Arkansas River

Kayak log: The Numbers 2009-07-25

Posted by Andy on July 29, 2009
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Date: 2009-07-25 10am

Run: The Numbers to Buena Vista Park (Arkansas River)

Flow: ~600cfs

Class: IV-

Temperature: Warm at first, then rainy

Buddies: Fino, Chadwick Shoults

Description:  A fun run down from Numbers to Buena Vista.  This was Chadwick’s first time down The Numbers, and he did really well.  At this flow, The Numbers becomes much more “creeky” than at the previous flow of 1800 or 2000.  I thought #1, #5, and #6 were the best rapids.  #1 was way less pushy than at higher flows, but there were a lot more rocks and boily eddies to maneuver around.  #2 was fun and not too bad.  #3 and the supposed #3.5 were still a bit of a mystery as to which was which.  After #2 there is a decent-sized drop, which we thought might be #3, followed by a longer, wavy drop which we thought might be #3.5.  I don’t really know if there is a #3.5, maybe the longer one was actually just #3.  I guess I’ll have to go with a guide sometime and figure that out.  #4 was good, I went down the chute on the right side, just to the left of where the irrigation channel starts on river-right.  Fino and Chadwick went down the left side, which was a bit bumpier, but didn’t look too bad.  #5 was good, it’s much easier at this flow.  After the initial drop-in, you just have to make you way around a few rocks and small holes and it’s over.  #6 was a surprise, I had forgotten about this one – it might have actually been the best rapid of the day.  This is where the “photogs” hang out for the commercial trips.  The lead in is a little tricky with some holes and rocks, and then there’s a sizable hole near the bottom.  Cheez had a little trouble in the hole area, but made it out fine.  The rest of the run was fun.  After the railroad bridge, I guess we went through #7, but I’m not sure which one it was.  The rest of Fractions was fun, but then the river kind of died.  Frog Rock seemed much different at this flow.  You can clearly see the nasty pin spot on the right, but the left side was cake.  House Rock was the last rapid of the day.  I went down the left side and slipped between two pointy rocks.  Fino and Cheez went down the right.  Chadwick kind of slammed into the wall and had to roll.  He then proceeded to give the finger to House Rock, his life-long nemesis.  The rest of the run got a bit painful, a lot of flat water and those annoying waves that splash you just enough to be annoying.

Overall, it was a great run, but I think at this flow, it’s best to just get out at Railroad Bridge and skip Fractions/Frog Rock.  The river really peters out, and it becomes a bit too long for one sitting.  However, low flow is a great time to take a first-timer down the numbers, so they can get a good feel for what it might look like when the flows come up.

Carnage:  I made it completely clean, which was nice.  Chadwick had a few rolls, but not bad at all for a first time!

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Kayak log: The Numbers 2009-05-16

Posted by Andy on May 16, 2009
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Date:  2009-05-16 5:00pm

Run:  Arkansas River – The Numbers (Scott’s Bridge to Railroad Bridge)

Flow:  ~1820 cfs

Class:  IV (#5 felt like IV+… or maybe it’s just me)

Temperature:  65 deg (partly cloudy)

Buddies:  Fino

Description:  Chadwick, Ashley, and Braxton headed home after Brown’s Canyon (and K’s Dairy Delight…), but Fino and I decided to run the Numbers.  This was my second time down the numbers.  Last year, I did it at the very end of the season at about 600 cfs, so it was a much different experience this time.  The water was bigger and faster, and the holes were a lot bigger and harder to avoid.  #1 and #5 were probably the hardest.

Note to self:

#1 – Comes up pretty quick, the river bends to the right, and there are rock formations on both sides.  I started right of center, and tried to make a hard move to the left right away, but didn’t quite make it.  I got flipped going through the first big hole and almost made it out, but got pulled back in.  I tried to surf out of it, but didn’t have quite enough energy, so I ended up rolling again.  I made it through the rest okay.  Not sure where the best line is.

#2 – Comes up shortly after #1.  The river bends to the left, and there is a long cascading set of waves and holes.  Not too bad, but required some maneuvering to avoid holes.

#3 – Don’t really remember what this one was like…  maybe next time.

#3.5 or #4? – I can’t remember which one is #4.  There is kind of a cascading section right after #3.  This one has an easy line right of center.  There are two big holes to avoid in the center, but they are easy to get around.  Probably could have gone down the left side too.

#3.5 or #4?  The one after #3.5 has the irrigation ditch (?) that goes off on river right.  Last year, I remember doing a little slide down the right side, but I couldn’t see the slide at this flow.  I think we started on the right side, and worked our way to the left.  Some rocks and holes to avoid, but nothing too bad.

#5 – Definitely the hardest rapid.  #5 comes up near the bridge that crosses over the river at the CR 371 exit.  The drop in is pretty steep, and there’s a rock right in the middle that you have to avoid.  I don’t think I picked a very good line, I ended up going down the initial drop at a bad angle and tried to get into the eddy at the right side below the drop, but didn’t make it.  I ended up flipping, and sort of did the rest of the rapid upside down, with a few feeble roll attempts.  There’s a big pour-over below the initial drop, which I think I did upside down on the far right.  Luckily I made it through and rolled up to get through the rest of it.  I think I might have had 3 or 4 semi-successful (or unsuccessful) roll attempts…  definitely not a clean run.  Pretty much a reality check for class IV.  I think the best line would be to go right at the initial drop, then work left right away, then back right after the pour over.

#6, #7, etc. – Not sure which one was #6 or #7, but there were a few significant cascading drops after #5.  I was pretty spent after #5, so I did my best to avoid most of the holes, and find the easy lines.  Nothing too serious after #5, but my boat was filling up with water, so I had to stop to empty it out.

Carnage:  Pretty ugly line through #1, and ran #5 pretty much upside down.  Might be best to wait for the flows to go down a little, or practice some more class IV before running #5 at this flow again 🙂  No swims though!

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Kayak log: Brown’s Canyon 2009-05-16

Posted by Andy on May 16, 2009
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Date:  2009-05-16 11:00am

Run:  Arkansas River – Brown’s Canyon (Ruby Mountain to Hecla Junction)

Flow:  ~1800 cfs

Class:  III

Temperature:  50-60 deg (partly cloudy)

Buddies:  Chadwick Shoults, Fino

Description:  When we got up, it was about 40deg and cloudy, so we decided to go into town to eat and see if it would warm up.  We ate at Evergreen Cafe, which was pretty good.  Chadwick and Ashley brought 8 month old Braxton along, which was pretty cool.  He did pretty well the whole time, but I think he got a little worked up during the night when it was windy and kind of cold, but that’s pretty reasonable.  I don’t think Ashley got a whole lot of sleep, but besides that, it was a decent first camping trip for Braxton.  We finally got in the river at around 11:00 right by our campsite (#15) at Ruby Mountain…  how convenient.  The water was cold, but the air temp wasn’t too bad.  The run was good overall.  The wave at canyon doors was decent, but hard to get into.  Zoom Flume was the best rapid as usual.  There was kind of a bouncy line to the right, and a slack-water line to the left, but also a large hole on the left at the bottom.  I think we all took the right line through the waves and made it through clean.  The rest of the run was good – boily eddy lines all over, and some fun drops and wave trains.

Carnage:  Fino had a wardrobe malfunction (skirt blowout) and ended up having to swim out of his bow-stalled boat, but that doesn’t really count as a swim.  No other carnage.

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Kayak log: Frog Rock 2009-05-15

Posted by Andy on May 16, 2009
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Date:  2009-05-15 5:30pm

Run:  Arkansas River – Frog Rock (highway put-in to BV play park)

Flow:  ~1700 cfs

Class:  III

Temperature:  maybe 60-70 deg (decently warm)

Buddies:  Chadwick Shoults, Fino

Description:  We started our trip down to Buena Vista around 1:30 on Friday afternoon.  We got to Ruby Mountain campground around 4:30, and decided to do a quick run from the highway put-in to the BV play park (Fractions/Frog Rock w/out Fractions…).  The run was pretty easy, everyone got down pretty clean.  We took the usual line down Frog Rock rapid:  just right of the hole on river left.  The entrapment spot was sort of underwater on river right.  At house rock, we got out to scout, and it didn’t look nearly as bad as it did last year at 3000 cfs.  Chadwick took the right line and made it down clean.  Fino and I took the left side.  There is a large hole just to the left of house rock that you can avoid to the far left.  Fino made it clean, but I caught the edge of the hole and got flipped, but rolled up easily in the washout.

Carnage:  Nothing serious besides a few rolls

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