Enokidancer's Blog

December 29, 2009

HIGH WATER HELLACIOUS

Filed under: Uncategorized — enokidancer @ 6:15 pm

September 26, 2009  – Filed under: Uncategorized — enokidancer @ 3:46 pm
Tags: Bluff, Canoeing the San Juan, Carpe diem, Kearsley River Guide, PFD, Sand Island, Utah

HIGH WATER HELLACIOUS     

    Canoeing the San Juan                                                                                                                   

“Just me and you, this old canoe, rockin’ down the river…”                                                                         

“Going Over Home”  by Colleen Anderson    

Curt going over home on a flat stretch of the San Juan

 

Here we are, June 4, 2006, our first day canoeing Utah’s San Juan River, two senior citizens from Flagstaff, Arizona, paddling smoothly along through red, slanted, sandstone layers, catching a Great Blue Heron by surprise, snapping pictures.  We get to Comb Wash campsite early, find a clean shady spot on pale fine sand for the tent under the shelter of a beautiful grove of four big cottonwoods, one reaching a low, horizontal limb protectively out around us and the yellow Taj Mahal, our tent.

Driving up the day before launch, we arrive at Sand Island, four miles southwest of Bluff, Utah. We have a Bureau of Land Management river permit from someone’s cancelled trip for three days and two nights on the river. Curt sets up camp. I mosey down to the fee box, fill out the info, deposit cash; only $5 to camp tonight and $5 to float with the Golden Age Pass, for which we both qualify.

My partner, Curt, is an experienced canoeist, I, Norma, the amateur. We are old friends, having worked together in Tulsa in the eighties. We’ve  been together as a couple for a year. I retired to my hometown from teaching in New Mexico. Curt came to town as a Vista Volunteer for the affordable housing coalition, a non-profit organization. He came to pay a call on an old friend, and we haven’t stopped talking since.

Norma helping set up camp

At first sight of the river, we are startled to find the San Juan much higher, faster and fuller than we could have imagined. We later find that it is running at 5,500 cfs (cubic feet a second). The high flow is due to an unusually large release of water upriver from Navajo Dam, in New Mexico. By contrast, the Illinois, the river we know best in Oklahoma, during this same period was flowing at 3 cfs.   

In camp, Curt reviews the canoe strokes with me. We read the part of the Kearsley River Guide that says that the San Juan is not a good river for amateur canoeists. Accidents abound, as do smashed-up canoes. Journal:  simple paddling directions. draw – stern to paddle;  drag – 45 degree – open front – stern to paddle;  rudder – 45 degree- open back – bow to paddle;  sweep – bow to opposite side…   I am not at all sure how this enterprise will come out; but, scary or not, I know that I want to be here and experience it with Curt. Carpe diem!  

Honda & Mad River Canoe

 

We absorb the evening quiet under a cliff with a massive geometric tumble of boulders. We talk. I am in heaven. I was raised in the Southwest, and always dreamed of one day going down these rivers that cut through the twisting canyons of the Colorado Plateau. Decades later, I’m finally going to get to do it.

Sunday:  First day on the river. It’s hot, but the water keeps us cool. We quickly make the seven miles to Comb Wash, setting up in early afternoon under the grove of cottonwoods. We spread out the double sleeping bag pad under their shade, and kick back, drinking in the day, resting and watching floating cottonwood seeds and the passing river. A nearby prickly pear cactus blooms in hot pink silky profusion.

In my journal: Sunburned knees. Nap on pad. Bloodstains on shirt?   Finally figured out that the bloodstains on the sleeves of my shirt had come from the dry camelthorn twigs on the steep bank that I had to slither up when we put in, since I have punctures in my forearms. Hadn’t particularly noticed. One thing at a time.

Somewhere toward evening Sunday, Curt asks me, “Have you peed today?”  I haven’t.  He says, “That’s a sign of dehydration.”  Years of old bike rider lore, unfortunately true. We start plying me with Gatorade and water. Some 3.5 liters later I am getting worried. In a hospital once, I was dehydrated, and could only be re-hydrated intravenously. Here, there’s no IV. Another liter later, I can relax. It seems that the system works, after all.

We have painstakingly transported Flagstaff drinking water. The San Juan is too silty even for Curt’s sophisticated water filtration system. It would not guarantee getting out the giardia, a nasty little protozoan who loves to infest folks’ innards. Silty defined: Of all the rivers which dump into the Colorado’s Lake Powell, the San Juan alone carries 30-40% of the silt. 

A cool breeze wafts in off the river. We satisfy any notion of food with trail mix and fruit. Curt finds that the propane canister feels almost empty, and suspects a blowout. We want to save what we may have for tomorrow’s cup of coffee.

Riffles on Land and Water San Juan

Tomorrow we will face the rapids, the “Four-foot”, the “Eight-foot”, the “Drill Hole turbulence”, and the legendary Class III, the “LEDGE”, which, from what we’ve been told, should be written in big, shaky letters like the title of a horror movie! “Try to aim between the rock and the ledge.” I later learn that the four-foot and eight-foot designations have nothing to do with how long or short they are, but rather more with the depth or angle of descent.

Evening. River sounds. Under the stars, soft light from the half-full waxing moon, the Taj Mahal, and these lovely old trees, the blessing of night. Distant coyotes are calling.

Monday:  About an hour before time for us to embark, cups of coffee safely in situ, we see six Canadian geese come up our bank from the river, a fairly stately troupe, until the next-to-the last one, a big gander, leans over the little laggard, a grayling teenager, and pecks him, hard. This might prove to be symbolic of our day.

This morning, Curt tells me that, if we capsize and are thrown in, to lie back in my Personal Flotation Device (life-jacket) and stretch my feet downriver with the flow. The book warns about the potential of drowning because a dangling foot can get stuck between two rocks. Before I start this part, I will say, “NEVER TAKE OFF YOUR PFD. IT WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE.”  (Repeat after me: “My PFD will save my life”…. My PFD…..”) 

Four Foot Rapids.  I am tossed out in an arc, underwater, away from the canoe and into a quite beautiful golden underworld. The water is the color of diluted cinnamon and nutmeg, a warm golden brown in color, cold in temperature, not unpleasant. It is still and quiet below the rushing water above, and beautifully lit. When I am catapulted in, I make the mistake of gasping. I gasp in river water, and, of course, silt. Probably giardia, too, but who’s counting? Down under, I first look up to ascertain that I am not directly beneath the canoe. I’ve been swimming enough lately to recall that if you head for the light you usually find air. Also, of course, I’ve seen All That Jazz, more than once, and know about the other light at the end of that final  tunnel. Choices! I go up.

When I emerge I have swallowed or choked down enough water to be making a strangled, deep-in-the-throat coughing noise, something like “hhhh-awk, hhhh-awk,” as I am being fiercely swept along by the river. It feels and sounds stupid, but I can’t stop. The force of the water hustles me alone in an uncontrolled bobbing through the rapids, hhhh-awking, trying to get some normal breath into my lungs, wishing I might somehow catch up with Curt and the canoe.

Finally I can see that I am being swept toward them. In passing, I touch Curt’s sleeve, and rub it between my thumb and forefinger, because it feels so reassuring to be back near him, then grab for the gunnel of the partially submerged canoe, which leans heavily toward me at about a forty-five degree angle to the south side of the river. I finally get to where I can stop the hhhh-awking noise. Curt yells, “Get the paddle!” I look down and see a paddle bobbing along by my feet and the canoe, catch it between my feet, and draw it up where I can grasp it with my free hand. Soon Curt leaves the canoe with the bowline and gets us to shore.

Dry out time after 8-foot rapids

Our first stop: to feel earth and breathe the air above it, and to assess the damage and bail out our canoe. We’ve lost the BLM-approved folding techno-toilet, but we’ve saved the bags and pooh powder; lost the fire pan; both our hats, Curt’s venerable Tilley Hat and my new hat, with enough shade to satisfy a Bedouin and his camel; half of our two-part kayak paddle; we lose our Throw Bag … for helping rescue folks. Kind of ironic, huh? The digital camera is safe, and I keep my glasses, held on by the Croakie strap securing the sunglasses over them.

After drying out under a juniper, resting, talking, drinking Gatorade, munching a cashew or two, even I finally realize that the time has come to climb back into the canoe again and prepare to face the Eight Foot Rapids. Hang on! 

Eight Foot Rapids:  These waves are serious, jerky, and erratic enough that I don’t hear any “Whoop!” from up front, but maybe there is one “Wah-HOO!” when Curt’s end of the canoe drops into a deep hole and a seriously towering wave rears above him to dump its mini-tons of water on his head and body and into our canoe, badly unbalancing our act.

Capsized!  (Again.) This time I come up in the cold water clutching one paddle and clinging to the gunnel with the other hand. I see Curt holding onto the gunnel by the bow, with the other paddle, grinning, as the river sweeps us along. I lift my paddle, grinning back, and yell “Success!” The river tries to slap the paddle from my hand. I turn to stuff it safely under the middle seat in the partially submerged, water-logged canoe above me. Turning back, I have lost sight of Curt. He is gone, and I and the canoe are rushing down the wild river without him.

Though I don’t know it, the intense current has ripped the paddle from his hand.  He disengaged the bowline tangled around his other hand and swam for the paddle – rather, has been swept along in the general direction that the water took the paddle. I look for him. Then, yards and yards ahead – maybe a quarter of a mile – I see Curt, white hair shining, bobbing along backwards in the river in his yellow PFD,  Joe Cool sunglasses in place and intact, grinning broadly. I grin back, my sunglasses still on. I hope we’ll meet up again.

With absolutely no control over my direction, I have a yellow webbing strap wrapped around my left hand and am holding the gunnel with the right. I watch ahead for the biggest waves. Seeing one closing in, I take a breath, holding on with both hands, and, eyes closed, turn my face away from its crashing force, pressing my nose and mouth against the top part of my yellow PFD.   

Somehow, the canoe and I catch up with Curt, with his retrieved paddle. I am relieved to see him once again holding on to the canoe. The canoe swings around in the current, going stern first, or backward, switching me rapidly around toward a dark cliff. We are in the middle of a swift, bumpy section. Curt calls out, “Lift your feet!” I do.  I had just bumped my feet and legs against an underwater boulder and momentarily thought of trying to use it as a fulcrum to somehow correct the course of the canoe. I gather my legs up, knees close, to be ready to deflect my getting smashed into the wall. The spinning canoe whips Curt’s side around against the wall; I cannot hear or see him. Only silence, save for the roaring water. I cling to the canoe and strap. Finally I call out, “Curt? Are you there?”  His voice croaks, “Yeah. I’m here.”

We later find out that we have traveled, bobbing and clinging outside the canoe, for over two miles from the spill-in site. We are still in a swiftchannel; it seems to be taking us closer to shore, but the current whips the back of the canoe back around downstream. Curt, pushing valiantly, mutters something, but it is lost on the waves. It looks like we have lost our shot at this potential take-in site. I grab some coyote willow saplings by the passing bank and hold the stern steady while Curt struggles against the current and gets the bow in. 

The canoe is impossibly heavy with water and the gear that has survived the first spill.  Curt pulls and tugs the water-logged red beast up the  incline on the sand. He tells me to go up and rest, but I am sitting comfortably enough in the shallow water, sand, and mud at the edge of the river, and try to help by bracing my feet, holding onto the same little willows, and shoving on the canoe in the direction he is tugging.

 This rest stop is necessary and lovely. Curt empties everything out of the canoe, drains and bails it out. A couple of our dry bags have leaked, and we set about hanging our clothes out on bushes to dry, along with a roll of transmorgified toilet paper.  Remember the bloodstains? Two spills in a rough river and approximately 2.5 miles of being swiftly propelled along as human flotsam in “the Southwest’s sandiest river” later, and, hey, any sign of bloodstains? Gone! They call this “sandwashed”.

Utah Juniper rest stop

 We retreat under a shady Utah juniper with symmetrical, interlaced scaly twigs, frosted-blue single berries, and graceful, hanging, long strands of loose bark. “Does that to keep cool,” says Curt. We kick back, prop our feet up on the juniper limbs, rest and dry out, talking rapids and maps and GPS locator, drinking Gatorade and water, and munching a bit of trail mix.

When it becomes apparent, even to me, that it is time to prepare the canoe for the river again, I find innumerable other things to do on the hill, while Curt is loading our gear into the canoe, testing every strap and cord. I slowly drag a couple of things down to the bank. From here, we can see that the bend around the Drill Hole protrusion is seething with high, brown, current-crossing, sideways, and back-slapping waves.

On the one hand, our adrenalin rush has carried us along well. We are “pumped.” We have both been feeling a high exhilaration engendered by our two “successful” spills. We’ve emerged from our watery sipapu into a new world, cooled off, tested, energized, river rats riding the rapids without a craft, bobbing along, grinning, “body surfing”, free and free-floating, and we’ve lived to breathe and tell about it!

 I look again at the bend around the Drill Hole, at 5,500 cfs, a wild rapid with high waves, in fact, high-fiving waves slapping each other in congratulations as if they’ve already tossed our canoe. I am almost sure we will be dumped here first and have to again go through the salvage and bailing and drying routine, only to be dumped again another half-mile down the river at the Ledge Rapids.

 Since Curt gets in last after pushing off, upon launching here, it seems we are going to have to go out stern-first into the current, and hope that by absolutely correct paddling, and a lot of luck, we can get the bow turned around before we hit the Drill Hole whitewater. I don’t think I can face going in backwards, no pun intended. The equation: Me + whitewater + backwards = disaster.

 I need to try something. I tell Curt that I think I might be able to stabilize the stern by holding onto the coyote willows in the shallow water while he gets in and turns the bow around to face downstream toward the Drill Hole turbulence. It works. We head out in our little red canoe facing the high, leaping waves jolting against each other in a seething mass of high water, trying to keep to the right around the bend where it appears somewhat calmer.

 We enter, mostly on the right side, but we begin to be drawn in by the current and smacked by the big rolling sand waves that have swamped us twice before. Curt is fighting against a headwind.

 There is little I can do to help. I settle, Tai chi balanced, into my seat, calming any impulse to overreact to tilts, making sure my feet are clear in case we are thrown back in. More than once a wave whacks us with a sickening lurch to one side. We know to try to counter with an easy lean away from the dipping side, but to be careful not to lean too far (and who knows what that is?) or the next smacker from the opposite side will roll you back over and out into the river.

 We make it through the Drill Hole, upright! I am thrilled, but tensing for the Ledge, all too soon approaching. The little voice in my head says, “The third time’s the charm.” And it is. Deep water carries us over both Rock and Ledge. We bounce and bob, and take on water, but the canoe does not capsize. We pull in a little way downstream.

 Curt finds what amounts to a little estuary into which to pull the canoe, and we have a lovely last night on the river. We find again soft sand, waxing moon, gentler river sounds, rest, and welcome night.

 Tomorrow? Tuesday promises us a straight stretch of almost-quiet water in to the takeout site at Mexican Hat.

 Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!  In the way Flagstaff’s San Francisco Peaks have been my mountains since I first saw them as a child in 1945, now the San Juan is my river, 2006. At least, if it doesn’t belong to me, I belong to it. I’ve emerged from its sipapu. I’ve breathed its waters. I know it intimately.  

 = = =

Well-deserved rest

Canoeing the San Juan from Curt’s Perspective

 I have always felt that preparing for an unknown adventure was at least half of the fun and preparing for the San Juan felt the same way.  The first task was to understand as much as I could about the river and what we might face.  Not much information was to be found on the web except that the river had mostly Class I rapids with a couple of Class II and one Class III.  From my previous experiences the Class I and II rapids were no big thing.  I am not sure that I have done a Class III before but if the difference between a Class II and III was similar to the difference between a Class I and II then it was do able.  Horror stories from friends in the area did not seem to fit the pattern.  The Class III rapid is called ‘The Ledge’.  None who talked about it has made it through the rapid without turning over.  Stories of seeing smashed up canoes abound.  Except for ‘The Ledge’ the river sounded and was classified as a gentle river.

Preparing for the San Juan was by far the most expensive adventure I have undertaken.  First, we bought a Mad River Canoe called the Adventure 16.  It is a 16-foot single mold plastic canoe.  All evaluations of the canoe attested to its comfort and durability.  The comfort aspect was big for us since it had built in seat backs and drink holders.  The second items we bought were paddles and life jackets or personal floatation devices (PFDs) as they are called by regulations.  Included in the paddle purchase was an extra paddle, which is required on all Bureau of Land Management (BLM) river ways.  We chose a kayak paddle for the extra paddle since it is actually two paddles which fit together and since the shape of the Adventure 16 allowed a kayak paddle to be used either at the bow or stern positions.

I might say at this point that floating the San Juan was to be a test case for our floating the Green River for six days scheduled for the first week in October.  One of the requirements of that trip was that you had to be at a particular location on the river at a certain time to be picked up by a local outfitter.  With this in mind we bought a GPS so we would know exactly where were on the river since my experience has been that while floating a river it is hard to know anything about distance.  Jeff (my son) and I did a 55 mile three day float on the Illinois River and found that in the first day we had covered 2/3s of the mileage.

In addition we purchased:  1) a Campmate Kitchen, which is nothing more than a plastic box which organizes all of your cooking equipment.  This we were going to use both for canoeing and car camping.  2)  Various dry bags beyond the ones I already had.  One was a bag for the food and two personal bags, which we would use to carry those items we needed to get at while we were on the river.  For me that included the GPS, binoculars, camera, and a bag of trail mix.  3) We bought a water purification kit, which both filtered the water down to .2 microns and also had a purification liquid that killed parasites.  4) A throw bag which we knew was required on the Green River.  5) A portable potty, which was BLM, approved. 6) The most effective thing we purchased were pairs of NRS River Shoes.  I never changed into my camp tennis shoes.

For me part of the preparation fun was fitting all the gear in the canoe and being able to secure it.  The Adventure 16 has no tie downs integral to it so I attached 4 eyebolts and bought straps to keep all the gear in place.  This in fact worked great given what we knew at the time.  Subsequently we had to add an ammo box to carry the bags of excrement, which were part of the portable potty, and a fire pan since you are not to leave any wood ash on the river. We felt this was a little tedious since we were going to use a Coleman 2 burner stove.  The ranger explained that they require it because you might have a ‘stove blowout’ and need to start a fire.  I had no idea what a stove blowout was but a regulation is a regulation.  I might add at this point that I now know what a ‘stove blowout’ is.  What happens is the fuel canister gets so hot or under so much pressure that the protective release value opens and the fuel escapes.  That eventually happened to us on the trip.

The Shining. River-rushed 2+ miles to here sans canoe

A couple of days before the trip, we were told by the BLM that they would not recommend that we rely on a water purification kit for water.  The river has so much silt in it that it will clog up a filter in no time.  This meant we had to add another 50 or so pounds of water to our load.  When fully loaded, I had trouble moving the canoe from close to shore to the water.  I would say in total we were carrying about 120 pounds.

Norma’s write up tells about the trip and what eventually happened to us.  I will only add some more technical detail.

The big story is that the river we floated was not the San Juan that we had read about or were told about.  Most people float the river when it is a 300-1000 cfs flow.  What we floated was at 5500 cfs.  At our pullout point, I meet a group of scientists from the Bureau of Natural Resources who were preparing to leave on a study of two types of endangered species fish.  The first thing I learned could be summed up in the statement one of them made, “You will never see the river this high again.”  The second thing I learned was the reason the ‘waves’ were so high.  At the flow level we experienced the sand builds up and literally creates a wave just like the waves in the ocean.  One difference in these waves is they can go in any direction depending on how the sand builds up.  Behind rocks the sand creates waves that come toward you and at the side it creates waves that roll toward the middle of the river.

It was these waves that were cause of our tipping over.  I would never have expected that in a river I would see a wave come over the top of my head.  At first we did not understand why we tipped over.  We were headed in the right direction, had the canoe balanced and were doing the right strokes on the correct sides.  What became apparent is that when the canoe fills with water it becomes very unstable.  We were ok until we hit one of the waves coming in from the side.  These waves would lift the side of the canoe.  All the water would then shift to the low side and over we would go.

It seems ironic that after the first spill we were so out of compliance with the BLM requirements.  We lost our potty, our throw rope, half of our kayak paddle and our fire pan.  We lost our bailer and sponge on the second spill.

As the river ranger was checking us out before we launched to see that we had all of the required items, we were informed that we could not transport human waste in sealed bags.  So before we could leave we had to go to the local outfitter in Bluff Utah and buy an ammo box.  As you might expect the ammo can stayed with us to the bitter end.

In retrospect several things come to the fore:Our preparation was good.  The equipment was good and it all did its job.  The GPS turned out to be a joy since that is how we knew we had gone two miles in about 15 min. totally out of control.

I would not do the San Juan in a canoe again.  We have agreed that we will do it again next year in a catamaran raft or standard raft.  The rafts on the river had no problems whatsoever.  There were also a number of small kayaks on the river which did very well.  From what I could tell this was due to them being handled by very experienced paddlers.  Also included in the boats on the river were two dories.  These also seemed to do very well.

The San Juan is an incredible river.  As you can see by the pictures, it is beautiful.  The archeology and cultural history of the area is as deep and wide as the river.  This leads us to wanting to get a four-person raft so we can share the experience with others much more safely.

I was really anxious after the first spill since Norma took in a lot of water and was making some not good sounds trying to clear it.  This while becoming increasingly aware that Mother Nature in her current form was in control and there was nothing I could do to help the situation.

The experience of the first spill was the knowledge base that let both of us to enjoy, as much as possible when out of control, the second spill and the follow-on two mile ride.  The up side was that Norma was hanging on to the canoe which made me feel better.  My solo part of that trip was by far the most exhilarating experience of my life.  We were not in control and just had to ride it out until we were allowed a modicum of control.  That is the way life is we just don’t always experience the fact so up close and personal.

I have already stated that I would not do the same trip the same way.  What that does not say is that I will not hesitate to once again prepare for an adventure into the unknown and the risks that will always entail.  It is only in that mode that I have found the real joy of being alive.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Last Nite PFD in tree

 

Mexican Hat Rock from the San Juan River

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8 Comments »

  1. Excellent story from a different perspective. Already planning to do this trip in a canoe next month.

    Comment by Bernie — May 24, 2011 @ 4:51 pm | Reply

    • Hey, Bernie. Yeh…. underwater is a different perspective on a canoe trip, que not? Enjoy the river! Enokidancer

      Comment by enokidancer — May 24, 2011 @ 6:43 pm | Reply

  2. Since I will have a 14 & 12 y/o in a double kayak when we do the San Juan, Is portaging some of these rapids a possiblity if desired?

    Comment by Bernie — June 1, 2011 @ 6:56 pm | Reply

    • Are you putting in @ Sand Island, taking out @ Mexican Hat? We have canoed it the once, partly w/out the boat, as you read, and rafted it more than once. Curt has kayaked it w/ a group.

      You CAN portage around Eight-foot, if you choose. He asks: are your kayaks hardshells? They are better here. He was a novice kayaker in a hardshell, and made it fine. Of the six inflatables in his group, only two managed Eight-foot successfully. The others wiped out. But the inflatables navigated the later Ledge OK. He says “Four-foot is pretty straight. Eight-foot can be a problem, due to maneuvering through the rocks. Kayaks can do pretty well here: ‘Go around the bend, KEEP TO THE RIGHT of the big rock.’ On The Ledge, the last rapid on the Upper San Juan, most inflatables made it OK. One experienced kayaker wiped out. He says,” KEEP THOSE HELMETS TIGHT”. Her helmet was loose, and she got a significant cut on the forehead.

      Comment by enokidancer — June 1, 2011 @ 8:32 pm | Reply

      • Bernie … just heard comment on NPR that the run-off is expected to be unusually high this year. Check w/ USGS water flow for SAN JUAN RIVER @ Bluff — to see how it’s running. Or w/ BLM in Montecello, UT. enokidancer

        http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ut/nwis/uv?site_no=09379500

        Discharge, cubic feet per second 1 JUN 2011
        Most recent instantaneous value: 2,790 06-01-2011 20:00 MDT

        Comment by enokidancer — June 2, 2011 @ 2:33 am

  3. Thanks for your reply. Putting in at Mexican hat and taking out at sand hills. So we don’t do eight foot. I see the level is falling off now, close to 1,300 cu/ft. I also hear you don’t want it too low.
    We have one canoe and one inflatable (boys). Inflatable was recommended to us by an outfitter. My experience has been that the inflatable kayak that we have is significantly more stable, It seems to boarder on being like a raft. I actually suspect that they may fare better than my wife and I in the canoe. My impression is that Government rapids (Ledge ?) the last main rapids before take-out can be portaged. We have done (My wife and I ) numerous rivers, We were not even considering helmets. Such conflicting information on this river. I’m still confused?

    Comment by Bernie — June 23, 2011 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

    • Can’t give any advice there. We haven’t been on the Mexican Hat to Clay Hills run. Talk to the River Rangers. Call or e-mail BLM station in Monticello. They are good about responding. If no ranger is in the office @ the time, he/she will get back to you.

      Gov’t Rapids is significant. Best of luck. Norma

      Comment by enokidancer — June 24, 2011 @ 11:27 pm | Reply

    • Bernie – Did you and your family get on the San Juan in June? If so, how did it go? Norma

      Comment by enokidancer — July 23, 2011 @ 5:21 pm | Reply


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