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Bill Williams River NWR - 2 members in 6 triplogs have rated this an average 4 ( 1 to 5 best )
6 triplogs
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6 Triplogs
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Mar 05 2019
azbackpackr
avatar

 Guides 27
 Routes 438
 Photos 5,310
 Triplogs 797

68 female
 Joined Jan 21 2006
 Flagstaff AZ
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.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
_____________________
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.
2 archives
Apr 20 2015
azbackpackr
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 Guides 27
 Routes 438
 Photos 5,310
 Triplogs 797

68 female
 Joined Jan 21 2006
 Flagstaff AZ
Lake Havasu 3-day Kayak Trip, AZ 
Lake Havasu 3-day Kayak Trip, AZ
 
Kayak avatar Apr 20 2015
azbackpackr
Kayak24.07 Miles
Kayak24.07 Miles2 Days   1 Hour   39 Mns   
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This was pretty close to being an epic trip--a three-day kayaking adventure along the south end of Lake Havasu. It was really fun. This end of the 45-mile-long lake is far less developed than the northern end. From Parker Dam up to Rotary Park is about 18 miles but we poked into many deep coves, bays and canyons which added to our mileage. We camped on a white sandy beach the first night, and on an island the second night.

We saw many water birds, plus a big horn ram. We saw many beautiful bays and little hidden coves with beautiful red cliffs. A few flowers were in bloom, also. I did a little swimming, although the water is a bit chilly this time of year. I also took several strolls to the tops of dunes to see the view.

We started at the south end and paddled north, crossing the lake a few times. This can be dicey due to speed boats in the middle. We did the trip in this direction due to the prevailing wind, which was from the south. Sometimes it was pretty breezy. A couple of times we had heavy chop, white caps, and some one and two-foot swells to contend with. I was glad to have brought a spray skirt, but my friend didn't have one. But she was okay.

Many boat-in campsites have been developed by both the BLM and the AZ State Parks--I think the total number is about 100 sites. BLM sites were MUCH better. AZ sites were dirty and shabby, and cost 4X as much if you believed the signs. BLM wants $10 per night per group of 6 or fewer. AZ State Parks wanted $20 per vessel. So, if you interpret that literally, two little kayaks, two people, one campsite, $40. How dumb is that? And the AZ Parks don't take care of their sites very well. BLM is out there with more than one boat every day doing maintenance. The BLM's pit toilets were amazingly clean-they even smelled sweet! Lots of extra TP. Trash has been emptied, etc. Sites are very clean. AZ sites had a lot of filth left over from spring break madness, but some of it seemed older than that. Just icky. Dirty pit toilets, dirty everything. Picnic tables sometimes at a huge slant in the AZ sites, also, which they could fix with some labor, but they don't send people to do it.

Both agencies might want to consider a sign which says: "Leave this site cleaner than you found it." An effort to educate the boating public will eventually pay off.

This trip marked the completion of another dam-to-dam section of the lower Colorado River for me. This section is Davis Dam (near Bullhead City) to Parker Dam. It includes the Topock Gorge. It's a bit under 90 miles between these two dams, and I completed paddling it in quite a few day trips, plus this three-day trip.

This is the end of my 6-month season down in the desert. I'll head for the high country this week to spend 6 months in Williams. So, this winter I completed paddling this dam-to-dam section of the Colorado River. Plus I completed Parker Dam to Headgate Rock Dam, and Imperial Dam to Laguna Dam. I am not finished with my project of paddling the entire lower Colorado River and its reservoirs, but I'm glad I have something to look forward to next winter! Next winter I hope to complete Lake Mohave, plus Headgate Rock Dam (in Parker) to Blythe, and also Yuma to Morelos Dam. What about Lake Mead? I'll start working on that monster, too.
Fauna
Fauna
Bighorn Sheep
Named place
Named place
Copper Canyon Parker Dam

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Lake Havasu 76-100% full 76-100% full
_____________________
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.
Jan 03 2015
azbackpackr
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 Guides 27
 Routes 438
 Photos 5,310
 Triplogs 797

68 female
 Joined Jan 21 2006
 Flagstaff AZ
Bill Williams River NWRSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Kayak avatar Jan 03 2015
azbackpackr
Kayak5.00 Miles
Kayak5.00 Miles
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I was invited to tag along with outfitter Helen Howard to paddle with her guests and do a bit of birding. I saw more birds this time than usual, but one of the people there, a high school girl, was so good at spotting and hearing birds that I was astonished. :worthy:

I couldn't see or hear all the birds she could, but did see some. Green heron, ruddy duck, double-crested cormorant, osprey, great egret, snowy egret, violet green swallow, tree swallow. They heard woodpeckers, towhees, wrens, rails, etc.
_____________________
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.
Nov 20 2014
azbackpackr
avatar

 Guides 27
 Routes 438
 Photos 5,310
 Triplogs 797

68 female
 Joined Jan 21 2006
 Flagstaff AZ
Bill Williams River NWRSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Kayak avatar Nov 20 2014
azbackpackr
Kayak5.00 Miles
Kayak5.00 Miles
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This is one of the prettiest places I've kayaked in Arizona. And it's very, very easy. In fact, it's too short. I might not be inclined to go back very often, unless I also plan to camp at one of the BLM boat-in campgrounds along Lake Havasu.

Just to be clear, this wildlife refuge is an arm of Lake Havasu. So it's not as though you are paddling up a river. The lake has backed up into what used to be the lower reaches of Bill Williams River, which is basically just a desert creek. I have done the backpacking trip from Alamo Dam downstream a few miles, but that is way upstream from this area.

Birds I saw, but didn't photograph: Clark's Grebe, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Black Phoebe, some sort of brown-headed duck, a cormorant, and the ubiquitous coots, which my dad used to call "mud hens."

I was the only one there, which is how I prefer things.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Lake Havasu 76-100% full 76-100% full
_____________________
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.
Apr 14 2012
The_Eagle
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 Guides 9
 Routes 805
 Photos 10,311
 Triplogs 1,630

65 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
Bill Williams River NWRSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 14 2012
The_Eagle
Hiking2.00 Miles 200 AEG
Hiking2.00 Miles
200 ft AEG13 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I was in Earp, Ca for the Weekend and had a free afternoon. I had drawn up a Destination Hike using the tools on this site, including Google Earth. What the tools did not provide, or that I didn't take the time to check, was that my drawn track started on Private Property.

On to Plan B, which I did not have.

I knew this area was out there but knew nothing about it. I stopped in the Main Office for Bill Williams NWR (National Wildlife Refuge) on the west side of 95, and talked to one of the park rangers.
Me "Any Hiking out there?", Nice Park Ranger Lady "Only 6000 plus acres".
Me - "What kind of trails?" Nice Park Ranger Lady "We Can't have any permanent trails out there, they'd get washed away".

I got a few ideas and decided I'd drive to the end of the road, see what the territory offered, and then hike in the time I had available before I had to get back to Earp.
I wanted to get down to the Bill Williams River.

The first area I tried was at the end of the road. Checking the GPS, this was an old road that went right to the river. Unfortunately 1/4 mile in the Road was flooded from the previous day and mornings rain.

Next on the way back, I had seen a spot in the area called Mosquito Flats that had a sign w/ binoculars. So off again. This time I got stopped in a wet jungle of thick vegetation. But did see some flowers I hadn't seen before.

Next was a Slot Canyon that looked promising. This proved to be the best option of the 3, but unfortunately the river was protected by my favorite...Catsclaw. I could hear it, but could not see it.

Out of time, I had to retreat to Earp

Now that I have a feel for the area, I'd like to come back w/ a plan. That plan may involve a Kayak.

The area is most defiantly worth a check. From green marshes with tall reeds, to Poplar trees, to Saguaros, to stark desert, and tall craggly peaks, this area has it all.
Hard to believe it's Arizona
Flora
Flora
Yerba Mansa
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Bill Williams River Heavy flow Heavy flow
Lots-o-Water
_____________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
Jan 01 2010
airic
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 Guides 1
 Photos 151
 Triplogs 181

42 male
 Joined Feb 04 2004
 Patagonia, AZ
Bill Williams River NWRSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 01 2010
airic
Hiking
Hiking
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Spent about 3 months here on a project. Great spot. Great kayaking. Lots of animals to see.
_____________________

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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