It’s not hard to see it, all the rivers are pushing up the banks all over Colorado. The usual clear waters are now totally saturated with brown sediment, twigs, branches, trees, leaves, dog toys, soccer balls, and RAFTS. Talk to any boater about it, and that springtime smirk will come out. This is always an exciting time of year for all river lovers.
The Eagle River and Gore Creek have had some big surprises already this year, and there could potentially be an even bigger one around the corner. This weekend (June 20-21) the temperatures are supposed to get very high for this area, and there is a LOT of snow still at higher elevations. If the warm air mass reaches high enough elevations, rapid snow-melt could spike the river levels even more than we have already seen this spring.
We have seen two different significant rainstorms settle on the Gore Range/Vail Pass/Camp Hale area over the past week, and each storm brought a major river level spike for about 48 hours. Now we may see a major river spike for a longer time period due to consistent high elevation temperatures. Only time will tell. We could also see the opposite, where the river levels moderate a little due to a smaller snow-pack melting than I think is still up high. I’m always optimistic, but I could be wrong. We may have already seen the peak water heights and starting this weekend could be the start of the slow diminishing trend in the river levels.
Either way the weather goes, the local rivers are and will be at their best! The Upper Eagle stretch is great class IV with lots of big waves and hard paddling. This is one of, if not the best, stretch of river to whitewater raft in the state right now. It will only be at high flows like this for a few more weeks, so take advantage!
Gore Creek is another stretch to check off the bucket list while its flowing strong. Play boating is the word on GC. Sub out the raft, slash though eddies, side-surf holes…guides that have been rafting for over a decade get off this run with a huge grin, saying “I love playing in boats, that was so fun!”