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Hello, we just got off Deso-Gray yesterday (9/3), and flash flood debris in the side canyons made for a very interesting trip. More water was pushed into the main channels due to large debris fans. Butler Camp had been trashed -- not sure when. It is mostly a pile of sharp rocks now. A small group (such as our group of three canoes and four people) can manage to camp there. We found a ruined tent in the flash flood debris at Butler. Our theory and our hope is that the owners are okay. There were no poles or personal items inside the torn-up tent.
 

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It could belong to friends of mine. The scariest part was the flash flood came in the middle of the night. One member of the group was seriously injured but is doing well. Find anything else?


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I don't think the tent had been set up yet, because there were no poles or even remnants of them in the pockets. We didn't find anything else. The tent was in shreds, and is a candidate for the dumpster, but we are cutting it up for spare parts before we toss it.
You yourself were not on the trip? I hope the injured person heals well.
If I am correctly using the attachment feature, you will see the photo of the former beach at Butler.
 

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Wow! I was not on the trip. The injured friend ended up in ICU due to a punctured lung from the debris.


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Launching next week. Are many side canyons impacted? Mostly just around Butler etc? Did you run into any Black Bears? Thx...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We saw large new debris fans coming out of many of the side canyons, from the beginning all the way down. Butler was the only camp that we observed being directly affected. I suppose hiking trails in side canyons could have disappeared under some debris.
Three Fords and Coal Creek rapids look bigger and fiercer than you might expect at a given water level, because water has been pushed from river left into the main channel and river right. If there is a big runoff next spring, a lot of that material will probably be swept on down the river.
The ranger commented about bears, but we did not see any.
 

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We saw large new debris fans coming out of many of the side canyons, from the beginning all the way down. Butler was the only camp that we observed being directly affected. I suppose hiking trails in side canyons could have disappeared under some debris.
Three Fords and Coal Creek rapids look bigger and fiercer than you might expect at a given water level, because water has been pushed from river left into the main channel and river right. If there is a big runoff next spring, a lot of that material will probably be swept on down the river.
The ranger commented about bears, but we did not see any.
Thanks for the info!
 

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We saw large new debris fans coming out of many of the side canyons, from the beginning all the way down. Butler was the only camp that we observed being directly affected. I suppose hiking trails in side canyons could have disappeared under some debris.
Three Fords and Coal Creek rapids look bigger and fiercer than you might expect at a given water level, because water has been pushed from river left into the main channel and river right. If there is a big runoff next spring, a lot of that material will probably be swept on down the river.
The ranger commented about bears, but we did not see any.
Deso's flood damage has been a wild spectacle over the years. This year sounds like one of the biggest in a while. I do know Deso has the largest alluvial fans in the Colorado/Green system which must account for long term activity. Rattlesnake blowout earlier this year as well.

Several years ago we saw flood damage on both trips we did. Flat Canyon blew the night before we got there and created new features in the rapid that only lasted until the following spring. But then you have events like Joe Hutch that alter the river experience for a decade. We have seen flash flood damage almost every trip in there, which is only comparable to the activity I have seen in the Middle Fork. Very dynamic place.

Phillip
 

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How are the roads?

Did the flooding wash out any of the roads leading to Sand Wash? Is it reasonable to drive there in a KIA Forte? We launch on the 18th.

Very scary about the flash flood, I'm glad to hear everyone survived and hope everyone recovers. I've been particularly paranoid about where I put my tent since I saw some scary videos of flash floods. I can't think of anything much more frightening than having one of those run over your tent in the night.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yCnQuILmsM
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The road through Nine Mile Canyon and the Sand Wash road were tricky on August 27th, but we managed to get through. Road crews were already at work.
 

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Would this have ended up in Cataract this last weekend? The gauge said 9-10k, but it felt a lot larger than that.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I don't know much about Cataract, but you might notice that the gage site has a disclaimer reading "Provisional Data Subject to Revision." After a major debris flow/ sedimentation event, the shape of the bottom can change, throwing off the gage calculations. The USGS people go out to re-survey the bottom at each gage on a regular basis, and then recalculate the data as needed. This is according to my husband Mike, who is a hydrologist.
Also, the water seems to act differently when it is so heavily loaded with sediment, especially where swirlies are concerned. Mike says this is due to density currents down below. It can look like "Big Water" even when it isn't.
 

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We'll, we were on Cat at around 9-10 recently, after several upstream flashes, and it did seem like pretty "big water".
 

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Curious, are you guys wearing dry gear this time of year? Leaving Tuesday for a kayak self support and not sure if I should even bring the dry top....I will have fleece and a Marmot goretex rain suit. Looks like there's really only 3 places where I should expect to get splashed correct? Don't really want to pack the drytop if I'm not going to wear it.
 
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