April 18, 2004

Knowing what you’ve got before it’s gone.

We have seven and a half weeks left before we leave this beautiful place we have called home for so long. I am trying to soak it all in one last time.

Last week I was invited on a Piedra River trip. Now this river is in a notoriously wet environment and for those of you not up on your Spanish piedra = rock, as in at low water, say in early season, say in April, there will be many MANY rocks. So confronted with the opportunity to raft a low water, rocky river where snow is a very real possibility, a lesser woman might have declined. But since I am about to live in a camper for a year- I decided that a potentially bitterly cold and frustrating day was exactly the kind of primer I needed. And who knows if I will ever get to float this amazingly beautiful stretch of white water again.

The Piedra River flows through two impressive boxes, or canyons. In all there are five class IV rapids, and a class V+, which generally you line, boats through. This means that you tie ropes to the boat and guide it, passenger less through the rapids from the shore. This rapid is called Eye of The Needle or Mudslide depending on who taught you the rapid’s names. There are primitive, natural hot springs near the end of the trip, and they are a great way to warm up and reflect on the day’s adventures. Some local outfitters offer trips on the Piedra and if you are a looking for an exciting, beautiful and remote Colorado rafting trip, I recommend this river. Maybe not in mid-April, but I recommend it.

The river flow was approx. 800cfs at the gauging station on this trip.



Driving to the put-in


The entrance to the Upper Box.


Can you see the water falling into the river?


Lining the boats through Eye of the Needle.


Our heroine :)


Last light before the take-out.

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Robert Mooney said...

The pictures you call entrance to the upper box appears to really be some five or so miles up river from Sand Creek near the entrance to the upper box, also called Second Box Canyon. These pictures are of a very scenic part of the river about a mile from the Piedra River trailhead on Piedra Road.