that should be a great time to come. I'm guessing you'd be best off in the san juans (Durango area). New mexico creeks will be going off then too and are not too far from the durango area. crested butte may be running well too, but the weather is finicky there. it gets cold a lot during the summer and messes with the flows. it will be cranking one day, then a cold front moves in and the creeks go down to measley flows.
You'll be in Colorado right in time for the CKS Paddlefest in Buena Vista! Tons of fun... we celebrate at the beginning of the season to get into gear and start the summer with a blast, reconnecting throughout the Colorado kayaking community. The dates are 5/16-5/18. Check out the events & [email protected]http://www.ckspaddlefest.com/
This is a great place to join in w/ groups & run fun Arkansas sections: Pine Creek, the Numbers, Brown's Canyon, maybe even down to Parkdale & the Royal Gorge South of Salida; as well as Lake Creek if it's running. This is also a great weekend to find a crew to explore areas all over Colorado, from East Creek to OBJ.
If you're gonna be in Colorado, you gotta get the guidebook, Whitewater of the Southern Rockies! You might getta meet the author & friends there, and throw down with the pros in paddle with the pros!
Love to see ya there ~ & that goes out to all river folk!
I am hoping durango will be the place to be. Lime Vallecito and the upper should all be a go around then. I think too high a flows would be more problematic than low this year. Are you coming w/ a crew or winging it? my place frequently houses a crew of folks around then and you would be welcome.
I am getting off the Grand the 18th so if you make Dgo later in your itinery, I could show you around or hook you up w/ others if I can't get out.
I'd also check back here for a flow update on Escalante Creek- it should be flowing still (hopefully) and it's not far from Durango or Crested Butte. If you haven't done any desert-style creeking, then I would highly recommend it.
Water is generally on the up swing that week in the southern mountains, N.M should have good flow @ the boxes, Piedra should be rockin' (awesome run, usually lots of shuttlers about that time), upper Animas & Rockwood boxes will be picking up steam. Maybe Vallecito & Lime creeks. Get a copy of Stafford / McCutchen's Whitewater of the Southern Rockies, it's got every run, & pretty paddler-oriented.
After looking at the guidebook, here is a list of some of the runs I am interested in. What do you think the flow situation will be on these runs?
Lower South Boulder Creek Upper Animas Clear Creek – Black Rock, Lower Clear creek of the Arkansas Arkansas – Numbers, Granite Eagle – Gilman Gorge Piedra – 1st Box Canyon Roaring Fork – Slaughterhouse North Fork South Platte – Bailey Encampment
based on your list i would say that lower south boulder won't be running (dam controlled). the encampment will be snowed in (can't drive the shuttle). clear creek of the... (front range?) should be good. not sure about the animas (i know it will be COLD). might be early for the clear creek of the ark but maybe not. the rest of the ark is running right now and it should be getting bigger by then. also read up on lake creek, it might be good. the piedra, roaring fork, and gilman should be good but it will be a pain to get to the roaring fork from salida since the road won't be open yet. and bailey is a toss up; it might have a decent natural flow. are you up for the driving? the runs you mention are pretty spread out w/ a 6+ hour drive from boulder to durango. ya might want to go from the ark to durango or go from the ark to boulder. or just stay in durango and do a day trip into new mexico. the black canyon could be running.
the upper animas will probably be awesome. You will probably also really enjoy cascade creek that flows into the animas (also known as the third gorge of lime creek although it is technically cascade creek). That is one of the best IV+ runs around. class V if the water is really high, which is very possible. Also, the upper taos box is a classic and you will probably like that. I think danger is on to something with the locations. you'd be better off picking an area and sticking to it. that way you don't waste half of your trip driving. taos and durango are fairly close and will offer plenty of quality whitewater for your trip. crested butte and salida aren't too far away either.
I don't think the driving distance is a big deal over a 2-week trip if you want to see those places. Just break it down to a series of 2-3 hour drives between regions. You could start from Durango, then to Taos, to the Ark and on to the Front Range, for example.
Scratch the Encampment, because it will most likely be snowed out and IS in fact too far from the others, IMHO. I doubt you'll be able to get to Oh-Be that early without a snowmobile this year either, so I wouldn't count on going to Crested Butte. You can always redirect if that turns out not to be the case. CC of the Ark would also be questionable.
If you do make it to Taos, definitely add the Embudo to your list, and if you get to the Front Range, I'd add the South Saint Vrain and a bit of the Poudre...
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