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Ruby Alternatives or opinions

2559 Views 10 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  SummitSurfer
Afternoon folks
We have a Mee Canyon permit for early next week.
We have a 16ft cat, a 14ft cat, and a 14 self bailer, with intermediate to advanced intermediate captains.
We also have a 5 and a 8 year old in the group, rest is able bodied adults.
We are concerned that it will probably be 30,000+ cfs, with lots of debris and limited beach access and an what is rumoured to be a difficult take out at these levels.
Any thoughts on the feasibility of this trip, or am I being paranoid for no reason.
Any suggestions for a better alternative are also welcome.
The mere fact that I am asking leads me to want to trust my gut; but input is solicited and welcomed.
Frisco, CO
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It's just current, there are no rapids if you're referring to Ruby/Horse Thief Canyon. There are some swirly currents around Black Rocks, but no big deal. 30k in Westwater is extremely fast and fun-what you're doing is mellow compared to that...very mellow.

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As Wildh2onriver said, Ruby Horsethief is pretty mellow, but at these flows, a five-year-old in the water could be a really bad situation. As an experienced taker of young kids on river trips, I can say that you will need a good, properly fitting pfd for the little one and a spare "kid wrangler" on board with the little ones at all times. In camp, little kids are like magnets to the water. They will need very close supervision during the entire time and should always have their pfd on when they are anywhere near the river. At these flows, a kid who wades too far in or falls in the river from camp will be swept away very quickly.

Magnets may be an understatement, as soon as you look away, they head straight down to the water, and they love to walk right up to cut banks and ledges, oblivious to the danger of falling in.

I am not saying not to go, just keep a laser eye on those kids and put them on the safest boat and have a kid holder/wrangler with them.
I agree with mikespart about having a kid wrangler on duty 24/7. But of all the camps along that stretch, Mee Canyon may be the most relatively safe for kids, in that there is more of a protected "harbor" for the "beach", with the main flow quite a ways away. At this level, you'll probably have the kitchen up on the upper bench away from the water. Still need to watch them closely, but they should be fairly safe.
I would go. I have a younger kid and have done it higher. Give the kids a stern talking to about the power of the river. Keep an eye on them at camp and run a trip wire with bells around their tent if they are prone to sleep walking. Most children are smarter than we think and have abilities we often disregard. From the info you provided your crew should be fine with the flows, you need to ask yourself if you trust your kids around water at camp. The other consideration is will you, or the wife be so nervous that it's not fun and if so, just go bowling.
Oh ya, also buy a couple packs of glow stick bracelets and necklaces. Pass them out to the kids at nite and they are mush easier to keep track of.
you are the master of disaster. even at 3000 this spells trouble. I say stay home.
There are a lot of comments here that demonstrate a lack of understanding and/or respect for 30K. Ya, its only current, but its cold and going at 6-8 mph. The swirls through the black rocks (which expose themselves at Mee) are not to be underestimated.

I live on the Ark, and I found myself asking why am I headed to the Chama this weekend to bump and drag through low water when its CRANKING at home. The answer was for my daughters. I won't take them down Brown's at the 3-4K we will see this weekend, and I wouldn't take them to Ruby at 30K either. They are seasoned veterans for 12 and 14 year olds, but this is not the time to test their skills.

If your buzzer is going off, heed it, and reschedule.
The White River is an hour north of Loma. Could be a good alternative, no permit required.
I took my family with me last weekend and we had MEE Canyon. The flow was 18+k. The water is cold and I agree with having the kid wranglers on point all the time. The current is swirly around black rocks but the "rapid" was washed out at that level. Trust your gut. Go take a look and then make a decision. At 30k the campsites may be under water and force you to go higher up the banks. I know that when we went some of the camp makers bases were under water exposing only 3 feet of the pole. Be careful out there. Having run it at 18k and looking at 30k with kids, I would scout Westwater takeout then go on to Moab for some bowling and ice cream for the kiddos and margs for the adults.
Spend A LOT of time rafting this. Ive run it at 49,000 with my 4 year old....stay off the booze, be safety minded and use The Black Rock currents to help u get into camp. Dont be afraid to pass your camp and long line it back up. Beaches are gone at 30,000 plus. I draw a line in camp and tell my little avid river rat that if she goes within 20 feet of the water she will have her vest on and whistle close by. With a little respect, sobber mind until after the landing, it can be a fun, safe time! ;) Note: offer the river rangers coffee when they come by, or a little lunch...they are great guys and you can learn a lot from them :)
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