Verde river kayaking(off topic)

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pfredricks
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Verde river kayaking(off topic)

Post by pfredricks » Nov 22 2003 11:54 am

I was just wondering if one could kayak down the verde river pretty much unimpeded and explore some of the more remote areas.

IF so, what would be a good spot to put in and take out?

That would be pretty fun, I think.
Thanks for your thoughts
-Pete
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Daryl
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Post by Daryl » Nov 22 2003 5:19 pm

Most of the verde is free for kayaking, you'll only need a permit for the areas in the indian reservations.
Be careful! there are class 3 rapids and strainers on the Verde.
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montezumawell
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verde

Post by montezumawell » Nov 22 2003 7:37 pm

Portions of The Verde River were designated by Congress as Wild & Scenic in August 1984. From Beasley Flats to Childs is "Scenic." From a point near Childs to Red Creek above Sheep Bridge is "Wild." It qualified as "Wild" all the way to Sheep Bridge but SRP wanted that portion excluded in case they enlarged Horseshoe Reservoir and inundated that portion.

The USFS has improved and maintains a very nice put in at Beasley Flats.
The Childs "Campground" is the take out for trips from Beasley and the put in for those heading to either Sheep Bridge or the Horseshoe Dam take out.

The stretch from Beasley to Childs can be quite "technical." It has eaten lots of boats and caused a fair number of injuries.

The "Wild" stretch is more benigh but is easily capable of causing its own share of problems. Many naive boaters who venture into that stretch somehow fail to realize they are deep in the heart of the wilderness, literally and figuratively. If something goes wrong, help is a LOOOONG way off.

I've done portions of the Wild and Scenic river well more than 100 times in all kinds of weather at all times of year and all sorts of water levels.
The highest I kayaked it was 45,000 cfs in March 1982 and the lowest was a trip at 45 cfs during the hot pre-monsoon "snake season." We once kayaked the entire stretch from Beasley to the dam in a single day.

It is a fine river and draws people from across America when sufficient flows occur. The "locals" are more attuned to the VERY low water that is sooo common and are therefore more likely to utilize it when it is deemed too low by out-of-state boaters.

Jim Slingluff, Tucson, wrote a real nice guide back in the late 80's. Another fellow in Prescott did a bang up job documenting the entire river from its headwaters near Paulden all the way to its confluence with the Salt. The Verde Ranger District has a lot of information and there should be plenty on the net as well.

The USFS got sued by some river folk over their failure to implement a mgmt plan, as dictated by law in 1984. The law said they would have to have a plan by 1985. They still don't. Anyway, they settled on the lawsuit and are making a plan now. Expect it to have some sort of a permit system.

The biggest bear to running those portions of the Verde is the vehicle shuttle. Also, if you leave a vehicle unattended at Childs for very long, your odds of suffering some sort of damage increase with each day.

The vegetation below CHilds holds its fall color long past when most people think. It's roughly similar to the vegetation along I-17 near the New River School downstream from the Table Mesa Exit.

If I can help refer you to a car shuttle, send a PM.

The Verde can become real addictive. It's a sweet, sweet river!

j

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Abe
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Re: verde

Post by Abe » Nov 23 2003 8:26 am

montezumawell wrote:The biggest bear to running those portions of the Verde is the vehicle shuttle. Also, if you leave a vehicle unattended at Childs for very long, your odds of suffering some sort of damage increase with each day.
I had a friend who went down the Verde earlier this year. Embarked from Childs and meandered down to Sheep Bridge. He and his friends were dropped off and picked up.

Logistic's is a problem and when I read the above it would be a concern for me leaving my vehicle at Childs. I have had uncomfortable feelings when there and frankly I cannot explain why.

Although, I have no desire to float down the Verde as yet, I do have a desire to hike the Verde River Trail, Trail # 11. It is about 21 miles in length if I recall. The south trailhead is at Sheeps Bridge and follows the Verde pretty much north about 3/4 of the way and then veers to the northeast towards Strawberry. So far we (I) are in the review stage, then hopefully soon a reconnoiter at both ends for the trailheads. My biggest concern is leaving vehicle or a shuttle. Hiked one way or round trip.

Nonetheless, from all reports I have heard, it is a pleasant adventure floating down.

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Post by chihiggs » Nov 23 2003 10:10 am

I got interested in playing on this portion of the river for and extended (3-4 days) canoeing and tossing in some camping and hiking as well. My question: Some technical areas are mentioned earlier and I only have a wooden canoe; can these areas be portaged or are they in a steep canyon area that requires a decent distance for portage?

Before answering know this, while I have canoed a few rivers in Michigan and some in the Great Lakes, I do not consider my skilled in rough waters paddling a loaded canoe.

Thanks for any help!!
Higgs

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Re: verde

Post by montezumawell » Nov 23 2003 7:41 pm

Abe wrote:
Logistic's is a problem and when I read the above it would be a concern for me leaving my vehicle at Childs. I have had uncomfortable feelings when there and frankly I cannot explain why.
Well, your best bet is NOT to leave a vehicle at Childs. Why tempt fate?
Many, many years ago, river runners collectively agreed that PAYING for a shuttle was a far better alternative than attempting to "run it yourself" just to save a few bucks. What's the money? Who cares? AFterall, how often are you going to be doing this particlar stretch, either by foot or by boat? SO, pay the piper and kick back and have a Great trip!

OK--sit down, buckle up--this is gonna be a shock. A "Childs-to-Sheep Bridge" shuttle can easily cost you as much as $150 AND UP!

Why? Well, for starters. you have to meet someone in Camp Verde. They then have to accompany you on your drive to Childs. This is NOT a quick and easy drive. It takes time and the road is generally rough.
OK. Then they have to "hang out" while you get ready to go. Then they have to drive back and park your vehicle in a safe place where THEIR liability insurance covers YOUR vehicle. Such insurance is NOT cheap.
They also have to deal with the USFS is having the correct permit(s) in order to be legally offfering such a service in the first place. Think "million dollar liability insurance." Think bureaucracy. Think hassle.

OK. Then, prior to the appointed time, they have to leave their comfy home and drive down teh crazoid highway known as I-17 either to the Bloody Basin exit or ALL the way to the Carefree exit. If they get off at the Bumble Bee exit, then they have to drive one of the worst roads in North Central Arizona. They hve to hope and PRAY that your vehicle is well maintained and that your spare tire is holding air like you said it was and that your lug wrench and jack actually work. They have to spend what seems like an eternity driving down to Sheep Bridge.

Now, if you are from Phoenix, what happens when they pick you up?
Uh, are you going to drive them ALL the way to Camp Verde? Uh, I don't think so. SOOOO, that means they have to have someone drive at leas part way WITH them so that you can go on your merry way.

We;re talking money and time here and $150 is a HUGE bargain when you stop and think about it. Why? Because most boaters/hikers want someone to pick them up at Horseshoe. That means the shuttle driver has to drive from CHilds back through Camp Verde ALL THE WAYY to the Carefree exit, through Cave Creek and then all the way over to Horseshoe. And then what? Once again, unless you are heading North again, the driver has to have a "chase vehicle." This is HUGELY expensive. Frankly, for years, I have had an "issue" with shuttle people charing ONLY $150 for all of this hassle. My, myself and I think it oughta be $200 or higher. But that's a personal opinion not supported by "supply and demand."

Anyway, all things considered, $150 is a genuine bargain.

AFterall, what's your vehicle insurance deductible? You could easily burn that much money replacing your windows and/or other stuff that were trashed at Childs in your blissful absence.

J&S

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Post by montezumawell » Nov 23 2003 7:47 pm

chihiggs wrote:I only have a wooden canoe
Honest, we're trying to be helpful, not critical:

The Verde eats wooden canoes. They don't work on this river. Period.
Loaded, unloaded. Anywhere. If you doubt it, you do so at your own risk and loss. Best bet, boat it in a royalex or ABS "beater" and assess it for yourself. If you feel it doable in a wood boat, then go for it. To bring your cherished wood canoe up onto The Verde for the first time is a recipe for a real bummer. Sorry. That's just the way it is.

J&S

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Post by pfredricks » Nov 24 2003 7:50 am

This trip would be fun in a canoe too.
I would participate in a shuttle if you wanted to put something together for spring.
I think it depends , but, the river moves at something like 10-12 mi/hr-If anyone wants to get together and do a group float-let me know

I have a car, commonly called a POS that makes a fine shuttle
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Post by montezumawell » Nov 24 2003 8:02 am

pfredricks wrote:I think it depends , but, the river moves at something like 10-12 mi/hr...
The Verde never flows as fast as 10-12 mph except with it is full with excess runoff, a state some people call a "flood." Even when it is running bank full with normal spring runoff, you'd be extremely lucky to get a net speed of 5-6 mph. Generally, we figure spring speeds average 4 mph.
You have to realize The Verde is generally considered a "pool-riffle" or "pool-drop" stream. Calm or slow moving pools of water separate areas where the water flows faster over rock bars and/or bedrock ledges. During the low flow periods that cover most of any given year, there is often either no current speed or a "negative" current speed.
What's a "negative" current speed? Well, let's say you have a calm pool of water at least a quarter mile or more in length. And let's say you have an upstream 15-20 mph wind. Let's say you are in a canoe. The canoe acts somewhat like a sail and is pushed upstream by the wind--hence a "negative" current. In the spring and summer, the Phoenix valley heats up faster than the Verde Valley and creates a prevailing upstream wind as the warmer air currents are drawn to the higher, cooler elevation. In other words, odds are you will always be paddling into a headwind and the long pools will seem to be never ending. I have seen many instances in low water conditions where one can traval faster by "hiking" their boat by the bowline rather than futilely trying to paddle into a ferocious headwind. No kidding. One of the most common comments we have heard from people who are doing the Verde, especially the Verde below CHilds, for the first time, is that they grossly underestimated the time it would take to travel that stretch. It looks SOOOO benigh on the maps.
Double your estimated travel time during low water and you will be about right. Plus, you will actually have time to go hiking in the many enticing areas alongside the river.

j

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Post by Daryl » Nov 24 2003 8:18 am

I've seen outfitters that will do sections with you, including shuttleing, for $40/head. If you can get a big group they'll be more flexable on the price.
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lower vs. upper

Post by montezumawell » Nov 24 2003 3:16 pm

Daryl wrote:I've seen outfitters that will do sections with you, including shuttleing, for $40/head. If you can get a big group they'll be more flexable on the price.
I think you are talking about portions of the lower-lower Verde below Bartlett Dam, probably between Bartlett and Needle Rock. In the 24+ years I have boated the Verde and worked for many years as a commerical guide, I have not known any commerical outfitter up here to charge forty bucks a head as a regular, advertised, published rate. I've known some of them that charged that rate or lower kinda "under the table," or just to fill a few extra spaces on a raft at the last minute--that's for sure. You'd go broke in a nano-heartbeat at $40 a head here.

Your best bet for learning who is currently licensed and official permitted to offer commerical trips on the Verde River Wild and Scenic is to call the Prescott National Forest--either the Supe's office in Prescott or the Verde Ranger District in Camp Verde. Note that ALL licensed outfitters are required to have a "plan of operation" and officially-approved rates.
This information is public upon request. Call the USFS for details.

Believe me, if someone is offering black market or bootleg trips for a "fee" on the Verde, they will get in more trouble than they can possibly imagine! Smokie takes "illegal outfitting" on the Verde real, real serious.

j

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Post by Daryl » Nov 24 2003 5:17 pm

It may be the lower-lower verde. I'm not sure, I never asked him about put in and take out spots. I'm sure he's on the up and up though, he said he couldn't start until he gets all his permits and when I last talked to him a few months ago he didn't have them yet.
I checked his website and he's not advertising verde river trips yet, so I don't know where he is with it.
His $40/head quote was after I told him I'd have about 20 heads with me, most with their own boats.
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Post by montezumawell » Nov 24 2003 6:12 pm

well, competition, technology, innovation and "smarts" being what they are, anything is possible. If that's a genuine "legal" price on the Upper Verde, PLEASE let us know as we could help him sell a some seats.

Before we retired, we got some pretty amazing gov't grants to GIVE AWAY river trips on The Verde. All in all, we carried over 1,000 people down the Verde with that gov't money. It was amazing! (Ample documentation available for doubters.)

SO, from the standpoint of having once worked as a commercial guide for years and years and from the standpoint of using gov't money to GIVE AWAY trips, I have a rather unique perspective. I can tell you from personal experience that $40pp on the Upper Verde would be a MIRACLE price whether they had their own equipment or not. Even WITH free gov't money, we figured our price (just "out of pocket" and NOT including ANY overhead whatsoever was $33 pp.) It's worth noting we didn't have to pay liability insurance as we were covered by the Arizona State RIsk Management Pool. (or whatever they call it these days).

Simply can't imagine how one could charge $40 and survive.

However, that said, young, aggressive, SMART people always have a "way" with things and maybe they have discovered a new "way!"

We sure hope so and we'd sure like to know!

j

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Verde Closure

Post by AZBrad123 » Nov 25 2003 8:48 am

Just an FYI, As of December 1st, a 2 mile stretch of the Verde will be closed to "hunting, target shooting, fishing, hiking or off-road vehicle use" until June 30th. It was in today’s paper and the closure is to facilitate a "maternity ward for the bald eagle". Not sure where you are planning kayaking, but the closure is “a two-mile stretch of the river north of Clarkdale".

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Post by Daryl » Nov 25 2003 11:20 am

I beleive they close that stretch every year, but you are still allowed on the water. You just can't get out of your boat for those 2 miles. I may be wrong though.
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eagles

Post by montezumawell » Nov 25 2003 6:29 pm

Daryl wrote:I beleive they close that stretch every year, but you are still allowed on the water. You just can't get out of your boat for those 2 miles. I may be wrong though.
Any day you see an eagle is a danged good day. Bottom line.

OK, here's the deal: there are at least 3 major eagle nesting areas on The Verde. One is on the lower portion of the "upper-upper Verde" upstream from Clarkdale near the confluence of Sycamore Creek and The Verde.
The friendly folks on the Verde Canyon Railroad will be more than happy ot point it out to you on one of their highly popular "eagle-watching" trips.

The next is a few miles below Beasley Flats in the "Scenic" section of the Wild and Scenic Verde River. It lies in an area known as "The Ladders."
The eagles there has the longest pedigree of Verde eagles. They have been "at it" for roughly25 years. They have two next sites and they generally alternate between the two from year-to-year.

The third is down below Childs. When you are down in that area, you are either:

a) Obviously very prepared, or
b) clueless

There doesn't seem to be much "middle ground" for those who travel this section of The Verde.

Anyway, if you fall into Category A, you will immediately recognize and know the cliff face pon which the Lower Verde eagles nest. It's real easy to spot and the parent eagles themselves make it pretty obvious since one of them will soar and circle over you well before you get there.

OK, here is how the gov't deal with you, the river runner. They compromise. Some of the "hard core" bio-types wish all river runner would be banned during mating and nesting season. Cooler heads prevailed. (and, luckily, CONTINUE to prevail.)

Soooo....certain sections of The Verde are "officially closed." Thatmeans that NO ONE can enter or approach those areas on foot like as in a hiker mode. DOn't try it. You will get in HUGE amounts of trouble and actually probably wind up spending time in a REAL jail with REAL bars.

On the other hand, river runner have been "allowed" to pass through these "Closed" areas. They can do so only if they do not stop within the "posted closures." Believe me, the USFS has REALLY detailed closure maps stapled/glued/stuck to various posts on the boundaries of this "closures." They publish them in local newspaper, they have copies at the Ranger Stations. It's a REAL BIG DEAL!

But, river runners can enter and pass through the closures. Basically, all they have to do it "behave themselves" and NOT paddle ashore and get out of their boats and walk around like a bunch of dorks. Eagles hate that.

Proven fact--human dorks walking below an eagle's next is almost certain cause for them to abort their nest and split. No kidding. Chicks die.

Sooo...it always comes back to "being informed." If you want the BEST and LATEST most current information, free of rumor, then simply pick p ANY telephone and call the United Stated Forest Service at ANY of the following locations:

Cave Creek Ranger Station
Payson Ranger Station
Verde Ranger Station
Sedona Ranger Station

Of course, it never hurts to contact any of the following Supervisor's Offices in the:

Tonto, Coconino, Prescott National Forests.

Trust us, a simply phone call goes a LONG way to dispell rumor(s).

J&S

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the Verde

Post by pfredricks » Nov 26 2003 8:18 am

J&S-
Thank you very much for all of your info on this subject. It was actually your comment about "wild and scenic" that got me interested in this area.
I guess I am working on putting together a little group to run this area in March, as the flow rates seem to be pretty good there.
Really, i would like to do two days with one overnight.
Based on your best guess about river rates/ distance/ time of year
what would be a fantastic secluded stretch? would a canoe suffice or would a "duckie" be needed?
Any other considerations?
-Pete
Oh -I have already had a few folks PM me about going-without even actually planning this trip, if you are SERIOUSLY interested in this, it should be great. Please let me know, and please be ready to shell out a little $ to reserve equiptment or have your own. Looks like this is coming together-
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Post by mttgilbert » Nov 26 2003 12:12 pm

Hey pete, I would be interested in doing this with you guys, and I'm more than willing to pay my own way. I don't know anything about rivers though, I have had limited canoe/kayak experience and went whitewater rafting once in california, but thats about it. Everytime I manage to get out on the water under my own power, It just makes me want to do it more and more.
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Post by Daryl » Nov 26 2003 1:47 pm

I'm interested too, but I'd prefer if Matt paid my way. I have a white water kayak that I just started learning to use at the end of the summer. It's fun to play in, but is a pain in the @$$ to paddle around in flat and slow moving water and there is almost zero storage space for an overnight trip. I sometimes wish I'd of also kept the Swifty I had.
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Post by speleogenesis » Dec 10 2003 2:44 pm

This is just a little note to say that I have never had to pay $150.00 or anywhere near that to have a shuttle. I boat this river at least 3 times a year. The stretch from Beasley to Childs generally runs about $45.00 per vehicle. From Childs to the Sheep Bridge I think we pay about $65.00. We've been using the same people...sometimes with substitutes for about 7 years now. There are several people who live in Camp Verde who provide these services for minimal fees. They really are underpaid though, if you ask me...but no complaints here. I have done both of these stretches in a canoe (tandem) , but, I must say that if you are a novice, I wouldn't recommend it. I've seen many a smashed canoe along this entire river. My boat of choice is an Aire Lynx II. I think we ran the stretch from Beasley to Childs in 35 cfs on more than one occasion. There is a little butt-dragging, and lots of strainers, but in my opinion, it's well worth it...even in low water.

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