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Verde River Kayak - Childs to Sheep Brdg, AZ
mini location map2009-03-12
19 by photographer avatarAzbackcountry
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Verde River Kayak - Childs to Sheep Brdg, AZ 
Verde River Kayak - Childs to Sheep Brdg, AZ
Kayak35.00 Miles
Kayak35.00 Miles3 Days         
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1st trip
Linked   none no linked trail guides
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Trip report written by Tom who organized this trip for us.

Jason, Carol and I watched Sandy drive away from Childs river access at 9 o'clock. (It's hard to find a woman as good as Sandy. She left work a little early to drive us up into the "high-country" and back down to the Verde river on a Thursday night. She stayed in a hotel before returning to work on Friday. The kids were on spring break at Grandma's and Grandpa's in Scottsdale, so they deserve some thanks, too.)

Why would she do this endure so much on a week-night? I've wanted to run the wilderness section of the Verde for years. It's 35 miles of river without a road. 35 miles of canyons and saguaros. 35 miles of heaven on earth. More than 10 years of wondering what's down in that gorge left me expecting fern-draped waterfalls, wild young virgins, and trees loaded with filet mignon ripe for the pickin. She loves me. That's why she did it.

Childs river access has a hot spring, and that attracts all kinds of freaks. We spread out our sleeping bags to ACDC, dozed off to Jimmy Hendrix, and were awakened by techno-music and Chinese conservations. (????!) That died off and we fell back to sleep. Then I heard someone pull the rope on a chainsaw. Couldn't be. No-one would fire up a chainsaw in a campground at 1:00 AM. He pulled again and it fired-up. WTF. That dude must've been cold because he cut wood for a good 45 minutes. It sounded like a Husqvarna with a 24" bar, and I figured he was tweaking on meth, so I stayed in my sack.

The next morning, Jason cooked some eggs with peppers, onions & sausage, we loaded our boats and shoved off. It's worth mentioning that I had the biggest boat. I'm sure my boat endowment insinuates something, but their little Alpacka rafts are pretty cool. They only weigh 5 pounds so they can be packed into the back-country to otherwise inaccessible water. They're basically miniature whitewater rafts designed so your butt sits near the back and your feet are at the front. A velcro'd-on spray deck prevents the raft from swamping out in rapids.

I never spotted any wild virgins, nor did I pick any meat from a tree, but the Verde exceeded my expectations. Reality's like that. Dark clouds blew in that afternoon, and I cooked New-York-Strip over a campfire in wind and light rain. Steak out camping is hard to beat. Before that, we navigated a couple class-3 rapids. One was a narrow bend around a stick with a hole at the end. The other was a complete surprise. I nice pour-over into some rolling waves and into a hole...dropping about 12 feet in the process!

The next day I watched Carol drop into a nasty current with cat-tail hanging over the river on the right. The current went under the stalks, and she fought-like-hell to keep her paddle moving in spite of the vegetation. Screw that. I skirted the shallows and shot into the eddy on the left. After turning my boat back down-stream, Carol made an obvious "flipping" signal. I turned around to see Jason swimming. Now's the point where I mention that the Verde is fed by snow-melt from the San Francisco peaks around Flagstaff.

We camped one more night, and the last day was short. We made it to Sheep's bridge before noon and waited for Sandy to arrive. That's right! Not only did she drop us off, but she also drove more than 6 hours round-trip on Arizona dirt roads to pick us up on Sunday. I'm not sure how I'll repay her, but I'll think of something.
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