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Category: Paddling

The Colorado River: Take-Out Beach to Potash

Memorial Day | Monday, May 29, 2023 | Average CFS: 32,620

Let’s try something different this time around. I’m going to give the Artificial Intelligence from ChatGPT a whirl to see how well it can write an introduction for this Trip Report where Jackson, Amy and I floated the Colorado River near Moab from Take-Out Beach to Potash. Let’s see how well it does…

In the realm of outdoor exploration, the allure of embarking on a new adventure is a constant driving force. Such was the case when Jackson and I found ourselves at a crossroads, our original plan to conquer The Chute of Muddy Creek in the San Rafael Swell thwarted by insufficient water levels. Undeterred, we sought an alternative that would satiate our thirst for exploration. And so it was, fueled by a shared sense of curiosity, that we set our sights on a stretch of the mighty Colorado River between Take-Out Beach and Potash. For Jackson, this particular section held a special significance, as it was the sole uncharted territory between picturesque Palisade and the vast expanse of Lake Powell. To make this adventure even more memorable, Jackson’s wife, Amy, joined us, bringing her own sense of excitement and camaraderie to our expedition. With the sun-drenched waters beckoning us, we embarked on a journey that promised to immerse us in the wonders of the Colorado River and create memories that would last a lifetime.

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The Colorado River: Blue Heron to Loma

Sunday, May 28, 2023 | Average CFS: 29,670

After spending Saturday on the Dolores River, Jackson and I were looking for something short and local to do on Sunday morning since we were planning to leave later in the afternoon and head over to the San Rafael Swell so we could float The Chute of Muddy Creek on Monday. We eventually settled on floating a shorter stretch of the Colorado River in the Grand Valley from the Blue Heron Boat Ramp in Grand Junction to Loma since this is the only section of the river between Palisade and the Utah state line that I had not been on before and I thought this would probably be a good time to finally check it out. We were both up early on Sunday morning, met up at the Loma boat ramp to drop off Jackson’s car, and then returned to the Blue Heron ramp and were on the river before 8:30am.

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Into the Ponderosa Gorge of the Dolores River

Dolores Canyon: Bradfield Bridge to Mountain Sheep Point
Friday & Saturday, May 26-27, 2023 | Average CFS: 2,400

After spending the last couple of weekends on the river, Jackson and I wanted to keep the streak going with three different day trips planned over this extended Memorial Day weekend. For our first destination on Saturday we were going to float a section of the Dolores River below the McPhee Reservoir from Bradfield Bridge to Mountain Sheep Point that is known as the Ponderosa Gorge. This nineteen-mile section of the Dolores River is known for it’s quick pace, spectacular campsites, soaring cliffs of red sandstone and of course the tall stands of ponderosa pines. Diane and I had visited the Dolores Canyon Overlook on our way to Mesa Verde last year which looks down into this portion of the Dolores Canyon, so I was really looking forward to seeing the canyon from the river this time!

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Plateau Creek: Spring Runoff from the Grand Mesa

Fleming Point to Big Wash | Average CFS: 1,385
After Work Adventures | Tuesday, May 23, 2023

While Jackson and I were floating through Little Yampa Canyon a few days ago we were talking about where we wanted to go next and decided that it was finally time for us to paddle down Plateau Creek after work this week. This is a creek that is very close to home that we have wanted to check out for quite a long time, but some years it’s hard to catch enough water to make it happen during the short spring runoff window. This year happens to be one of those rare years where there is enough water up on the Grand Mesa to get on Plateau Creek for an extended period of time and we wanted to take advantage of that opportunity. We left from work, dropped off a car at the mouth of Big Wash, where we planned to take-out, and then drove up the canyon a couple more miles to a put-in just below Fleming Point.

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Little Yampa Canyon: South Beach to Duffy Mountain

Floating the Yampa River Through Duffy Mountain | Average CFS: 14,140
Saturday & Sunday, May 20-21, 2023

With the big snowpack in the mountains of Colorado this year I decided to take a little break from hiking and backpacking during the months of May and June so that I could try to get out onto the rivers as much as possible this season. This weekend Jackson and I were looking to get out on an overnight trip and were initially thinking about trying to catch some of the ephemeral desert rivers in Utah, but that wouldn’t logistically work out for us this weekend and we turned our attention back to the Yampa River in Colorado’s Great Northwest. After looking over maps of the area we settled on trying out a section of the Yampa that is just west of Craig and known as Little Yampa Canyon or Duffy Canyon. This 33 mile stretch of the Yampa River carves it’s way through Duffy Mountain and is all flat water. Since we were unfamiliar with this section of the river we were a little concerned that it’s easy nature might change at the high water levels it was currently seeing, but we decided to check it out anyway.

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