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Gunnison River, Colorado




April 13, 2002: Delta-Bridgeport.

River flow:
Delta - 1000 cfs
Grand Junction - 1500 cfs


Escalante Rapid

peach orchad

Bridgeport bridge

I launched my safari boat at Confluence Park in Delta after driving from Fort Collins. Paddling the Gunnison River was a part of my Texas Water Safari training. My wife, Connie (my Safari team captain) agreed once more to provide me with a shuttle.

I started paddling about 14:30. There were a few shallow places and some rough spots with standing waves making a full spray cover on my boat really necessary.

I spent some time scoutting and photographing the rapid below Escalante but I didn't feel comfortable to run it in my flat water racing boat. I walked around it on the left side.

I passed many orchads with apple and peach trees in full bloom. Trees in my garden in Fort Collins didn't have any flowers yet.

I expected some rough water in Dominguez Canyon but all rapids were rather mild there. The canyon had a very high concentration of camping paddlers.

When I was approaching the Bridgeport landing at sunset I saw several beavers crossing the river. They let me come as close as about 10 yards before diving with the loud splash of a flat tail.

trip odometer:
29.3 miles, moving time: 04:48 h, stopped: 34:31h, moving average 6.1 mph, overall average: 5.4 mph

April 14, 2002: Delta-Redlands.

River flow:
Delta - 800 cfs
Grand Junction - 1200 cfs.

I launch my boat again at the Delta Confluence Park and started trip downriver at 8:00. Well, I planned to start earlier but I needed a longer sleep after the previous day paddling.

Water dropped down a couple of inches during the night. All standing waves seemed to me much lower but I was already familiar with that part of the river. I was also building confidence in my boat in a more rough water.

Old Irrigation Wheel

I made my first stop at the old irrigation wheel to shoot some pictures.

Walking on the island near the irrigation wheel I almost stepped on a goose. It moved away from its nest when I was 3-4 feet away, otherwise, I would pass by without noticing it. I really didn't mean to disturb it.

I couldn't find an old homestead cabin at the entry to Dominguez Canyon. After the trip, I learnt that one have to be way over on river right to be able to see it from the river, because of the bank vegetation.

In Dominguez Canyon I met Connie who walked there from the Bridgeport landing. The Bridgeport road was difficult to find because most of road signs were removed due to construction on the highway 50.

I had a great light to photograph red cliffs below Bridgeport at my lunch break. For the Bridgeport-Whitewater segment I changed to canoe paddle. My speed was about 0.5 mph lower than when using the kayak paddle. I reached Whitewater about 16:00. It seemed that all paddlers including the RMCC group were leaving the river there.

Below Whitewater, the river was not very interesting at first, then it was getting more and more scenic. Unfortunately, it got quite cloudy and dark, so I didn't make any good pictures on that part of the river. About 4 miles above Redlands I missed the right river leg and ended up in a rocky, shallow and loud rapid. Old diversion dam? I didn't have time to return back so I just lined and carried my boat over it.

Redlands landing: muddy, very trashy and not inviting. My wife was afraid to wait there for me. I reached Redlands about 19:00. A few glimpses of the sun setting down made my packing there somewhat nicer. After a dinner in Grand Junctions it was still a long drive back to Fort Collins.

trip odometer:
54.3 miles, moving time: 9:11h, stopped: 1:33h, moving average 5.9 mph, overall average: 5.1 mph


goose nest

Dominquez Canyon

Gunnison River

Gunnison River

Gunnison River

links:
Jerry's Local River Guide
river flow: Delta | Grand Junction
River milage from my GPS track:
00.0 - Confluence Park in Delta
03.2 - highway bridge
07.2 - railroad bridge
13.0 - old wheel (left channel)
15.0 - Escalante bridge and landing
17.7 - Escalante rapid
20.1 - "Indian Point"
22.0 - diversion dam
28.0 - Dominguez Creek
28.5 - Bridgeport bridge
29.3 - Bridgeport landing
42.4 - Whitewater landing
43.3 - hwy 141 bridge
50.6 - Rough Canyon (diversion dam rapid?)
54.3 - Redlands landing


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