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After looking at some real estate photos recently, I noticed that the Little Thompson looked cool and almost runnable. In retrospect, I think I was looking at the Tubs section in town. I also figured it had more water since it had been raining everyday of late. I also hadn’t heard of any post flood trip reports, so figured it might be awesome.

We did some preliminary scouting around Pinewood Springs and the takeout and the flows looked good, although we have no idea what the 125-200cfs recommendation might look like then or post flood. We did note the takeout bride gauge showed 1.75’ for it’s worth. We also noticed at least 4 mandatory portages around culverts and general road rebuilding hazards, so we decided to put in below the last temporary bridge at about 1pm.

After reading the descriptions of very demanding hair portaging and hard to catch eddies, we were super cautious around any bend or horizon we couldn’t see. Things started out fairly well with some nice class III/IV stuff without too many hazards, but certainly scouts of everything we couldn’t see.

At first I was keeping track of the portages, maybe a couple in between some easier rapids and before a sweet little ledge / waterfall like drop, and then maybe a few more before a great sequence of manageable drops into a nice slot.

Afterwards, things really just started going downhill. It seemed like every other rapid had too much pin potential, was completely choked with wood, or the margin between a good line and being all up in a strainer wasn’t worth it to us. I’m sure plenty of class V boaters might opt to run some of our portages.

We continued to scout, run little sections, and portage for what seemed like way too long for the length of the run. A couple of portages were brutal, requiring hiking up a cliff wall for a few hundred feet and downriver quite a bit, the rain didn’t make it any easier. I was exhausted on a whole new level and perhaps it was that, a pin, or impending nightfall that probably making things seem more dangerous than they really were.

Overall, I think the guidebook still has it nailed even after the flood. Beautiful canyon, great sections of whitewater, a good bit of unrunnable stuff, and tough demanding portages. The only difference to me is that this seemed a tad tougher than proving grounds which is rated a bit tougher.

A solid adventure run.
 
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