Desolation Gray Rafting in Early September - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-16-2011   #1
Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 24
Desolation Gray Rafting in Early September

Hey everyone,
Hope everyone is having a great summer!

I have a DesoGray permit for September 8th. First time on DesoGray. Currently in the process of planning. Have 6 days planned for the river. Would like to have 1 layover day making it 5 on the water. Sand Wash to Swasey's. Approx 17 miles a day to ambitious? Looking at USGS historical flows for Sept in 2009 and 2010 between 1700 and 2400 cfs. Do you think flows may be a little higher this September with what they are now? Want this trip to be relaxing and not a sun up to sun down forced march.
Any guesstimates what flows might be like in early September? Would flow be high/fast enough to get 17-20 miles a day say putting on at 10:00 am and getting off the river at 3:00 to 4:00 with probable 30-60 min break during the daily float (4mph). Preferred paddling speed minimal to slow. Or am I totally out of my mind and this is unrealistic. Possibly can make trip into 7 days however tight on the vacation time and would prefer to make it 6 days as long as trip doesn't become a job.

Oh yah, and what about these bat sized mosquitos I keep reading about? Problem in September?

Thanks for any input/thoughts/guesses/ideas/cash/property you can send my way.


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Old 07-16-2011   #2
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1
I'd say that's too ambitious given your wishes for a relaxed trip. I usually assume 12 miles a day. So extend the trip or forget about a lay-over day would be my suggestion. Mosquitoes are not usually a problem in September unless heavy thunderstorms have created new breeding pools at the put-in.

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Old 07-16-2011   #3
LeftOfCenter's Avatar
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: '05
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 96
My suggestion, both for avoiding mosquitoes and getting your layover day in there somewhere, is to bite the bullet and push for a long day the first day. Aim for Jack Creek, and yes, that can be a lot of rowing, but that's how we always have done it (even with camp kids and outward bound youth paddle boats) and once you cover over 20 (maybe over 25) miles the first day, it really frees up the map for the rest of the trip. Also- after Jack Creek the water really picks up speed and the bugs are way, way better.
A lot of people are tempted by the campgrounds on or around Stampede Flats: the bugs are still man-eaters at this point. I've never gone as late as september, but the bugs are going to be kind of epic this year, so I would just consider them a major factor, and if they turn out not to be there, awesome- you'll be able to tell at the put-in.

So that would be my advice- sacrifice 'relaxed' for just the first day (everyone's still energized then anyway, right?) and set yourself up to have options later on.
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Old 07-17-2011   #4
Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 24
Thanks folks for the advise/suggestions. I'll run the options in front of the crew and see what the preferance would be.

Thanks again
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Old 07-17-2011   #5
briandburns's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 190
Originally Posted by Horn View Post
Oh yah, and what about these bat sized mosquitos I keep reading about? Problem in September?
We've taken five September trips there. Never had any mosquito problems that time of year.
Have a good trip, and take that seventh day you were talking about.
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Old 07-17-2011   #6
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 55
7 Days for sure!

Take a 7th day. We have also done the first day as a 25 mile day but had a lay over day. So choose one or the other. I remember the camping being not as High Quality in the first 25 miles so PUSH~
No Mosquitoes in SEPT. However WIND WIND WIND~~~~~~ Plan on wind every afternoon. If you read John Wesley Powells account of his travels, he speaks of "Hell-acious Winds"
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