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Discussion Starter #1
We have a family trip on the San Juan with a June 21 launch date. I have never been fortunate enough to run the San Juan above 1200cfs, in fact most trips have been around the 800 mark. Right now, the San Juan is 6800cfs at 4 corners and just over 5000cfs at Bluff. The Animas is also over 7000cfs right now. I am not sure how long this is going to last, but I am guessing we will still have a lot of water on June 21.
Question… What is the river like at these flows? Do the rapids get washed out? We have a couple people new at the oars, but most of the group has plenty of river time. We also have a bunch of kids with us. What are the campsites like this water level? Also have a question about bugs. My previous trips on the San Juan have been pretty much bug free, but wondering if all this rain has increased the bug factor.
We are very excited to have lots of water, but curious what it is like at this level.
 

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We did it, a couple of years ago, where I was expecting 800cfs, in September. Instead, rains pumped it up to between 9000cfs and 12,0000cfs! The key here is if you are on a raft, and someone swims from a ducky or open canoe, you will not catch them. Eddies are gone, so to eddie out, one has to jump off with the rope and pull the boat in. We had one open canoe and two rafts. So our technique was to have the OC jump out and pull his boat onto the bank. Then he would catch our line being thrown by my wife. That allowed me to jump off our raft and assist in pulling us in. Then we would repeat for our last raft. I had planned on letting my son kayak at 800, that was a no go at the levels we saw. The 15+ mile day took us 1.5hrs on the water. We planned a stay over day at Chinle wash to hike. One could not cross the creek because it was raging too high and the banks were slick as snot from mud.

Most things washed out except for Eight foot rapid. We came around the bend for that and it was a nice 8' wave!

I would plan for bugs, being spring. It would not hurt to have a mesh shelter for cooking and plenty of bug spray. We did not need it in September, but it is not September. Campsites were all a go, but the real estate shrank do to mud.
 

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We just got off last weekend and our trip started out around 1500 and ended somewhere north of 7000. It was awesome because it's at the end where things (sandbars) get slow and problematic with the buildup of silt from the lake.

I agree with snowhere that most of the eddies are gone but they are still there at the camps enough to be mostly protected from the main flow. We did all comment that from Sand Island to probably Slickhorn we probably took a total of 20 strokes on the oars :)

To your specific questions:

Yes, some of the rapids are washed out. The most interesting (probably because it was unexpected) was Twin Canyons but it's short and as long as you run it straight on there's no issue. Government at 6k was simply a read and run. Last time we ran it at 4k I don't even remember it. Bottom line - the Juan is a great trip for the first time rower and anyone should easily be able to handle it. Yes, there is the errant rock that someone can get hung up on but you have to really not pay attention to do that.

Campsites are great even at this flow. One note - if you have a lot of younger kids (or drunk adults) I would highly recommend having a pee bucket to alleviate the issue of trying to find some easy place to pee in the river. The pullout eddies for most camps at higher water create less of a beach.

Bugs - we barely had any during our stretch. Nothing like a deso trip. Still, bring some bug spray and clothing in case things change or someone is more sensitive to bug bites.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the posts. We are running from Mexican Hat to Clay Hills only. Wish we were doing the entire thing. I am guessing it will be under 5000 when we launch and will go down from there. Sounds like it will be great and the kids will have a blast. Thanks for the idea on a pee bucket. Definitely want to avoid any unplanned swims.


I also read the posts on the new rapid at Twin Canyons. Sounds like a straight run down the left. We might still stop to scout.


Excited to run Government at higher water. Definitely had some pinball action at low water.
 

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I have ran the San Juan a number of times. I do not pay much attention to rapid names on this river. Probably just me but where is Twin Canyons Rapid? any one have a river mile for it? I am a big fan of the San Juan for the current and great hikes etc on the lower section. Just read and run the rapids and enjoy the river.
 

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I have ran the San Juan a number of times. I do not pay much attention to rapid names on this river. Probably just me but where is Twin Canyons Rapid? any one have a river mile for it? I am a big fan of the San Juan for the current and great hikes etc on the lower section. Just read and run the rapids and enjoy the river.
At Twin Canyons :) Right above the campground. We went to the foot of it and floating it about 6 times. Awesome wave train coming from it on river left.
 

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thanks for the info on twin canyons

I was out there earlier this year but it was pretty low and maybe the waves were not there.
 

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just got off on 6/11

enjoy,
we started at Bluff, on 6/5 3900 cfs, by mid week upto 7000 cfs thru out the week.
My feeling is the best flows are 3500 to 5000 cfs, which makes the river very bouncy, lots and lots of Sand Waves, we had huge flow from slickhorn to Trimble with tons of Sand Waves, took us 45 minutes.

new rapid is "AWESOME" two big horizon holes in right and middle, just head left, read and run, 10 rolling waves left/center. No need to scout.

Gov't is fine until low water, read and run as well.

Ross tends to wash at higher flows,
Camped at Tabernacle, Upper Honaker, False Johns, Trimble (watch out for flash flooding, at risk area)

eddies are fast, start early and no problems,
Slickhorn hole was full, and mostly warm.

There is nothing to worry about, it will be a blast that date.

My Dory never stopped bobbing up/down, total blast

Have run this at 8000 cfs, washes out
2500 cfs, very nice
3500-5000CFS my most favorite levels, 3 foot Sand Waves at times, and tons of them.
 

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The highest I've run it was 13k one spring. Like the others say, fAst with no eddies. I suggest trying to space out when you're trying to stop, especially for camp and have your inexperienced boaters practice bumping the shore with their stern first. The boat will slow down enough and spin the bow to shore for the passenger to jump out with bow line in hand.
 

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Got off yesterday - launched at about 5500, dropped to 4K then back up to 6K.

Some eddies were tough to make (Big Stick), some a bit easier. Planning is key; if you're ready to look for a spot, be sure your boats are floating close to shore. If you're in the main channel, you're goin'....

Had some mosquitoes at Slickhorn A; other than that, no bugs to speak of.
 
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