Alex Mickel shared:
Nice basalt gorge where the Little C begins its descent to the high desert out of the White Mountains.
Warm-up of class III -IV whitewater on the first 1/2 gives way to class IV and V action in the second ½--Including a class V+ rapid with a barbed wire fence strung across the second drop. This extremely dangerous fence is river-wide and very solid. Keep your mouth shut on this one as the landscape above the canyon rim is littered with cow patties of likes of which me and my “ cow” horts have never seen. The run itself is lots of fun with long sections of juke and jiving and numerous 3- 8 ft drops through narrow slots highlighting the run. On our run at 135 cfs we found all the drops to be surprisingly clean; I would not want to go much lower, however.
Fences are an issue we had to cross two fences at the start of the run and about 5 at the end of the day on the last 1.5 miles as we meandered to the take out at the bridge on Rd 4162. A better takeout exists of Apache County Rd 4005; however, we were chased off by an upset rancher who had been having lots of trouble with “partiers.” This road leads to state trust land and may be a legitimate take out that would greatly improve the run. However, we thought it best to deal with the downstream float after the encounter with the upset rancher who warmed up considerably after we quelled his fears that were deer-shooting drunks but was still unwilling to let us park. Hopefully courteous behavior will alleviate this situation in the future.
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Permits are not required for this reach.
Northeast AZ. 15 miles North of Springerville AZ; 20 miles South of St Johns AZ.
Go East on road #4162 from Highway 180. About 15 miles South of St. Johns between mp 386 and 387. A couple hundred yards from the highway turn right onto road #4005. Go right at the fork and continue till you get to the gate indicating state trust land. Permit required.
Alternate take out: Bridge on Hwy 4162. Avoids rancher issue but adds about 5 fences through a 1.5-mile flatwater paddle.
Put-In: Return to
Hwy 180 and go South 3.8 miles;
turn east on a dirt road past mp 390. This takes you to the rim of the canyon and a trail takes you down to the creek.
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