Denver Paddling and storage for my raft? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 03-17-2008   #1
 
Breckenridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 46
Denver Paddling and storage for my raft?

So I am having major cabin fever living in Uptown Denver now after living in BV last season and Breck before that, my questions are...

Does anyone have part of a garage near down town/uptown I might share or rent for my puma raft (2/x4' when its rolled up) and some other misc gear?

(Misc camping gear tent, camping chairs, stove, paco pad)

Also I know there is a run through Denver but im not sure where the put in/take out is or what class it is or when it flows...any local info would be greatly appreciated...

Also anyone who might want to join me this season for some big III to IV paddling in my Puma is welcomed... class V if you got big balls and the experience to back it up...

I will not paddle any big water unless we try some smaller stuff together first as my boat is only 11'6 and class IV is plenty big for that boat most of the time...

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Old 03-17-2008   #2
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
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I feel you man. I'm in Cheyenne after years in Leadville.
I'd be happy to R2 some gnar gnar with you if you're looking for a fellow weekend warrior this summer. I just bought a 9' mini-me and am down to paddle most anyhwere in Colorado. The Poudre is great for little rafts.

I took a Puma down the Upper Gauley several times this year. It's a flip fest when you do big water in one of those things!

Let me know if you need an R2 partner for that little boat!
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Old 03-17-2008   #3
 
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Boulder, Colorado
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The main run in Denver is the South Platte, it has few natural rapids but a number of man made ones. Usual put-in is Union Ave Chutes off of Santa Fe. Takeout below Confluence park on river left at City of Cuernavaca Park. You can also put-in near c-470 below Chatfield Reservoir for a longer and somewhat cleaner float.

I went on the river cleanup from Union to Confluence last year and the river corridor is fairly disgusting there. Homeless people live on the banks and use the river as a bathroom. When the flows get high you may want to catch the river after peak has flushed most of the crap downstream. Also remember that big rainstorms just wash all the dog poop and pollutants out of the storm sewers into the river, yet another reason to go after a peak flow.
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Old 03-17-2008   #4
 
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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If you're even thinking about the South Platte through Denver...

I finally boated Clear Creek through Wheat Ridge last spring (the "Wheat Ridge Daily"). Its fun and not nearly as foul as the Urban S. Platte. Between Kipling and Wadsworth has a few little rapids and a fun glassy 8' or 10' drop structure that ends in a little wave train. The drop at Wadsworth is shallow, studded with nasty rocks for aereation, and has a big hole that may be a keeper and could surf & flip you for a nasty swim through sharp rocks so be prepared to scout it and portage there depending on the flow.

The section between Wadsworth and Sheridan has some bouncy and fun rapids when the flow comes up. There's an unrunnable concrete slab debris seive mess at about Tennyson, and I'm not sure about what's below that to the confluence with the S. Platte.

Between I-70 and Kipling there are some fun-looking rapids but I've yet to run them. At high water there'll be a mandatory portage at Kipling or a really hairy float under the low bridge there. I can already see a bunch of guys in paddle gear waiting for a break in the traffic and running across Kipling with a raft and a couple of kayaks.

It'll be on my after-work fun list now that I've got access to a 12' SB and I'd be up for meeting folks to run it with and maybe clear some wood (Russian Olives are really nasty with the 2" thorns...) before the water comes up. It can all be scouted from the Clear Creek bikepath.

PM me if you're interested.

-AH

PS - speaking of after-work fun, the Upper Blue's gonna rock this year should be doable leaving town about 4 pm.
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Old 03-22-2008   #5
 
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Andy,

I have goofed around on the Clear Creek town run a few times it has some fun 2-3 stuff.Shopping Cart Falls at Wadsworth has a good sized ramp that goes under a bridge and sometimes forms a decent sized hole + debris like pallets and shopping carts,it is hard to scout for junk at high flows due to shadows and glare off the water plus it is turbulent aeriated water,after that is a fast section with a concrete wall on one side sort of like a cliff,there is an unclean drop by some baseball fields.Down at Lowell is a dam that looks runnable followed by some catch on the fly waves[ at 800+cfs] and some boulders to eddy hop,below here it gets pretty lame there are some very straight forward tongues with signs claiming they are dangrous,class 2 at best, if you keep going past Federal you come to a dangerous low head dam.I was soloing in my kayak when i came up to it ,there were some shore eddies but for some reason I decided to run it ,boofed hard into the eddy and kept momentum and peeled out just past the long boil line,stupid !it was a sticky lookin' thang.I got home that night and on the news there was a search underway for some kids feared drowned,their k-mart raft was spotted surfing in that hole/dam empty,turned out they were ok,there is a very faint tongue just off the left bank.Eventually I came to a 6 to 8 ft . railroad tie drop that looked fun to boof on both sides but both had strainers in the runnout,to contiinue you were tresspassing[on land] in some railyard,end of the line.Walking back to Federal was like a wasteland,I kid you not this is probably the worst place in Colorado,shanty towns of homeless people in a very ugly industrial setting between highways[i-70,i-76 + boulder turnpike?],it is obviously used for partying and drug abuse, trash everywhere mostly liquor bottles ,used condoms,hypodermic needles,soiled panties .etc.It sprinkled a little and all these big snapping turtles came out to sun themselves afterward,wierd that even in this place there was cool wildlife.A rafter I know walks his dog down closer to the confluence and says there are some semi-interesting drops if it has water.Some people in a cheap raft were killed somewhere on this stretch maybe 10 years ago.Long post for a mediocre river ,but hey if it is in your backyard ,whynot?
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Old 03-23-2008   #6
 
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Snowmass, Colorado
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Anyone ever run the drop on Clear Creek upriver of I-70, just below where the trail crosses? It's about halfway between the Coors silos and I-70. Looks like fun, but I've not tried it yet.
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Old 03-25-2008   #7
 
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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Suburban Backyard Boating

Got some time to kill so here goes...

First, check out Clear Creek below Golden on Google Earth and pan your way downstream. You'll need to zoom out to get the street names and then zoom back in to see the Clear Creek. The aerial photos currently used were taken in the spring or early summer when there was a good flow in Clear Creek (I'd guess about 400 cfs at Golden), so you can see the rapids along the reach pretty well.

earthNRG:
Quote:
Anyone ever run the drop on Clear Creek upriver of I-70, just below where the trail crosses? It's about halfway between the Coors silos and I-70.
earthNRG,

I think there are a lot of pretty shallow, manky drops on that stretch, which, combined with a culvert, make floating it pretty difficult. I don't usually bike up that far but it should all be scoutable from the bike path so you can check it out from CSM sometime and give us a report. If its runnable and the culvert shown in the aerial photo was only temporary for the Cabela's construction, it could be a good upstream add-on to the section described below.

Cayo 2:
Quote:
I have goofed around on the Clear Creek town run a few times it has some fun 2-3 stuff.Shopping Cart Falls at Wadsworth has a good sized ramp that goes under a bridge and sometimes forms a decent sized hole + debris like pallets and shopping carts,it is hard to scout for junk at high flows due to shadows and glare off the water plus it is turbulent aeriated water,after that is a fast section with a concrete wall on one side sort of like a cliff,there is an unclean drop by some baseball fields....
Cayo2,

There's a park at Youngfield/I-70 you could launch from and some potentially decent rapids just above Prospect Park. The bridge at Kipling may be too low to go under if the water's really up also. Then just below the 44th Ave bridge is a major horizon line and the glassy 8' or 10' drop. Believe it or not, but its actually fairly pretty down through that whole section of the Greenbelt - you'll notice that the sides of Clear Creek have lots of trees in the parkland along the creek. There's enough underbrush and buffer, and the creek's lower than the surrounding area so its not obvious you're floating through the 'burbs. You don't start getting into the urban blight until just above Wadsworth.

What you're calling "Shopping cart falls" at Wadsworth is what I referred to as "shallow, studded with nasty rocks for aereation, and has a big hole that may be a keeper and could surf & flip you for a nasty swim." You want to portage this in a raft because if the water's high enough to run the ramp into the hole without scraping the rocks embedded in concrete (maybe 600-800 cfs at Golden?), the hole at the bottom will be big enough to catch, surf and very possibly flip any raft small enough that you'd want to run the stretch with. If the water's low enough to run the hole, you'll have a nasty drag down the ramp on the aereation rocks and may spend the next weekend patching the floor instead of running the Ark or Poudre. You can see it on the upstream side of the Wadsworth bridge on the aerial photos - designed to be shallow and scratchy for aereation. There's an easy portage on the right side and you could still run the continuous set of rapids section along the wall just downstream of Wadsworth. There are actually boat landings above and below the Wadsworth bridge but they're too far above and below the hole to be much use if you're boating through.

I think the "unclean drop by some baseball fields" is the little rapid just below Marshall. I've run that in a raft and it didn't seem too bad at the level that day.

I haven't boated below Sheridan but have scouted down to the unrunnable seive/drop at Tennyson, (where there's also a possible takeout just above the bridge on the right by the bikepath). After that the neighborhood, water quality, and general atmosphere just gets worse, low-head dams become common as you get closer to the confluence with the south Platte and it isn't worth boating.

So to sum it up, with the exception of a mandatory portage at Wadsworth, the entire section from Youngfield to Tennyson could be a fun after work run for a paddle raft and a couple of kayaks, or especially a Mini-Me or a Shredder. Yeah, its nothin' spectacular and there are much better runs a couple of hours away, but hell, its right there in the backyard five minutes away for a lot of us...

-AH
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