Sunday, May 19, 2013

Escalante Creek.

I'm an uber-nerd when it comes to learning esoterica. 

Case in point: the boating term "ELF" for extremely low flow. 

I've had my eye on Escalante Creek for the past ~3 months, hoping for boatable flows as the snowmelt began. Because it is ungauged you have to make some educated guesses based on differences between peak flows on two other gauges as well as several other ungauged tributaries. 

It is an inexact science, so eventually you have to stop guesstrapolating and head out to have a look. 

Last week Greg and I did just that.

What we found was probably not considered 'boatable flows' by most kayakers that'd be considering this run. But it *was* a neat little slice of low volume creeking in an empty (and gorgeous) canyon.  What we did was ELF Escalante.

Best we can tell, we put in just below the upper IVish (Rib Ripper et al) drops and took out just above the (currently unrunnable) slides that lead into 57 Chevy. 

A lack of winter moisture on the Uncompahgre Plateau combined with the, um, odd way that our spring has warmed means that Escalante never really "ran" this year. Near as I can tell, we hit it maybe a day past peak and it has dropped significantly since. Which is probably for the better--we've got a lotta learning to do and experience to acquire before we're ready (if ever?) for this entire run at any reasonable flow. 

Biggest surprise? Guidebooks and internetsperts all warned that it'd be really, really cold water. We wore the bare minimum under our drysuits and roasted, probably because there wasn't any snowmelt left in the creek. 

Great day out.