Newb Here! Need info on kayaking/rafting from the confluence to Moab - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 04-04-2011   #1
 
Seaside, California
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 5
Newb Here! Need info on kayaking/rafting from the confluence to Moab

Hey Y'all,
I depart in a couple of weeks from Golden Gate park in SF on a solo coast to coast hiking expedition. After checking out my maps I became fascinated with Canyonlands National Park. I need to know if rafting up the Colorado from the confluence to Moab is even possible. If so, what kind of gear might I need to accomplish this, what kind of physical challenge should I expect, etc? Was thinking of packing in a Yukon Yak inflatable raft or something similar. I have not done any serious rowing/paddling in a long while. Thoughts and suggestions greatly appreciated.

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Old 04-04-2011   #2
 
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 67
Paddling against the current for fifty miles will burn up muscles you didn't know you had. Everybody but you does that stretch by floating downstream and getting jet-boated out from the confluence. But if you are determined, you should test your resolve by practicing on the run between Moab and Potash. If it doesn't seem like it's working, you can hike out to the road. The Colorado River gradient is only a couple of feet per mile above the confluence. But the flow level will greatly influence the power of the river. You should wait until after the annual run-off to even think about this stunt.

Back in the 1930's there was a guy named Bert Loper who used to row up and down the Colorado in Glen Canyon in a wooden rowboat. He was obsessed with gold at the time so probably not thinking normally. Upstream travel requires constantly re-crossing the channel to look for the least current. You might paddle 100 miles to make the 50.
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Old 04-04-2011   #3
 
Seaside, California
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Hey Dave,
Thanks for the reply, your final sentence pretty much did the trick. The whole idea was to cut some miles off my original route, get off my feet for a bit, and enjoy some awesome scenery. Paddling 100 miles to go 50 kind of defeats the purpose.

The American Discovery Trail (discoverytraildotorg) takes a major right turn at Hite, UT and makes a long circuitous loop back up to Moab, almost doubling the distance of a direct overland route. I think I'll take the Hayduke Trail insted of the river thanks to your suggestion. Still want to raft the river someday, maybe on my way back to Cali next year. Thanks again.
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Old 04-04-2011   #4
 
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Golden, CO
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I would think it physically impossible to hike a raft down to the confluence nevermind paddle back upstream to Moab.
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Old 04-04-2011   #5
 
Seaside, California
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Nothing is impossible, however, some things are more trouble than they are worth. Another of my reasons for considering the upriver route from Hite was to avoid having to pack 40 to 50lbs of H2O through the Canyonlands in addition to my 40 or so lbs of gear (not a minimalist).
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Old 04-04-2011   #6
 
San Jose, CA, California
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You still have a few options.

1. Hitch a ride across the river at Spanish bottom. Both commercial and private boaters camp their regularly and it should be easy to get a ride across. Their you will be able to connect with the trail systems that make up the eastern part of Canyonlands National Park.

2. Have someone bring a sea kayak down to the confluence for you. The obtainment in a sea kayak has been done. Although it is easier the lower the flows (5000-8000cfs) above the confluence.

3. Hitch a ride down cat-canyon and hike out Dark canyon.
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Old 04-04-2011   #7
 
Seaside, California
Paddling Since: 2011
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Hi Buckman,
I had considered having a sea kayak brought down, surely more efficient than anything I could pack in. Dave made it sound like an aweful lot more work than fun, doesn't mean I wouldn't attempt it, the challenge seed has been planted now and I will probably have to at some point, but likely not this trip.

I'm curious about the trails on the eastern side of the park. How often they might intersect with the river in particular. The more frequently my path encounters the river the less water I need to pack, making the trip considerably more enjoyable.
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Old 04-04-2011   #8
 
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2011
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While I still think the fifty mile upstream paddle idea is not practical for your trip, I do have an equipment suggestion for you for future reference. There is a company called Alpacka that makes very lightweight rafts for expeditions that require a combination of hiking and boating. I have the medium sized model that weighs about six pounds. Fantastic technology. I use it for crossing rivers on backpacking trips, or as an extra playboat on float trips. It was developed in Alaska for expeditions that require numerous water crossings. A few hairboater types are even paddling class IV in the little things now. There is a thread on here somewhere about people using them in the Grand Canyon. Check out the Alpacka website sometime.
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Old 04-04-2011   #9
 
Seaside, California
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Hey Dave,

After what you said about the currents I tend to agree with you. If I was starting my trip from the east coast it would be another story. It does sound like a great time but for another day.

As far as Alpacka Rafts, I mentioned possibly using one in my original post (yukon yak). I know a guy who has one and he swears by it. What I didn't know was the price, OUCH!

I've sold or am in the process of selling everything I own of value to finance this trip and there's not much left, not enough for a $900 raft for sure. As it is I will be doing a lot of hunting and gathering just to feed myself, which was kind of the idea really. At this point in my life I need some extensive time alone with God and nature, some simplicity and some peace, long story.

Thanks for the helpful comments and do keep in touch, I should be passing through central CO sometime in late June, early July.
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Old 04-04-2011   #10
 
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Oops, I have had my Alpacka for about 6-7 years and didn't even remember that Yukon Yak was one of the model names. I got mine for $600 back then directly from the business owner (Sherry) in Anchorage. She has since moved to Colorado and acquired a new shop. Inflation happens.

Good luck with your trip.
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