Low Water Be Damned! We Went Anyway.

myt1

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The leaders of our group set a water level of 2 feet as the lower limit to start our trip. When we put-in on June 24th the water was at 2.19 feet. We made it by the skin of our teeth. Basically, the water was at August levels in late June. It wasn't going to be long and the top 25 miles, at least, wouldn't be navigable and rafters would have to fly into small airstrips further down river where there was more water.

This is a fairly typical section of river encountered during the first two days.

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Yes, we got stuck.

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Okay, enough with the complaining. This was a spectacular trip and I would recommend it to anyone. Never have I been on a trip where the scenery was so consistently spectacularly beautiful the entire time. There simply was no let up from the minute we put-in until the minute we took-out 7 days later.

It was off the charts amazing.
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All of my buddies were veterans at piloting rafts in the Grand Canyon multiple times. They were seriously experienced. According to them the white water on the Middle Fork doesn't compare in severity, but it made up for it in relentlessness; it just kept coming at you. Numerous times during our trip we had to get out of our rafts and scout rapids before running them.

This wasn't even one of the hardest sections.

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As a side note: According to one of our guide books, in 1970 Tom Brokaw survived a crash in one of these rapids that killed a passenger and a guide in his boat. He was the only survivor, very sad.

I almost forgot about the fishing. It was great, except we really didn't fish much. My buddy and I were the only fishers in our group and if we would've fished as much as we liked we felt like we would've been holding everyone else back.

That being said, we took turns fishing from the boat during the occasional slow sections, and a few times at night I would fish either before or after dinner from shore. Every day could've been a 20 fish day if we would've made it a priority.

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For me the fishing highlight came when we were camped along one of the larger tributaries where I caught a 14 inch Westslope Cutthroat on a dry fly (Parachute Adams, size 12, sorry Ard).

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We also saw plenty of wildlife. In addition to the photos below we saw Golden Eagles and numerous huge Opreys.

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It truly was a trip of a lifetime. I'm so glad I went, low water and all.

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djfan

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Looks amazing! I read it twice and didn't see the name of the river. Did I miss it?
 

myt1

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Ard says I'm not supposed to name names.

I think it's kinda a rule.

PM and I'll be glad to share.
 

Hayden Creek

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I know that water. Good on ya!

Bony water is always tough going. I ran the upper San Juan last year at 170. Really gotta enjoy rowing for that.
 

osseous

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It doesn't matter if you name names- floats are by permit only, and damned hard to get.

Glad you went- wish I could draw a permit

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myt1

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It doesn't matter if you name names- floats are by permit only, and damned hard to get.

Glad you went- wish I could draw a permit

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My buddy has been trying to get a permit for 20 years and he still hasn't been drawn.

His buddy got picked and invited him and then my buddy invited me.

I really snuck in through the back door, very lucky.
 

sasquatch7

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Its on the left side of a state . No , its in the center of a state . No , its on the right side of a state . Yeah thats it , I'm sure of it now .
 
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MarsB

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As a former whitewater raft guide, that looks like long, arduous, pushing off of rocks/equipment-abusing nightmare.


But glad you had fun! :D

Seriously, I am sure the scenery and cutthroats made up for it. Thanks for sharing!
 

FIB in WI

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Awesome! I met a few guys this summer in the town where the planes base out of who were doing this float. They too had done the Grand Canyon several times though I can't recall if they made any comparison with this river. After they told me about the permits and the fact they were doing their own float, no guides, my jaw dropped! At the time, I hadn't never heard of this place! Truly sounds like an awesome experience!
 

Acheron

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I always read about this and a couple of other rivers on a rafting forum, looks awesome and like a lot of work!
 

myt1

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I always read about this and a couple of other rivers on a rafting forum, looks awesome and like a lot of work!
Yes and Yes!

It was awesome (totally) and it WAS a lot of work.

For me at least, the hard work wasn't on the river. Even when we got stuck, getting unstuck wasn't that big of a deal and it was just part of the adventure. Although, one time after pushing our boat off a rock I ended up standing on a rock stranded in the middle of the river, because I didn't jump back into our boat in time. Luckily, one of the boats in our party was above me and I simply jumped in their boat as it went by. I didn't make that mistake a second time.

The work for me, maybe I'm just lazy, was that the leaders in our group insisted on near-gourmet meals, and the accompanying clean-up, for nearly every meal, except lunch. If it was up to me I would've gone with dehydrated food or something else very simple. Fancy meals just aren't a high priority for me on a trip like this.

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osseous

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When you're the oarsman, and then you set up and break camp each day....plus the cooking....and the groover.... multi-day raft trips are a tiring vacation- But "rivertime" is special enough to make the whole endeavor worthwhile.


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Acheron

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I'll stick with comparatively lazy rivers (though not N. Platte lazy!), easy rowing, and keep focus on fish catching :D :D

Multi-day raft/camp/fish trips make me feel like Samuel de Champlain and yup you always need a vaca after that vaca!
 

osseous

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Where else can you make gallons of water to pour off your wife's head and not get crucified for it!?

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