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Snowhere and myself decided to head south to New Mexico for Labor Day weekend after managing to secure a shuttle and obtain a suitable map. Specifics of the trip planning can be found here: http://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f12/kayak-ss-labor-day-weekend-45016.html for anyone interested...

We left Salida at 330 pm Friday and by the time we drove to Santa Fe and met Abe, got my car dropped at Cochiti Reservoir and made it up to Buckman Crossing it was 1130 pm. There wasn't anyone at Buckman that night, but we still didn't feel comfortable camping there so we shoved off under a full moon.



We floated around 2 miles and ran one easy class II rapid before finding a satisfactory campsite river right.

The second day we launched pretty early and got going.



Even though the flow had dropped to the bare bones minimum for a kayak, 400 cfs at the Otowi Bridge, we still had enough to float, and some current....at least at first.

We stopped at the Red Dot trail a couple miles down before it got too hot and hiked up to some petroglyphs:



and a fantastic view of the canyon:

 

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After climbing up to the Petroglyphs it was starting to get pretty hot, so we stopped for an hour or two and soaked in the cold water pool of Pajarito Springs:



Not too far below the Red Dot we came to the rapids.



The biggest in the canyon is Ancho. The guidebooks rate it as III/IV and there was certainly large rocks in a constricted channel, but at this flow it boated more like a II+.



Below the rapids the water completely flattens...but the scenery is incredible.



but then it got difficult for a little way. Hidden sandbars and no current made it difficult to read the water. I managed to hand crawl a couple times, but didn't have to exit my boat. Snowhere wasn't as lucky:

 

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We traveled significantly farther on day 2 then we expected. The plan was to camp/hike at either Frijoles or Alamo Canyons....but apparently we missed them as we were preoccupied with trying not to get stuck.

We ended up camping at Capulin Canyon at river mile 14. There were large, fresh bear tracks:



so we were very careful with cooking, and made sure to hang our food in a tree a good distance from camp.

The next morning we hiked Capulin Canyon in search of the elusive "Painted Cave". We found good hiking, but were unsuccessful in locating the cave...



From Capulin we were 6 miles of flatwater from the boat ramp at the reservoir. The channel began to deepen, and the scenery stayed fantastic all the way to the lake.



The "log boom dam" was not an issue to paddle around, and we were extremely lucky to have completely calm winds as we paddled around to the takeout.





My car was patiently waiting at the parking area for us. No tickets, no vandalism, the cooler even still had cold beer in it! From there we headed up to Orilla Verde recreation area to do an "elf" run on the racecourse...



All in all I would call it a fun and successful trip. The scenery and hiking are top notch, as is the "wilderness feel" of the run. The whitewater was quite mild though, and the majority of the trip was flat water. I would definitely do it again, but would look for a little more water. I think the most important thing about this trip is to take enough time to fully enjoy it. I could see it sucking if you were in a hurry to paddle the flats.
 

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One more pic to share, myself and the fully loaded Pyranha Fusion. A great boat for kayak self-support.

 

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Cool. Looks fun. Was the put in shady? Just wondering why the better option was paddling in under the moon.
 

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God Amongst Men
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thanks for the report Logan. Super bummed I wasn't able to make it, but looks like you guys had fun!
 

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Great report!

Looks like you took out at the west ramp. Was the Tetilla ramp gated after dark?
I kayaked Whiterock as a rushed day trip nearly 7 years ago and saw the biggest beaver (Castor canadensis) on that lower flat water stretch, then raced a motorized canoe to the same ramp. Any rattlebugs or scorpion stories? How about ELF images from Pilar?
Thanks for the inspiration. Now I'll plan a long weekend family trip for next spring with more water for the raft and a motor for the lake section.
 

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I helped build the little dam below that waterfall about 30 years ago

Thanks for putting up some pictures!
 

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Great trip report. I have run the canyon twice, but always at 4000cfs+. Ancho Canyon is much rowdier at that level. Definitely 3+, maybe 4.

You have me motivated to try a low water run. My wife and I have JPW Fat Cats (Display Products) which are perfect for low water with sandbars.
 

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Cool. Looks fun. Was the put in shady? Just wondering why the better option was paddling in under the moon.
Buckman Crossing is a major party spot for Santa Fe locals, and stories have been told of the group that left a vehicle there to do a multi-day, only to come back and find it stripped, burned and rolled into the river.... We didn't see anyone there, but there was lots of beer trash and evidence of recent partying. Plus the sand was pretty deep, and I was glad I didn't try and take my Subaru in.... We both decided we wanted to rest, and were pretty sure it would be more difficult then boating downstream a little ways.

Looks like you took out at the west ramp. Was the Tetilla ramp gated after dark?
I kayaked Whiterock as a rushed day trip nearly 7 years ago and saw the biggest beaver (Castor canadensis) on that lower flat water stretch, then raced a motorized canoe to the same ramp. Any rattlebugs or scorpion stories? How about ELF images from Pilar?
Thanks for the inspiration. Now I'll plan a long weekend family trip for next spring with more water for the raft and a motor for the lake section.
I don't think it was gated, but we never made it over there. We had a shuttle mishap and ended up on the west side and just decided to go with it instead of driving around to Tetilla. Probably only added about 10 minutes of paddling to the trip (since there was no headwind!). We saw a rather large beaver too. No rattlesnakes or scorpions (luckily) we were careful though. I only took 1 photo from Pilar (because my camera isn't waterproof) and it was Souse from the takeout:



I thought it was fun at 185 cfs. I wouldn't drive down there just for it, but it was nice after 2.5 days of flat water to run something with a little more action.

Canada - That's awesome. Thanks for putting in some labor to create that pool. It was a godsend in the dry New Mexican heat.

Nice, Logan. But I thought you were supposed to put your gear in your boat...
You know, I had significantly more gear in my boat the first 2 days Phil. By the 3rd I was tired of pulling the bulk head to load gear for flat water, it was easier to just strap it to the top...
 

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Return to White Rock

Some Ark Valley locals and I decided 900-950 cfs on the Otowi gauge was enough to drive down to Santa Fe and suffer through the flat water paddle out on very scenic White Rock Canyon.

This trip we had the company of Santa Fe local (and Buzz member) Abron Cabron, as well as his help with shuttle. John, the owner of Kokopelli Rafting also helped arrange a shuttle driver to drop us off at the Buckman launch. We arrived at Kokopelli around 930 pm on Friday 4-19 and met the rest of the crew. We loaded up their gear and made room for the shuttle driver. Abe, Kyle and Abe's wife went to Cochiti to drop 2 vehicles then had Abe's wife drop them off at Buckman where we were with their gear. To our surprise there was a rather large raft group camped on the boat ramp at Buckman.

We saw significant security patrols checking out the pump stations at Buckman. Probably one every couple hours....but I still don't think it's safe to leave a vehicle there. One of the security guards we talked to said they have continuous problems with bullet holes in the buildings...and we did have one suburban come through spinning dust and peeling out.

Launched the next morning under blue skies and warm temps. Certainly more current at the top of the run with 900 cfs than 350...




There were 2 rapids, Water Canyon and Ancho Canyon. Each consisted of 2 parts. Basically it was all fun class II except the entrance move on Ancho which I felt was easy class III. There were a few random holes with on the fly play.


and then it gets flat....
 

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Lunch stop was at Frijoles Canyon where we went for a little hike.



The guide book says the Frijoles Canyon trail is a possible takeout if you hike up a "well maintained trail" 1.5 miles to the visitor center.... the trail has been blown out by flash flood. We were able to get to the lower 50' water fall, but the trail was impassible above this point.

At this point it got windy and we hit the sand bars.


Shortly below Frijoles Canyon we came across an older fellow in blue jeans with a Wal-Mart kayak standing on the shore shivering. He had no food or water, no camping gear and no ability to read the sand bars. Kyle got out and helped him drain his boat. Luckily at this point the rafting party caught up to us and were willing to take him on board.

Even for experienced boaters it was difficult to avoid all the sand bars.... in fact I thought they were more difficult to identify then they were last trip at 350 cfs. I felt bad for the guy with the 16' cat....



We planned to camp at Alamo Canyon and hike up to the Kiva House but the mouth of the canyon was overgrown with cat tails and was too marshy to provide a campsite. So we ended up camping at Capulin Canyon again. The rafters and Mike the Texan joined us at Capulin. I gave Mike my tarp and Jackson (on the ducky) just so happened to have an extra sleeping bag. The rafters gave him dry clothes and some warm food. He had been dropped off at Otowi Bridge 8 miles upstream of Buckman by his brother who was supposed to pick him up at Cochiti Lake later that day. He expected to boat 30 miles of flat water with sand bars and a headwind in blue jeans with no supplies...... I think he was extremely lucky there were other boaters on the river that day....



The next day was completely calm for the paddle out. Placid and beautiful.

 

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Nice! Let's see, when were you on the river? 4/20? Hmm...
Yeah, we had a very nice 4/20 party at Capulin Canyon with the rafters.... I think Mike the Texan was a bit overwhelmed with the whole experience.

Also worthy of note:

We saw some extremely ugly, feral cows at the Red Dot trail/Pajarito Spring this time...

There appeared to be excellent camping at the mouth of Sanchez Canyon approximately 1 mile downstream from Capulin.
 

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They aren't Feral.

They just leave on the horns to let them deal with the Coyotes.

They are very wild. We used to try to ride them when we were kids.:lol:
 

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good times. I was pleasantly surprised at how well my superhero packed up and handled. plenty of room, and still responsive and easy to roll. good trip. even though it was 99% float. looking forward to more self support trips...with more water,more rapids and less freakin sandbars. I will try to get some pics up for more perspective. :mrgreen:
 

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Whiterock Report 5/17/13.

This report is not as well put together as Lmyers report, but pictures are always good to share. Get the Rio Grande Guide book by Bowers: Fieldguides: The Rio Grande

We had a great 2-night float down Whiterock Canyon, launching 5/17/13 on about 1,050 cfs with 2 raft, two cats, and a sport boat with 8 people and a lab.
After trashing the tongue on a trailer (go slow over the cattle guard) pic#1 we made a quick launch from Buckman and were just 10 min on the river before finding a sandy beach on rr for a great camp pic#2, just out of sight (and pistol range) from Buckman. The power line on the ridge was the only reminder that we were close to any urban area. Being on a large island our hike options were nil, but we did not see any snakes and my lab kept the one cow at a distance downstream.
A commercial group from Santa Fe also put-on just after us, but camped much further down at the Pajarito springs site.

Great float with good current on down to our lunch stop and quick hike up past the pool at Pajarito springs, spotting poison ivy, and a few petroglyphs pic#3. By the time we returned the other group had left and we were able to check out the camp site area upstream pic#4, probably the only desirable camp on the river, but the landing did have a fair current to contend with and limited beach/boat access. The point below offers another landing for the hike, but is overgrown with willows.
Water Canyon rapid pic#5 was a simple rock in the middle with clear routes on either side, then the river split to three channels around two islands.
At the lower convergence point there was a fun hole large enough to hold a raft, but easily avoided or pushed out of.
We stopped to scout Ancho rapid pic#6, 7, 8 for the best ride then started battling the wind down to Frijoles Canyon pic#9. We then started motoring down and settled for a slightly damp camp pic#10, on another island rr around mile 14, which worked out well, but one lone frog kept the group awake most of the night.

An early start and two strong motors got us and another 16' cat boat (bird research) out to the Tetilla ramp early afternoon were our drivers had left our rigs. Pay the $3 permit fee per vehicle and date it for the takeout date before parking.

Great local trip but camps are limited, even at this low flow of 1050.
It does tend to run longer than natural flow rivers, supporting irrigation downstream. Also verifify the Tetilla area is open if before April 1st, or use west ramp.
 

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