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Discussion Starter #1
It is getting close to applying for some Westwater permits and I was wondering if it is possible to hike around the stretch of the bigger rapids? I was hoping to take my daughter, but when we get to the start of the rapids to hike my wife and her down to where it gets calm again. My mind was pretty polluted when I did Westy last year, and I remember the rapids being about 3 miles long. So I was hoping the hike wouldn't be much more that that. If it is possible is river left or right any better?
 

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I remember people walking Skull before, it can be done on river left. But I do not think it is possible to hike them all easily. Remember that in a couple places you are fairly gorged in and having to retrieve swimmers/gear to moving rafts as there was no "shore" to move them too.....
 

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I do not think it is possible to hike the rapids, especially as a young girl. Still, I think she would love the trip and you would be happy you took her. There are other options, sending her down with rafters who are familiar with Westwater while you followed.
 

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Sounds like a bad idea to me. I've never tried it but it seems like the hike might be more of an adventure than the rapids. If you're looking for a mellow family trip why not just do the section above?
 

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Ask the rangers. It seems like it could be done. You would need to start fairly immediately after little D. I'm not sure which side of the river would be better.
 

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You can hike around skull on the L the rest have no real hiking around options in the canyon maybe the section below Dewey bridge or the Delores
 

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no tengo
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how old? I think I will finally be taking my 7 yr old this year at late summer lower flows (she will be almost 8 by then and has been swimming). walking around would be rather challenging.
 

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Kjirsten
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The hikers would be completely out of sight of the boats on the water at most places. It would be difficult to set up a rendevous point after the rapids.
 

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I do not think hiking around the rapids could be easily done. I have seen people hike around skull because they lost a boat, and they still had to jump into the tail waters of skull where the current is still quite strong.
 

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Big factor is what the flows are when you put in. I think if you get below 10,000 you should be able to eddy out for most rapids to walk (Rafter's correct me if I am wrong on this because I am a kayaker and eddying out is obviously much easier). Beyond those flows it may be too hard to eddy out, or put you in a bad spot to set up correctly to run the rapid any ways. There are others on hear that know a lot more about this stretch, but it is something to think about. Walking the whole section would likely be a pain and not worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sorry I should have provided more detail. I want to hike around all the rapids at once. Starting at Little D and hiking until it got easy going again. I was hoping that would be a 3-4 mile hike and then I would jog back up sans wife and kid and rally back down. My daughter is young, and hopefully in a feew years she will be rafting down the rapids. And walking even Skull would be tough. I hiked back up it a couple of times last year, to try and get a better line down, and fell several times, and I have no desire doing that with precious cargo. So I was really hoping for a nice easy going trail that had a nice view over the river. My daughter loves the water and loves to camp, but just isn't big enough for a swim in big water. Thanks again for any info.
 

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Hiking all of the rapids would be retarded. It's a way bigger safety risk for your child as you're going to end up losing your party and having to spend the night in the desert and walk to Cisco. Float Horsethief and Ruby canyons, or Labyrinth on the Green, or Cisco to Dewey Bridge, or one of the other hundred and fifty flat desert floats.

Or tell your little girl to toughen up...
 

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That would be a LONG hike over some pretty serious terrain far above the river....there would be no way to keep visual contact with them....not from little D all the way through the rapids. I think it's more conceivable to eddy out and walk all the rapids shoreline than having to deal with a full hike. Skull being the most difficult eddy to catch....and there would be a fair amount of ferrying to find a walk-able path around some of the rapids.

If you're confident in hitting all the eddy's....it wouldn't be too bad....although entirely avoiding any ripples/whitewater would be next to impossible.

Ruby/Horsethief...........
 

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Having gone on a couple of hikes in Westwater Canyon, I'll easily say that anyone hearty enough to do an overland traverse above the river from Little D to below Last Chance should be able to handle a swim in the rapids just fine. If your wife runs extreme adventure races and is willing to carry your daughter on significant stretches, then doing this may be a possibility. "Walking around" individual rapids such as Skull or Sock it to Me would either be really treacherous or require technical climbing gear.

There are lots of much better flatwater and Class II floats to go on with the young'uns.
 

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I did my first westwater as a passenger when I was 12, and started kayaking it when I was 13. Lower water levels are definitely less scary, but I don't think I would feel confident taking a kid that wouldn't be up for swimming. You could do the ruby horsethief section with the fam, and finish up with a westwater without the kids though...
 

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Kjirsten
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Sorry I should have provided more detail. I want to hike around all the rapids at once. Starting at Little D and hiking until it got easy going again. I was hoping that would be a 3-4 mile hike and then I would jog back up sans wife and kid and rally back down. My daughter is young, and hopefully in a feew years she will be rafting down the rapids. And walking even Skull would be tough. I hiked back up it a couple of times last year, to try and get a better line down, and fell several times, and I have no desire doing that with precious cargo. So I was really hoping for a nice easy going trail that had a nice view over the river. My daughter loves the water and loves to camp, but just isn't big enough for a swim in big water. Thanks again for any info.

It would take a full day of hiking to get to a suitable rendevous point at the end- you would not be able to walk them down, then hike back up in one day. The trail, from my understanding, is quite a ways from the river- you wouldn't even be able to see it for most of the hike.

It's a nice thought, but you probably ought to go for a San Juan permit, or just float R/H and then have your wife and daughter run shuttle for a one day canyon trip without them- I have considered doing this with my son a few times, but can't get anyone who wants to run shuttle and entertain my 5 year old while I have all the fun. ;)
 

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Sorry I should have provided more detail. I want to hike around all the rapids at once. Starting at Little D and hiking until it got easy going again. I was hoping that would be a 3-4 mile hike and then I would jog back up sans wife and kid and rally back down. My daughter is young, and hopefully in a feew years she will be rafting down the rapids. And walking even Skull would be tough. I hiked back up it a couple of times last year, to try and get a better line down, and fell several times, and I have no desire doing that with precious cargo. So I was really hoping for a nice easy going trail that had a nice view over the river. My daughter loves the water and loves to camp, but just isn't big enough for a swim in big water. Thanks again for any info.
I got what you were saying...I just don't think reading comprehension is a strong suit of the buzzards. So far I haven't heard anyone say they've done it (just alot of people saying "don't do it"). As I said before, I recommend contacting the ranger...they'll give it to you straight.

As for the guy who says that hiking around skull requires technical climbing...he must be on something. It's a hike.
 

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It's pretty much not possible. Of course on "could" hike but I have 80 trips in Westwater and have been on the rims and hiked extensively in the side canyons and there is just no real possibilities for hiking without spending multiple hours hiking down into and back out of side canyons not to mention that the canyon is maybe 700-800 vertical feet deep at Little D which would mean that much vertical just to get to the rim. Hiking at river level is only possible for short distances due to rough talus and huge boulders and gorged out sections. Raft another stretch of river or float the whole Westwater Canyon are the only real options.
 

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The Russian
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I don't think there is an option of walking most dangerous rapids. Skull is about it, but that's probably the easiest rapid in the bunch if done right (pull right wall to left sneak).

Probably in the boat would be the safest place to be. Just make sure you have plenty of seasoned WW boaters in front of you in case of swimmers or a flip. And do not take kids above 9,000 cfs. I think 4,000 is the safest level.
 

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It sounds like the consensus is that it may possible to hike around all of the rapids, but that even attempting it with a seven year old would be a really, really bad idea.
 
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