Originally Posted by cowboyclay
Iím kicking around the idea of putting together a late September MF trip launching around the 20th if I flame out again with the lottery. It would most likely be with 2 16í rafts and maybe one 14í. Iíve tried to do the research and know that Iíd most likely have to fly in some gear to Indian Creek and maybe just fly everything in and start there. Having never been on the MF is it silly to even try the upper part at this flow with minimal gear? I donít mind a little work but donít want to get ourselves in a bad situation and/or be completely miserable. I would also really like to see the upper section from Boundary down to Indian. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
A few things:
We have a pretty skimpy snowpack, which means lower than normal flows late September.
Without knowing what rivers you have been on at low flow it would be ridiculous to guess how you would do.
16s would be hard for lots of people. Most would want to be in something smaller. I run a 17 but I have been down this stretch a lot at low water, know where I need to be and am fairly impervious to pain.
I have seen novices in lightly loaded boats do just fine following me. I have also seen 'very experienced' boaters on the verge of tears after the first five miles, had a couple of major patch parties in the same stretch and also seen another group pack up and walk back to the put in from 5 miles down.
Last year we had a pretty experienced boater wrap badly in The Chutes. Nothing much lost or nobody hurt but took an hour and a Z drag to get him off. That was in a 12 footer.
The shuttle will be the least of your worries, Blackadar runs late in the season and does a great job.
I am not saying don't do it, but it can be heaven or hell. Sometimes in the same day. The top is amazingly beautiful with some really fun drops. It is also fairly non-stop at low water as you are constantly maneuvering in between the rapids to stay off the rocks.
I love the challenge but have found that it is not as much fun for everyone else. I pick my boating partners carefully for the fall trip.