31 May 2011

Colorado River Basin High Water

When they say the high water in the Colorado River basin this year will exceed that of 1983, it makes river runners pay attention. Guides who experienced Colorado River rafting in the mid- 1980's know big water. A number of factors come into play every time high water rolls through the canyons of Utah and Arizona, and it appears the same factors are at play this year. By February there was speculation, but so much still had to play out just right. The wet spring, and lower temperatures have kept the snowpack in the mountains late into the spring. Now we wait and see how fast it will all come down.

The Grand Canyon, with flows regulated by Glen Canyon Dam, will likely not see the high flows like in '83 because the Dam folks know what not to this time. But Mother Nature will do what she wants upstream of that dam. Cataract Canyon is the place for high water Colorado River rafting.

There's no better way to experience the power and magnificence of an untamed river than from the relative safety and security of a large J-Rig, patented by Western River Expeditions and named after its founder Jack Curry. Designed specifically for high water, rafting guides agree there is not anything quite like a J-Rig to flex over and punch through strong rapids.