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What is the best way to do research on rivers and rapid names/ skill level before actually going out. I always hear people talking about their memories on the river and using the rapid names.
 

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WWSR and Colorado Rivers & Creeks are the books to own. American Whitewater, River Brain and Eddyflower have good online databases of river beta. Lastly, ask questions, talk to people and go out and look at different runs with your own eyes.
 

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Youtube has a ton of videos of all the popular runs and rapids.
What he said. I have "scouted" quite a few rapids and rivers using YouTube. Keep in mind that the flows on any given day can dramatically change a rapid, so take note of the flows if they are included in the description and watch several at different flows to get a feel for how it changes.

I also will go for family car rides and hikes along those that are nearby and that have easy access from a road or trail. It's fun for the kids (what kid doesn't like throwing rock in rivers? LOL) and I can take a look at features of the river.

If in doubt, I'd say be cautious and scout anything you may be unsure of, even if it's supposedly a class III for example. Give yourself some confidence going into whatever it is by scouting and having a solid line picked out.

The BEST way though is to get out on the river with others that know them and follow them. Try to get in the habit of making your own read of the river, but at least you can test that read against what those with the experience do.
 

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If you are looking to run a new section for the first time it is best to google the run. IE" kayaking numbers section of the arkansas river" videos, web reports are good things if you are unsure what a run looks like.

Always be honest with yourself, there is nothing worse for confidence than getting destroyed on a run that was over your head, especially when your learning.

Seeing as you are in greely, be really carful with the poudre and s platte and big thompson out there.

there are a lot of diversions in the farm sections that can drown a person.

Your question is vauge, so try to tell people the intent behind your post. I guess from your question you just want to know the best ways to scout and know a run.

but if we told you to scout/boat scout or hike the run before you put on, you could find yourself in trouble on one of those county sections.

Gannon W knows the poudre and big t and s. platte out by greeley well, or better than anyone i know,

If you are looking for a place to start kayaking or think you found one close to home, ask about it

Remember, the stuff out by greeley looks tame, and it is, but there are diversions in those sections that can ruin a day.

in a nut shell, best way to learn a river is to ask questions, google information, read guide books and scout it out for yourself.
 

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The Russian
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One of the best ways to "learn" the rapid is what Boilermaker said is to try it. But before that if you are scouting or scouting from the river, is to take a stick and throw it in to the current. Then just follow the stick down the river. The stick will show you where the current will push your boat, then you can make a decision if you want to go there or not. Most of the time, the stick will show you the safe passage through the rapid. That is why it's safe to do that if you are a lead boat.


PS: Totally didn't realize this was posted to a kayaking forum. Sorry about that. I'd assume learning the rapids in the kayak aren't much different than it is in a rubber.
 
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