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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Salt River 2009. First time we applied and we got lucky! May 5 put-in. Please offer your advice & experience with running the Salt during high-use season.
  • Trip length: 4 days to takeout? 5? Two days above the permitted section, then two days out? [In 09, I understand that put-in (launch) date is SAME as your permit date; they figured out that two days after you put in, you arrive at the permitted section, right?]
  • pay Indian res campground + put-in access fees for first 20 miles? pay at put-in? Kmart?
  • best campgrounds? Is there a sign-up or assigned campgound system? on Indian land? on USFS section?
  • best river guidebook(s)? maps?
  • what other q's shd I be asking?
Thanks in advance for your guidance and suggestions, DrDave

ps. since 1970's, we've been rafting permitted rivers, adhering to (and exceeding) river and camping regs, etc. ...but every run has its own challenges and quirks, so your all your comments are most welcome.
 

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Kjirsten
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Pay at the putin! Kmart will charge you 3 times as much.

Cherry Creek is a nice camp spot as is Gleason Flats (except for 4wheeler tracks and fences about 50 ft back from the river). There is a long section with no camping since it is a bald eagle preserve- plan for that. No sign-up for camp sites, first come, first serve.
There's a great hike at Cherry Creek with ruins and depending on how warm it is and the flow you can have paco pad races down the tributary if you want to do a layover day.
 

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Salt help

High water is usually in March. May it will be low, this year for sure.What are bringing? Rafts,Duckies,Yaks? As far as river goes, It's fast,tricky and surprises around the corners and basically fun as hell. Being able to read and run are vital skills on this one.
A few miles before the put in there is the Indian store,you can get your tickets there.They don't take cash for your permit at the ranger station.The put in is Hike-a-Boat,About a couple 100ft.
Camping @ gleason flat at that time of the year you will have vehicle traffic at night.Going thru Gleason flat as well as the major rapids(past quartzite-corkscrew,etc) and making it to the creek camps is a good idea.
When You take-out Drive to Sho0Lo get a room and have breakfast at the Pizza Place! At least Five days on the river,four would be tough.
 

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May 5 launch?????????

No wonder you got "lucky." Hope you have enough water to get kayaks and I.K.'s down. You're almost going to have to pray for rain right before you launch.
I've done 16 bridge-to-bridge Salt trips now, and with the flows you're going to probably have, 5 days is going to be tough, 6 would be better, unless you just want to spend all day each day getting down the river, with no time to enjoy camp or hiking, etc. There are some great hikes down there, and it's not worth rushing the trip.
Have done it at all flows, from 800 at the put-in to just over 8000 at the put-in (had just over 18,000 the day we did Quarzite and the canyon below: full-on yahoo). My vote would be anything less than 900 at the put-in isn't worth bringing rafts for, but I'm guessing other who are willing to abuse their gear will disagree :)
There are a lot of great camps, use your own judgment. Make sure to camp on riv left if you stop anywhere before the road ends. Less hassle.
Canyon Creek is a "must hike" stop. Too beautiful to miss. No camp there anymore, unless you're a marmot ;-) But, there is a tough-to-find and hit camp just downstream on riv rt, tucked up in a little draw. It's the only way to camp near Canyon Creek and hike back to it to do a long hike up the creek. Worth the carry up in to the draw.
I would also say do anything you can to avoid camping on or near Gleason Flats. There's a great, more or less "new" camp on river left about 3/4 mile before you get out of the granite canyon above Gleason Flats, a bit of a carry uphill from a cool rock island. See pics attached. It's just downstream of Ash Cr. on the left. 30 min of rowing into a headwind the next morning brought us out into Gleason Flats, and it was a much nicer camp than being out there with the ATV's and cowshit. Get across Gleason Flat and thru Eye of the Needle and Blackrock that day, then find a place in the canyon before Quartzite. Several very good camps in there, but beware of side canyon flash flood potential.
Latest I've ever launched is April 17, and have bagged two trips that would have launched earlier than that due to low/no water. Can't imagine what you may be looking at on May 5. PM me if you want more details on a good, cheap shuttle and car storage, etc. Good luck.
 

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I've done a trip at 280 CFS at the put-in gauge. You may not even have that much water in May. We ended up having to launch from Gleason, had to line Blackrock, definitely did some pushing, and it took us all of 5 days to get to the takeout with very little hiking. Our biggest boat was a 16ft, the rest were 14ers. Still a fun trip, but I probably wouldn't do it again.

You could do the whole thing in a kayak at 250 cfs, and I've done the whole thing as a 2 day/1 night selfsupport at about 600. The only rapid of any excitement at that low of flow is Blackrock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
DrDave's reply to: Cherry Creek is a nice camp spot as is Gleason Flats ...

DrDave's reply to: Cherry Creek is a nice camp spot as is Gleason Flats ...

Thanks. Good advice about layover day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
DrDave to JH re MAY 15 on the SALT

I chose three successive Tuesdays, starting in April and the Tuesdays spilled over into May. Why Tuesdays? I just like to say "Tuesday" better than the other days of the week...

Not a intelligently thought-out plan, but we got a permit, at least.

I may take your advice and abort if H2O is below 1000cfs, as you seem to indicate when you said that a run @800cfs would have meant lots of hangups and some pedo-running of the river, right?

Thanks for this and your other advice. Flatsidedown! DrDave
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
reply to "Salt @ 280cfs"

I've done a trip at 280 CFS at the put-in gauge.. said:
So, at what level would you advise we abort if we actually expect to "float" 15'-16' rafts on "top" of the "water"?
 

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My benchmark is anything below 900 is sketchy. Of course, that varies on proximity to better options.....
 

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My benchmark is anything below 900 is sketchy. Of course, that varies on proximity to better options.....
Agreed. We took 2 pretty loaded 16'ers down at 900-and-dropping at the put-in, and there were hang-ups everywhere and wedging carnage at Quartzite: ripped a tube and a floor. Better to go lots of smaller rafts or even switch to self-support kayaks and I.K.s
 

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Yes, I'd say abort or switch to smaller craft. Quartzite was pretty tame at that level but Blackrock was a no-go except in a kayak. I'd say it's still worth it in a ducky though as long as you've got at least 300.
 

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Canyon Creek is a "must hike" stop. Too beautiful to miss. No camp there anymore, unless you're a marmot ;-) But, there is a tough-to-find and hit camp just downstream on riv rt, tucked up in a little draw. It's the only way to camp near Canyon Creek and hike back to it to do a long hike up the creek. Worth the carry up in to the draw.
Looks like I'll be on a trip late March, early April, providing there is water. How much time should we plan on for the Canyon Cr hike? What makes it a "must"? Any other recommended hikes?
 

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usg?

O.K. so today,I'm looking @ the same usgs real time flow chart. On the 24-26th it shows only going up to 2,000. When I looked at it 3 days ago it read 4,120 and 4,200 the previous day. I don't know what to say,everyone has their own site they check with,so no more #'s in my post's
 
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