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Index for Colorado

Animas

Pine Creek Rapids of the Arkansas

Tenmile Creek

Slaughterhouse of the Roaring Fork

A very short section of the Crystal

Fish Creek

Etc.

 

Animas

Craig Cardella, Animas at ~5000 cfs

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Pine Creek Rapids of the Arkansas

Estimated flow ~5000 cfs

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Tenmile Creek, June 23rd, 2005 and the rest of CO 2005 David Miller and I put in below a culvert on hwy 91 and paddled about 3 miles to Copper Mountain. My watch claimed we dropped about 600 feet (putin elevation was 10180 +/- 100 ft). The creek was rather easy (class III+) but entertaining.

David

David hogging the camera.

Me modeling my new helmet.

We then headed over to Aspen to paddle the Slaughterhouse section of the Roaring Fork @ ~ 1300 cfs. We were fortunate to have local Aspen artist Lee Shapiro lead us down. We then headed over to the Crystal River gorge to camp. An incredibly beautiful gorge (see pics below) was occupied by a very full river. The Crystal was running at ~ 2000 cfs and did not look very friendly. We headed up to check out a section just above the class V-VI gorge and it did not look so friendly either. The next morning we awoke to find that the river had dropped about 30%. We scouted out a 1.3 mile section that we thought was doable and put on. 10 minutes after putting on we careened at neck-break speed into the last eddies before the river rounded a bend and dropped into a river-wide pourover (see pics below). So basically two days of driving and scouting for 10 minutes of high speed paddling, that is what it is all about!

David at Slaughterhouse Falls on the Roaring Fork.

Crystal River the night before.

Crystal River Gorge

David heads down the Crystal.

Looking down at one of the bigger rapids, we called it "Two Rocks".

Looking down at the last section we paddled.

The waterfall at the mill near the town of Crystal.

 

David and I then drove up to Steamboat Springs to meet up with Boulder boater Gary Elledge. We had heard that Fish Creek was a "refreshing frolic down a tumbling mountain stream" or something to that effect. David, being the wiser one, let himself off at the putin for the lower section. The Gauge read at 2.4-2.5 feet, a nice medium level. Gary and I went up to put in below Fish Creek Falls in a park infested with very curious onlookers. We spent at least 20 minutes lecturing on the concepts of kayaking, explaining that yes we are good enough to kayak this (no one believed us). We had children sitting in our boats and giving us high fives. We had two fashionably dressed ladies (country club style) watch us don our gear, asking the purpose of each single piece and comparing/contrasting Gary's and my apparel. I was even chastised by the ladies for not having a whistle and some other safety gear that Gary did have. They ooohed with approval though when I donned my shiny new FNA extreme helmet and Shred Ready elbow pads. Well we finally hiked down to put on and I started to realize why the tourists were concerned for our safety. There were few if none eddies that looked catchable as the creek roared off the falls, under the bridge and round the corner.

Fish Creek Falls

Looking down at the put in, where are the eddies?

 

We knew that the first "class V" was just around the bend and if you could not catch an eddy, just run the right side and hang on. We did manage to catch an eddy, good thing because scouting revealed that the line was actually left, the right was a hydraulic infested jaunt in and over a series of pin rocks. We ran the V and then hung on for the next 0.6 mile or so in what I would describe as a continuous class IV+ to V rapid with tiny eddies. One time I ran the West Prong in the Smokies at a ridiculously high level (raging brown water, no eddies), Upper Fish Creek was very similar. The only pictures I got were of the falls and the put in rapid that you slide into (see above). My hands were shaking too badly to take any other photos;) One word of caution, there is a horizon line towards the bottom of the upper, it is a nasty dam that should be portaged on the right followed by a long class IV+ rapid. There is a tiny eddy at the lip of the dam that if missed could have bad consequences. Soon thereafter we met up with David and continued into the lower which still had much of the character of the Upper but not quite as intense and sustained. Fish Creek is a classic example of a run that is only rated class IV-V in the Banks and Eckardt book but for an eastern boater can open ones eyes real quick. As Gary described it "it was a real kick in the pants". Then it was off to Wyoming, see the Wyoming page for the Encampment.

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Etc.

Clear Creek of the Arkansas

Clear Creek of the Arkansas

Adrenaline Falls, Lime Creek, Craig entering the slot as my camera broke.

N. St. Vrain, June, 1998

N. St. Vrain

N. St. Vrain

N. St. Vrain

Barret, Upper S. Boulder Creek

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2001 Alex Harvey