I know this is is a bit belated, but WOW what a trip! It was one of those weekends when you never knew what to expect, and there was a surprise around every corner. Water levels went from low to screaming high, we stumbled upon a paddling festival with tons of big names, ran into lots of friends from the midwest, and had tons of crazy moments on the water.
The group that went out was Caleb, Jade, Nora, and myself. Only Nora had ever paddled the Arkansas before, and that was at a much lower level. We had planned on paddling on our own, scouting what we needed to, but mostly just running-and-gunning the endless rapids. We also had some help from a couple former midwesterners who now live in CO with local beta that was priceless. To our surprise, however, we quickly found ourselves surrounded by even more friends including Jeremiah, Tina, Missy, Tommy G, and more.
We had a got a huge surprise from Mother Nature on our way out, as the spring thaw finally hit the Rockies. Apparently they had been getting snow until right before we came out, then that week the temps really climbed. The day we arrived the high was in the 90's and the low in the 70's, and that was at 8,000' (Buena Vista)! The temps stayed up and the mountains let loose. The Arkansas level was about 1100cfs when we left Minnesota. It was 2800 when we arrived in CO, and 3400 by Sunday.
The huge levels threw our plans pretty much out the Window. We traded the numbers and a possible Royal Gorge run in for the Fractions and Brown's Canyon. At those levels, we wound up with nearly endless wave trains (some as high as 10') with a few boulders and holes to dodge for good measure. It gave us plenty of fun without having to be too cautious or spend much time scouting.
The highlight was Brown's Canyon with Jeremiah acting as our guide. Big water, huge boat chase, and tons of fun. It's all detailed in an earlier post, so you can check out the details there.
We did the Fractions twice - once the first day and once on Monday. The Monday run was our quick Goodbye run before beginning the long drive. We did over 7 miles in the high flows (including one thorough shore scout) in just over an hour. It was a blast.
Here's a couple videos to check out: Mine is the first one and it's about 7 minutes long. Unfortunately Movie Maker and I had another battle over sound editing and I lost, so the soundtrack is a bit screwed up. The next two are parts 1 and 2 of Caleb's video. Each is about 10 minutes long, but they're much better edited than mine. Check 'em out!
Caleb's (Part 1)
Caleb's (Part 2)