So is it safe to say that once the lottery closes, all the launches during the May-September period are taken ? I thought I'd heard of people picking up permits much later than January; maybe cancellations ?
In any year, there is a steady stream of cancellations on most of the permitted rivers, including the GC. I recall a statistic on Deso that the number can be as high as 30%. The problem has always been visibility into the cancellations. You used to have to call, now with recreation.gov that is much improved, plus if you register on the GC site they will email you when a cancellation lottery is going to happen. I like Deso in the Fall. On day 2 of the opening of permits for October I had my permit for 2015, 10 months before my trip.
I picked up a prime Sept. permit earlier this year, just browsing the website late one night in July.
Deso seems to have more cancellations than any river I have applied for in the West. However, they may not appear until several weeks before the launch so it requires more flexibility in your lifestyle than lottery applications.
Yeah, never seen any for the Yampa or Lodore (gates and/or canyon). But, I keep looking. And I will contribute a fine costco combo pizza to the pile at the permit party this weekend. I'm retired, so I pretty much do at least one multi-day trip per month. Surprisingly tho, I find I have less flexibility on my trips, because whenever something I want to do comes available, it always happens when another trip is either coming, going, or being cleaned-up from or packed-up for. Never fails.
Bug season is usually over by Sept., but when we ran it in mid-Sept this year the biting flies were still active, usually at the top of a rapid, and it was still mid-90s during the day. I like it a bit cooler, so I'm doing Oct.
I also like the fact that I am done, noooo lottery, permit in-hand. Temps usually start down in mid-late Sept. And are mid-70s by early Oct. Flows are still adequate, tho the flat parts are sloooow. We did it in 6 days, but it was a push, tho we also only ran about 5 hours a day. I'll do a 7 day in '15. At Fall flows, Three Fords loses the sneak on the left and turns in to a 3 hole class IV, with the last hole the biggest and mostly unavoidable. This year I was in Joe Hutch before I recognized where I was, and just read and ran no problem. We were the only boat we saw that day, so we just lined 'Fords. Probably could have run it, but flipping would have been awkward. From around Labor Day on, launches pretty much drop to 2-3 a day.
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