best bocce ball course ever!!
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Old 12-06-2013   #4
 
montrose, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
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Conditions down there in the lake sediment can change rapidly. The same goes for the take out. You will need to get up to date information closer to your launch date.
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Old 12-06-2013   #5
 
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
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In this protracted drought, there is often current all the way to the boat ramp, it just depends on lake elevation. I'm not sure of the hite elevation and at what lake elevation the current is moving there, but I think the present lake level is such that there is current to take out. Fellow buzzards with more recent data on that could chime in. I've rowed out in flat water, and it was not even close to the worst thing I've ever done, but it is a grunt. Rowing thru the night worked out fine, slight downstream breeze allowed to set up the tarp sail. Headwinds do suck tho. I remember current was in the 5-6 mph range once we got into the silt, surprisingly fast with the occasional 6 foot sand waves, so wear pfd all the way to the end. Again, lake elevation determines everything.

Lake level should fall through the winter, and snow levels/spring weather will determine when and how much water will raise the level next year. So it's hard to predict where it will be in 6 months.

For shuttle, I tend to prefer the airplane (red tail aviation?) which can land direct at mineral bottom which is easier and there are no jet boats on the green side. To land at Moab airport requires a ride/taxi to potash. But jet boats are omnipresent on the CO side, so consider that when you choose which stem you will float to confluence. Airplane shuttles prevent long drive ins to retrieve shuttle car.

I also like camping at the camps at #3 and #5 as they are away from the Spanish bottom busy-ness, but provide good access to surprise valley and doll house.

I had my first couple flips in big drop 2 and 3 back in the early 90's at around 70K. Hairiest day of my life. Be ready for a couple 25-30 foot waves as the water gets up to those levels.

Have fun and good luck!
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Old 12-07-2013   #6
 
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Spring is a diverse term in the desert as far as flows. On Cat in March/early April it can still be low water journey at technical levels. Compared to late May/early June when the Colorado and Green are ramping up and causing flood stage conditions (some years).

As of right now, flow exists all the way to the Dirty Devil takeout and I would predict that to be the case at least through late April. There is no "need" for motors at those levels, even though it can be slow from Dark Canyon to the end of Millie Crag Bend. You may still desire one though, depends on your group. Last spring was an easy row out though.

I have only rowed Cat at extreme low to low/medium levels but love the journey. We normally choose the car shuttle to the takeout ourselves as its an easier rig day for us which helps considering the initially long drive over from SW Utah.

If given the chance for a first trip I would recommend starting at Mineral Bottom on the Green for the scenery. Camps aren't quite as plentiful but the hiking and scenery is more unique.

Have a good journey. Hoping to be down there in March again this year with our beast of an 30 year old Avon we call the "Fallout Shelter".

Phillip
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Old 12-07-2013   #7
 
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jul 2009
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Thanks for the comments! A few more details: The idea is a March 9th launch, which will mean low flows. You might have me convinced the paddle out won't be all that bad with the reservoir levels so low. It seems like Hite is the norm for most people, but it's over a mile downstream and is not free... Any comments on why this is? Is it just the mud?
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Old 12-07-2013   #8
 
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by restrac2000 View Post
We normally choose the car shuttle to the takeout ourselves as its an easier rig day for us which helps considering the initially long drive over from SW Utah.

...

Hoping to be down there in March again this year with our beast of an 30 year old Avon we call the "Fallout Shelter".

Phillip
How long has shuttle been for you in the past? Also, maybe we'll see you down there!

Cheers!
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Old 12-07-2013   #9
 
Woodland Park, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
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current ramp

I was just in the area over thanksgiving. Current was about 4-5 and was clipping along Nicely. With that being said you definitely want to take out at dirty devil. Hite looked to be about a quarter mile slog through mud with your great. Dirty devil was about 300 feet. As others have said check closer to March if the level has changed.
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Old 12-07-2013   #10
 
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vito View Post
How long has shuttle been for you in the past? Also, maybe we'll see you down there!

Cheers!
That or the week after is when we normally head down.

We just pay a company to shuttle the vehicles so I am not sure of the length anymore. Drove it once myself while buddies were rigging and remember it being in the half day range to do it yourself.

That time can be t-shirt weather and mid-70s but it can also still snow on ya. Go prepared. Always had a blast with the relative solitude then as most spring breakers get off from late-March to early-April so you beat the first rush.

Lake Powell should still be going down by then. It normally drops about .15 feet a day through that time of year. Flow should be well past Hite now. Hite will be high and dry and not best not even considered an option.

Enjoy the rapids....several of them are a blast at low flows. Big Drop 3 is relatively simple if you hit the obvious entry. The "newer' rapids below there are my favorite. We found plenty of camping that time of year last year, as long as you aren't expecting anything pretty below Imperial region.

Phillip
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