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Mexican hat to clay hills two 14' boats animas droping slowly. Juan at bluff just over 600cfs. 450 seems to be the cut off. What do you think will the water hold for a five day trip we launch tomorrow am.... maybe...
 

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just got off the San Jaun. The flow started out at 1650 on the 29th and was down to 650 on 06/04. The last 17 miles was rowing all the way. We had to follow the current from one side to the other. It took 8hrs. We didn't have any wind on last day.If we did it would of been miserable. We would've camp one more night due to wind
 

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It will probably be close to 600 cfs for a daily average tomorrow, and then will drop slowly over the next five days. We'll be increasing the release from Navajo (most likely) on Friday to compensate, but you can still expect flows to average in the high 400's down at Bluff next week since it's so hot and dry.

Call/email if you have questions-

--
Susan Novak Behery, P.E.
Hydrologic Engineer
Reclamation
Western Colorado Area Office
Durango, CO
[email protected]
970-385-6560
 

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I did a Mex Hat to Clay Hills trip a few weeks ago. Flow dropped steadily, ~500 to 280. We had 4 rafts, 18 ft SB to 14 ft cat. It was not bad at all. Very little pushing and shoving above Grand Gulch, a fair bit the last day, all boats hung up a little at Government and rope assist from shore was useful for a couple, but we did it in 5 days, did plenty of hiking, and had fun. Lighter is better. We got an early am last day start and got to Clay Hills just as the wind started really blowing - dodged a bullet on that one. The last day at 280 was no harder than at 4x that, maybe easier because the channels are very visible.
 

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Had somewhere around that flow last October:

Government becomes a technical rapid with potentials for pins. Worth scouting and having someone on shore to help if needed (had clean lines myself, though I rowed both boats through rapid in sequence).

Some of the lower camps beyond Government become impossible to access to beware of selection.

The river beyond Grand Gulch can be absolutely epic and miserable. We had moderate wind and had to drag boats 15-20 times that day. Easy to get stuck for long periods of time.

Biggest hazard was actually a dog-leg right riffle I believe somewhere near the falls at John's Canyon (???) if I remember correctly (whatever the big pourover and camping on river right is). Its heavily braided and hard to find passage through. Be prepared to get out and aid your boat through tight slots and off medium sized rocks. Nothing that should do major damage but just be aware.

For myself, having done it once, I would not do that stretch again below 1k. I like to end my trips on high notes and this was not possible for us in the lower run. Each person will have different priorities though.
 

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Like an earlier post said, the last day is the kicker, but at low low flows the channels do become more visible. I think it would still be fun, although it'll be a warm one. My best advice is to get on the water as early as possible (by 1st light at the latest), your last day to avoid the wind & the heat for the flats, plus its so pretty that time of day, especially in that section. Have fun!
 

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Run it

Have fun, take it as it comes, Drought is as Drought does, What you going to do, stay at home and clean your toilet? Pack light rent a SUP to scout the sand bars, Rock IT
 

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Last day

Depends on the last camp. Slick horn to clay hills will test your resolve. We grabbed a decent sand bar above Steer last month, nice to have 2 days for that last float/walk
 

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i would love to hear a recent trip report!

june 24th launch for me. we are going to go for it. taking 10 days from sand island to clay hills and camping at slickhorn and steer gulch below government. 2 15ft rafts, 1 14ft raft (me), 1 ducky and 2 sups. fingers crossed for water.
 

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From last October and the silt load is dynamic down there but...

@550 cfs last October the Steer Gulch camp looked completely inaccessible from the main channel.

Oljeto wasn't as bad but still looked like it would be an epic carry through knee deep mud.

Slickhorn C & D lost downstream egress at those flows. We had to walk out boats back upriver after the river dropped just a few cfs overnight. Even then the access was almost completely pinched off.

Hope you have a great trip and flows provided you with as few drags as possible. It is a gorgeous section of river.

Phillip
 
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