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Bill Williams River & Lake Havasu Kayak Camp, AZ
mini location map2019-03-05
11 by photographer avatarazbackpackr
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Bill Williams River & Lake Havasu Kayak Camp, AZ 
Bill Williams River & Lake Havasu Kayak Camp, AZ
 
Kayak avatar Mar 05 2019
azbackpackr
Kayak13.06 Miles
Kayak13.06 Miles1 Day   4 Hrs   46 Mns   
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This paddling (see GPS route) was over a couple of days. I went on a very relaxed two-night campout on the lake with a friend, who turned out to not be feeling very well, and wasn't up to doing much kayaking at all, just wanted to sit in camp and read a book. So, after setting up the camp in one of the "boat-in only" BLM campsites on the lakeshore, ($10 a night, paid in an iron ranger) I paddled up to Bill Williams River by myself on the first day, the 5th. On the second day I paddled the opposite direction with the idea of inspecting all the other BLM boat-in campsites nearby, to see which ones were particularly nice. I also spent a lot of time reading a book and playing my ukulele in camp. Very relaxing and enjoyable, except for the lack of shade. We put up a tarp, which helped a lot. We had a nice time, it just was not as active as I would have preferred.

Here's the hike I took on the second day of the camp-out: [ photoset ]

Bill Williams River is part of the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge. People do rave about the place. (If you know me, you know I'm usually immune to other people's ravings.) If you are a very serious birder, have oodles of patience and very good binoculars it is worth visiting. Many, many species have been seen there. But as a pure paddler's destination, it's way too short. It's pretty, but nothing to really rave about, in my opinion. There's nowhere to get out of your boat and stretch out on a beach, unlike the rest of Lake Havasu. No place to park the boat and go for a hike, unless you want to crash through a whole bunch of mud and brush. And a serious paddler is going to say, "is this it?" because it's only two miles long!

And calling it a "river" is a misnomer, really. It's an arm of Lake Havasu. There used to be a small desert creek which flowed in that area, called Bill Williams River. But the lake has drowned it. Further upstream, you can backpack down the Bill Williams River below the Alamo Dam. They let water out of the dam at a steady rate to create an unnatural riparian area that would not exist if it weren't for the steady stream of water. But further down the drainage that water seeps underground. The two areas, upper and lower Bill Williams River, are not easily connectable, even on foot, because there is a ranch in the middle.
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