Little Colorado, Arizona, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V(V+) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||150 fpm|
|Max Gradient||240 fpm|
|LITTLE COLORADO R ABV LYMAN LAKE NR ST. JOHNS, AZ|
|usgs-09384000||120 - 2500 cfs||IV-V(V+)||01h35m||15 cfs (too low)|
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.