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Discussion Starter #1
A few of us have taken to kayaking within the last couple years. We all have some rafting experience from my being rather new to rather experienced cat owners.

My runs I've rafted.
-Pumphouse multiple times oar boats
-Blue river below the dam in a 14' paddle boat
-Arkansas numbers on a cat

Kayaking experience.
-Confluence Kayaks intro to white water class
-Platte river union play area
-Clear Creek from tunnel 1 to play park and multiple runs though the play park
-Poudre below filter plant and narrows

My buddies are also about the same level and also have rolls. We are all excited about more pool time this winter and refining our rolls. I'm running a wavesport z and my rolls on the river have gotten pretty reliable. I have rolled once on my weak side while practicing out on cherry creek reservoir. I can refine that roll and I think I can get a hand roll soon also. My thoughts for next season's runs are:

1) Poudre filter plant and narrows
2) Clear Creek tunnel 1 to playpark for after work days.
3) Deckers run
4) Lower Blue
5) Pumphouse (I don't know how much fun the pumphouse to rancho run is in a kayak because of the flat parts).
6) Arkansas?
7) Pueblo playpark?


Any other suggestions are appreciated. We are all also making plans to attend swift water rescue courses this season also.

Thanks
 

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Parkdale is a great class III run and you can walk the rapids you dont like. Pueblo is a great place to work on things and to play.
 

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A few suggestions for the Ark.

At low water start with either Salida to Rincon or Trading Post to Texas Creek and try to get comfortable there. These are also good runs to look to when the water starts to rise...as is Stone Bridge to Salida, and the Milk Run up by BV. When comfortable on these stretches I would step up to Texas Creek to Pinnacle Rock (has 3 solid class III's). Once you're good to go on this it's time to step up to Parkdale and Browns Canyon (solid class III runs). Once you feel good about Browns it's time to step up to the whitewater above BV. The first run I would do would be lower Fractions (below the Miracle Mile), then step up to the Miracle Mile, then to #6, then the Numbers and finally Pine Creek.

If you are ever looking for someone to paddle with on the Arkansas feel free to hit me up.

Logan 719-229-9333
 

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The North St. Vrain just above Lyons (Apple Valley section) is good swift class II. The Bridges section on the Poudre would be a good one after you've hit the ones in your list. If that all gets boring quickly and you have a good roll, check out the Idaho Springs town run on Clear Creek, floating to Kermits. If all goes well there, you're ready for Foxton (above the north & south fork confluence of the Platte, opposite fork from Deckers). In my opinion, this is where kayaking starts to get super fun!
 

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Swank,
I just don't think you can go wrong with the Poudre. If you've run the filter plant then you are ready to move upstream. The beauty of the Poudre is that the runs get more intense as you move upstream from Bridges to Bridges+Pineview, to Poudre Park, Lower Mishawaka, then Upper Mishawaka. If we ignore the Narrows (which I always did since I never aspired to be a Classs V boater, these runs top out at solid 4's on Upper Mish and Pineview at high water (What I would call 3.75'+ on the Pineview gage). You can take on greater challenges or take a step down to something a bit more forgiving as your skills and confidence ebb and flow. Furthermore, at various water levels, the play spots abound and for me "play" was the way I pushed myself.
 

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Stepping Stones - EddyFlower Forum

There is a nice stepping stones post on eddyflower for progression of runs (link above).

My advice would be to spend lots of time in the playpark dialing in the roll. I would also recommend a variety of runs at a given difficulty at reasonable water levels without getting in over your head (moving up too fast) got really round out your skills.

Focus on building the key skills of catching eddies, peeling out, ferrying, scouting, selecting a line and then running it, hitting holes and diagonals. A good path to progression is skill based progression more than run based progression. Do the list of skills ad naseum on runs you are comfortable on until you are very comfortable and in control. If you run rapids down the middle without a move, you are missing opportunities. Catch an eddy at the top... ferry over to the slot on the other side... punch a hole... catch and eddy in the middle of the rapid... peel out... try to surf a wave. You get the picture. If you do this type of work on a run well within your skill level, when you move to the next level, you will be well prepared.

I'd also advocate learning from more classes, more experienced boaters, videos, books, online content etc. There is a lot of info out there that you can learn from.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Awesome. Thanks

Deepsouthpaddler that is my thoughts also. I'm comfortable rolling and have already tested by helmet against a few rocks setting up a good roll and not panicking. We do multiple runs through golden trying to hit the different eddys, surf, ferry, and such to develop those skills. I am also a member of CWW and my poudre experience was during the poudre weekend.
 

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I am a big fan of working up with the water level. In the spring get on a run like the bridges section of the poudre when the water comes up to ~1.5. If what you told us is accurate you should be ok, and the run is very forgiving at low levels. Then try to get out as often as you can as the water comes up. Assuming the water comes up slowly it will help you progress as the lines don't change they just get faster and bigger.

You can do the same thing on clear creek if you are in denver, but I personally think clear creek is a rough river to learn on as swims anywhere above the play park are brutal. Also get on Deckers when you can, it is real manageable at any water level.

I also agree with the making easy rapids harder suggestion. Boof every rock, surf every wave, catch every eddy when there are small consequences that way you'll be able to do it when its necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I am a big fan of working up with the water level. In the spring get on a run like the bridges section of the poudre when the water comes up to ~1.5. If what you told us is accurate you should be ok, and the run is very forgiving at low levels. Then try to get out as often as you can as the water comes up. Assuming the water comes up slowly it will help you progress as the lines don't change they just get faster and bigger.

You can do the same thing on clear creek if you are in denver, but I personally think clear creek is a rough river to learn on as swims anywhere above the play park are brutal. Also get on Deckers when you can, it is real manageable at any water level.

I also agree with the making easy rapids harder suggestion. Boof every rock, surf every wave, catch every eddy when there are small consequences that way you'll be able to do it when its necessary.
Yeah my roll after tunnel one in clear creek when my helmet was introduced to a rock I was glad I rolled and wasn't trying to gather my gear before the next set of rapids.
 

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You said you ran FP and below the narrows? Do you mean you have ran Steve's down or did you run from the TO of Lower gnarrows to Upper mish put in?

A low water 200-300cfs of Lower or upper clearcreek should be on for you.
 

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Swank,
Sounds like you are getting great advice. Like Ian (deepsouth) said, practice the moves in easier water. Grab every eddy and do as many ferries as you can. My boating mentor had me doing this pretty early on and it has helped me a ton.
Anytime you meet up with really good boaters, try to get them to step down and run some class III with you. They will point out eddies that seem perfect to a class V boater but are barely noticable to we normal people. It is hard to convince a guy who runs class V most of the time to run class III unless you are a cute girl (dont have to be so cute in some locales) so you may need to bribe them with beer.
BrianK is right, Clear Creek can be a bugger to swim, I have too many scars to prove that.
Another and maybe the best "in between" II and III run on CC is to start at the takeout for Upper CC and take out at what is referred to as Mexican Beach. The TO is just under 3 miles downstream. It is a good section with stuff to avoid, good waves, and lots of eddies and surfing. Do a good scout from the road as some places choke up with wood and can get really ugly quick. I did some of my early paddling there and it was more forgiving than the other runs on CC if you swim. It goes around 350-400 and becomes more fun with more water.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
We ran from the filterplant park to the picnic take out. Then we shuttled back up to just below the crazy part and ran down through those bridges to the takeout before the plant. I think the run was actually called bridges. Yes even though i was told not to i still hit the one bridge but not in a way to get pinned. Lol
 

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Got it. You ran "bridges" and you put in below Pineview...If bridges went well then a low water stevens down should happen soon. Then you have plenty of warm-up to see if you want to try Pineview.

Oyeah, don't aim to hit killer bridge or grey rock bridge.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Lol ya i totally get the look at where you want to go and not at what you want to avoid thing. The bridge i hit had that big round concrete part far left that made the current push right.

I`m pretty sure Santa is getting me a cascade full face. She asked me what size and color i wanted.

She is a Dentist so thats just another reason for the full face. :)
 

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Do stuff in reverse

...My advice would be to spend lots of time in the playpark dialing in the roll. I would also recommend a variety of runs at a given difficulty at reasonable water levels without getting in over your head (moving up too fast) got really round out your skills.

Focus on building the key skills of catching eddies, peeling out, ferrying, scouting, selecting a line and then running it, hitting holes and diagonals. A good path to progression is skill based progression more than run based progression. Do the list of skills ad naseum on runs you are comfortable on until you are very comfortable and in control. If you run rapids down the middle without a move, you are missing opportunities. Catch an eddy at the top... ferry over to the slot on the other side... punch a hole... catch and eddy in the middle of the rapid... peel out... try to surf a wave. You get the picture. If you do this type of work on a run well within your skill level, when you move to the next level, you will be well prepared...

I
Skill-based progression is a more robust approach, I agree.

Another way to add variety to a known area and to really work your depth of skills is to paddle BACKWARDS. Try things in both directions, plus left and right sides, different combinations of things, etc. When you have to edge while backpaddling across eddylines, it'll feel like a whole new spot at first.

To make it clear, I don't mean just hop in and run the entire stretch backwards and hope for the best. I mean work each little tiny chunk every way you can think of. One instructor phrased it as "Make easy stuff hard. Use different angles, speeds, degree of edging, starting points." Also, if you can't repeat something you did well, then the depth of skills still isn't there yet. Luck doesn't always make up for it.
 

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Swank,

I ran lower blue, fractions, and Brown's late this season. You handled Tunnel 1 with no problems and can take on these runs as well. Hit me up and we can make some laps.
 

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Swank, I am former rafter new to kayaking as well. Did the Poudre River day this fall. We are about at the same level. Shoot a note if you are heading out for run, looking to step it up similar to you.
 
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