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I have rowed the GC a few years ago in Feb, and now I have a permit in April. What can I expect, whats the temp like, advice on clothing and gear. Bimini, yes or no. Also we going all the way to Pearce, has anyone ever used a motor, is it worth it or too much hassel?
 

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Old Guy in a PFD
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If you're going all the way to Pearce, a motor makes sense if the lake is up. Right now, and likely in April, you'll have current all the way to Pearce, or at least almost all the way.
If the lake was up I wouldn't consider Pearce without a motor. As to the hassle, yes it is; you need the gas (heavy and bulky) need the registration, need lights, a spare and/or parts etc. etc. etc. Plus, you need to assume that the motor won't be worth much when you finish with it, if you rely on it coming down the canyon. Silty water + machinery=trouble. I suspect it would be cheaper in the long run to just take out at Diamond.

It was me, and the lake was down like it is now, I'd just run with oars.

My trips were both August trips so I can't help much with weather/water.
 

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I have only done 1 trip all the way and I was very disappointed. It was very flat, with plenty of native motor boat and helicopter traffic, limited and marginal camping. I'm sort of glad I did it once but not really. Our full trip was last April and we did not have motors and didn't find it too difficult. On my next trip I will take out at Diamond and spend more time in the heart of the canyon. If I were doing it again I would use a motor and camp 1 night instead of 3.

I thought my March 25th put in, 24 days, was my best trip weather wise. A little cool till phantom but then toasty. I didn't bring my bimini and really only would have used it a couple days.
 

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Depending on the storm track, the weather can be either very pleasant to slightly warm (no need for a bimini) or cold and windy as hell. It is a beautiful time to go with a good chance of the flowers being in all their reproductive glory but the winds can be downright ferocious. One April trip I remember was so windy it was all we could do to get to Salt, pulling our guts out all day.
 

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What a great time of year! The NPS/GRCA has charts of historical monthly highs/lows at Phantom. The weather in April should be very nice. Highs in the 80's most of the time. Phoenix and Las Vegas temps are very close to River Side temps. I wouldn't think you wouldn't want a bimini, but having an umbrella may be nice lower down. Remember, it will get hotter as you go.

I think I am the exception that I like the Diamond Down section. There are still some good rapids, nice hikes and it's still the Grand Canyon! Past mile 240 you will not have any rapids, but there is current all of the way to Pearce. No need for a motor. You also have the option of night floating through Helicopter Hell if you prefer.

We put in early March this year and plan on night floating from Spencer down. It will be my second night float, and we ran it in 3.5 days back in October for fun. Ignore the Diamond Take out crowd and head to Pearce, leave the motor and enjoy the last few days of your river trip! Just FYI, there is a pretty good camp on River Left about a mile above Columbine. Something like RM 274.5-275. it's right where the river turns left, can be hard to see and it is the last good camp in the canyon. There is also a large camp just past the Grand Wash Cliffs on RL above Pearce.

Have fun!
 

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I have done one trip with a motor all the way to south cove, and one trip without a motor to Pearce ferry. Lake mead was down, there was slow current the whole way. In my opinion, skip the motor. Yes it was faster, but such a head ache. Plus our captain hit a sand bar, ruined the impeller, and we then had to use the foot pumps on the hand wash system to keep water flowing through the engine....McGiver'd yes...but time consuming rigging the motor and everything.

I suggest you barge all the boat together when u hit the flat water. And have a flotilla party till u reach the end. Just have a few oars for maneuvering the barge and keep a steady rhythm with the current. Hit the river early and stay out late. Party on man!
 

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What day are you launching? I have an April 18th launch, 16 days to Diamond. I'd say for sure no motor you'll have current all the way.
 

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I have done several trips in April I would bring the Bimini. Every trip I have been able to use the Bimini as a spinnaker with and oar as a rudder through QuarterMaster and got cheered from all of the Vegas gapers and boat captains. Makes for some fun in in the final flat water. Weather is usually brisk for the first week, but beginning of the super group it is nice to have.
 

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Bimini seems like a hassle for 80 degree days. There's plenty of current, so no motor necessary! April is awesome - have fun!
 

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The night float was a highlight of a trip a few years ago - launched the giant raft barge from Separation Canyon at 8 PM, woke up a few miles before the Grand Wash Cliffs at dawn. We all really enjoyed it - no helicopters, and bonus points if you have a full moon. Much more pleasant than taking out at Diamond in my opinion.
 

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My first GC trip launched April 14th 2015...first night full lunar eclipse was oh so awesome...we had 2 nights rain/snow and upstream winds above Phantom but otherwise fine...mostly downstream winds were enjoyed....temperature was good; day 3&4 highs only 55 and days 18-21were right at 100....I measured the sand temp at 135 one afternoon...we had beach canopy and used 3 times..we brought firewood and did most cooking with charcoal & dutch oven
 

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I live 60 miles south of the canyon... Pack some gear for snow and cold. Some for warm sunny days. April is I am told God's way of letting non drinkers know what a hang over feels like..... winter for a while... spring for a while...
 

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On my next trip I will take out at Diamond and spend more time in the heart of the canyon.
Of course, the NPS trip-length limits only apply to the Lee's Ferry to Diamond (technically mile 230+) of your trip. So going all the way to Pearce need not cut back on your heart-of-the-canyon time, assuming there aren't other factors limiting overall trip length (e.g. people's time availability).

I've done one night float, at the time of a new moon. It wasn't very fun, as it was so dark that we were pretty stressed trying to not hit stuff. With any sort of moon, I'm sure it'd be wonderful.
 

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I've done three trips (April 2011, oct 2012, oct 2014). This last one was the only one where I took out at Diamond, and I wouldn't do it again. It takes longer to get home, shitty dirt road, expensive Hualapai fees, and you miss some excellent (and some of my favorite!) parts of the canyon. Remember: if you have 18 days on your permit, you have 18 days to get to Diamond; the rest is bonus! Take your time to at least Separation, then create a party barge the rest of the way. The camping is pretty dismal for the last couple nights if you don't do the full moon float, and yes the helicopters can be bad, but I think it's totally worth it. Plan to sleep on your boat and be sure to bring enough beer (buy what your think you need, then double it) and you'll be glad you went the whole way. The chances of Lake Mead ever coming up high enough to back the water up past Pearce again are pretty low; you definitely don't need a motor.

My experience is that there's more wind on spring trips than fall (goes for any desert river), but I'd still bring a Bimini, especially if you decide to go all the way to Pearce as it can get hot down there. I'd also bring a drysuit.... I like to go prepared for anything (it can snow in April) and I've always been glad to have it.
 

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Pardon my ignorance, but what's a Bimini? I was picturing maybe some sort of miniature man bikini, but that doesn't sound right ...
 

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a Bimini top is that fold back half roof thingus that is much advertised on this site. Serves as shade or Parasail whichever...
 

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"Just Read and Run Baby!"
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I used a homemade bimini on my first trip in August and enjoyed being in the shade for the whole canyon. I brought it on my second trip in April, rigged it but never used it. I brought it on my third trip, August again and never even rigged it. On the second trip I just enjoyed the depth and view of the Canyon more. I felt like I was missing the vertical show staring out from beneath a bimini. A wide brimmed hat is all the bimini I need now.
 

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I would bring a Bimini for rain, snow or a shady Cocktail hour on layover days. Mine stays down unless one the afore mentioned is happening.
 
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