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Tag: rapids

Big Water in Cataract Canyon: The Colorado River

Utah’s Biggest Whitewater in Canyonlands National Park | Average CFS: 31,500
Friday – Sunday, May 31 – June 2, 2024

As many of you already know, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time exploring, hiking, backpacking, Jeeping and floating the rivers within Canyonlands National Park over the years. However, Cataract Canyon has been the one section of the Colorado River in Canyonlands that has eluded me over that time. Since there’s a pretty good chance I might never have the opportunity to navigate the large rapids of Cataract Canyon on a private river trip, I figured this would probably be a good place to try out a commercial river trip for the first time and see how it goes. So late last year I booked a 3-day motorized trip with Mild To Wild Rafting and then my friend Jackson did the same for his family so we could go on the trip together. Since we would be in a large raft with an experienced guide on this trip instead of in our little inflatable kayaks, we tried to time the trip to coincide with the highest water of the year that typically happens during spring runoff in late May and early June, and I think we ended up doing a pretty good job on the timing.

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Return to The Chute of Muddy Creek

Floating Through the Muddy Creek Wilderness: Tomsich Butte to Hidden Splendor
Friday & Saturday, June 16-17, 2023 | Average CFS: 185

This year Jackson was really hoping we would be able to make it over to the San Rafael Swell so we could float through The Chute of Muddy Creek before the water levels dropped, but for a while there it was looking like we might not be able to make it happen this season. Luckily, the water levels of Muddy Creek have continued to stayed high enough for a couple of weeks and on Friday afternoon as I was leaving work we made a last minute decision to give it a shot on Saturday morning. All of my river gear was still packed in the Jeep and ready to go, so we headed west into Utah and met up in Green River before making our way over to Hidden Splendor to drop off my Jeep at the take-out.

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The Dolores River: Fisher Creek to the Colorado River

Gateway Canyon: Fisher Creek to Dewey Bridge | Average CFS: 2,170
Saturday, June 10, 2023

This weekend Jackson was only free on Saturday so we planned a day trip to float down another section of the lower Dolores River from Fisher Creek to the Dewey Bridge Campground since it’s not too far away from home. Although most people run this stretch starting from Gateway, we decided to launch closer to Fisher Creek so that we would be able to easily finish it in a day while also skipping Stateline and Rockslide Rapids. While this kind of day trip would typically require a very long shuttle that would not make it worth the effort for most, living in the middle of the shuttle made the logistics a little easier for us. After work on Friday, Jackson and I dropped off his vehicle at the Dewey Bridge Campground and then returned home for the night. Then on Saturday morning Diane rode with us down past Gateway as we looked for a spot to put-in and then she drove my Jeep back home for us. This way we wouldn’t have to return to pick it up later in the day which would have required at least an additional four hours of driving time!

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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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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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