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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have a late May middle fork trip coming up and looking for some advice on raft selection & loading a raft for this river at high water - assuming we can get into the river. It's with a group where all are experienced on the middle fork and some have years of experience at high water - so not like that other thread... Am a comfortable class IV rower, including experience on the middle fork, but that was a lower water so have no illusions this will be a very different beast. Hoping to get some input on a couple of things - raft size and loading. This will be my first time rowing a boat without passengers - river's going to be too rowdy to bring any family passengers when I'm not experienced on MF at high water.

First question is raft selection - have a 14'6" Saturn and a 16' hyside pro XT. Hyside is about 10-11 inches wider than the Saturn. Would you go with the bigger boat in this water?

Second question might be influenced by the first - recommendations for how to load up a raft under these conditions. Would you keep most of the weight as near centerline as possible for maneuverability or throw weight toward the front for punching? Drybox and cooler will go into the two front bays & drybox will be heavier than the cooler. Since it's just me on the raft, plan to have oarlocks at or just a touch (< 10 inches) back from centerline. Thanks in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Big, heavy, loaded evenly and as low as possible.

Punch the holes(Not Murph's!) And giggle like a schoolgirl the whole way!
Thanks! What do you mean by low, like make it heavy? Without passengers and their gear, raft will be way lighter than have ever rowed before. Maybe fill some water containers for extra weight and lash them in?

Edit - get it now for low - keep weight as low in the raft as possible.
 

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First off, I'd trust a Hyside a lot more than a Saturn.

Load so she's even front to back and side to side, put the heavy stuff down low so you've got a the lowest center of gravity possible. You shouldn't have any trouble finding mass carrying group gear and hopefully there'll be some (skilled) kayakers you can carry gear for. Rig to flip, dress to swim, pull to the inside, & don't forget to eat your Wheaties....
 

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I have done MFS high, low, and most in between. All trips were awesome just a bit different. Middle type flows are as good as it gets rafting for me.

Big difference to me is lower water gives plenty of time to boat scout your line and then do the moves. If you do pin, easier to unpin the raft. Easier to get back in the raft if you have to push off from the rocks.

Big water to me means some drops run together meaning if you swim, it is probably gonna be a long one.
Big difference in time spent deciding your line, things happen really fast, following some one who knows the big water lines and entry spots will help but remember your abilities may well be different from theirs.
Big water means fewer pins but more flip situations, if you do flip, recovery is going to be difficult. Plan to stay in the raft.

I suggest wearing a good dry suit that does not leak, just in case. And a hi float good fitting vest.

On the other hand, easy to make your miles for afternoon cocktail time. Tip, put a throw bag close at hand in case you need it for help anding or rescue a swimmer.
 

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I'd take the big boat also. I've done lots of trips on the MFS but only a few high water, one at 6.66' and another at 5'. Take the big boat, keep it balanced and spread the gear out and keep it low as mentioned. I'd for sure have some weight up in the front to make up a bit for a passenger. On the 6.5' trip we were the only commercial group deadheading, all the other outfitters were flying in. Watch out for Murph's, the canyon below Hells Half Mile and Velvet. Also the wall in Powerhouse and Pistol get pretty weird at high water. We had 3 18' rafts and all 3 of us surfed Velvet for what felt like an eternity. It would have been a disaster if any one or all of us flipped. I also remember hitting the wall in Powerhouse and it was like getting in a car wreck, I can't believe I didn't pop my raft.
 

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Saw a YouTube’s of what looked like a far left run at velvet on the left side of the big rock. What water level does that become an option?

Judging by the hydro forecast I you will probably need to go through the weak spot center right at velvet. It's only a small chace it gets much above 6'. Youll be fine in 16' XT. If you want to practice come to the poudre this weekend and row your big boat down. should be 4'+. Im in laramie and headed down both tomorrow and sunday.
 

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Have a late May middle fork trip coming up and looking for some advice on raft selection & loading a raft for this river at high water - assuming we can get into the river. It's with a group where all are experienced on the middle fork and some have years of experience at high water - so not like that other thread... Am a comfortable class IV rower, including experience on the middle fork, but that was a lower water so have no illusions this will be a very different beast. Hoping to get some input on a couple of things - raft size and loading. This will be my first time rowing a boat without passengers - river's going to be too rowdy to bring any family passengers when I'm not experienced on MF at high water.

First question is raft selection - have a 14'6" Saturn and a 16' hyside pro XT. Hyside is about 10-11 inches wider than the Saturn. Would you go with the bigger boat in this water?

Second question might be influenced by the first - recommendations for how to load up a raft under these conditions. Would you keep most of the weight as near centerline as possible for maneuverability or throw weight toward the front for punching? Drybox and cooler will go into the two front bays & drybox will be heavier than the cooler. Since it's just me on the raft, plan to have oarlocks at or just a touch (< 10 inches) back from centerline. Thanks in advance!
We ran it at 8 plus and rising, snowed on us the first night. The far left run at Velvet disappears in high water, below the big rock on the left center a unpunchable wave forms which puts you right into the monster hole in the middle. We sent 3 experienced kayakers to try to punch the wave, not one of them pulled it off. The water is so fast so no time for a re-do. When rescuing a kayaker I had to slam my boat against the bank several times to slow down, backstroking doesn't work against a high water speed. Expect short river days, the water speed is wild. I would build my boat level with some front weight, I only remember a couple of reversals with Velvet being the granddaddy of all of them. Take bomb proof rain gear, expect hard rain all day at times, it rained so hard when running Powerhouse I could not see the guy 125ft in front of me and he had a yellow boat. We had one sunny day and 6 days of hard rain so take the gear you need to keep warm. Take a monster coffee pot and fill multiple thermos's, stay ahead of hypothermia. Getting a fire going is tough because everything is still wet from winter.Making little thermite balls (small amount of thermite/wax-don't melt hole in firepan by putting thermite on bottom) works great for getting wet wood going. Have a great trip.
 

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I'd definitely take the Hyside, but maybe a bit biased?
I would definitely take the hyside too.. from nothing other than a quality standpoint. The MFS can be hard on things with water.. Saturn is not known for anything other than being cheap..
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I would definitely take the hyside too.. from nothing other than a quality standpoint. The MFS can be hard on things with water.. Saturn is not known for anything other than being cheap..
Hey, low blow! That Saturn has been great and got us on the water when I was too poor to buy a lifetime boat. It’s still in excellent shape 7 years and many trips later.
 

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Hey, low blow! That Saturn has been great and got us on the water when I was too poor to buy a lifetime boat. It’s still in excellent shape 7 years and many trips later.
I'm glad you're happy with it, over the years I have watched two of them fall apart, on two separate trips. To me, it's the Ford F-150 of boats.. wouldn't own one, and feel sorry for people that do. Irrespective of that, I'd still take the hyside 😜🤠😘
 
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