Rau: Grand County rivers and trails
Grand County Trails
Welcome sunshine at last! Everything is green and lush again and the evenings are even warm. USFS reports roads and trails are beginning to get firm and open up in the lower areas. This is still the time of year for mud or hiking boots not tennis shoes or flip flops. Be careful in muddy areas but please don’t braid the trails causing damage that will take years to repair. Be prepared to walk through those muddy or snow areas or turn back and find a dry trail. There is still a lot of snow at elevations 10,000 feet and above but the fierce sun and warm nights are starting to bring it down. Water in rivers and streams will continue to rise for the next few weeks. Many rivers will soon be full and a bit dangerous for the inexperienced. Be careful and go boating with those in the know with the proper equipment. Be sure to check steamflows on websites like Mountainbuzz or USGS to see when flows are above recommended levels.
RAFTING THE FRASER
Sunday a group of us rafted the Fraser putting on at Jean Miller’s property along Ranch Creek. Locals are welcome but must sign a release in the mailbox at the bridge. “Please be properly prepared with proper equipment and safety gear,” warns Jean. And for those who love good waves, water levels 800 to about 1,200 cfs will rock and roll! Paddle boats give all the chance to dig in, get a face full of water, and use up some energy. Most kayaks or individual inflatables prefer lower levels when the holes are not so big and the waves are more forgiving. Higher water levels make going under several of the railroad bridges very difficult.
Several creeks come together as the Fraser River enters the canyon and the ride begins. You can only go through the Fraser Canyon by boat or by train and, in the spring when the water is up for only a few weeks, the Fraser Canyon can be the place to be. Shooting over beaver dams, technical maneuvers around rocks, and just busting through big splashers get your adrenaline going! Listen to the captain’s orders and just don’t stop paddling! They call the lower section the White Mile for a reason…Hold on to your hats!
The Colorado River at Pumphouse is up to about 5,000 cfs. At this level, Needles Eye Rapid for one can be both challenging and dangerous. Lower sections are more geared to the inexperienced boater or paddleboarder. More stories about these sections to come…
This level of water right in our backyard only lasts for a few weeks. Same with some of the wildflowers. They are blooming from the wet spring but the fierce sun will soon burn them up. Get out to your favorite lower trails now and take pictures. Just remember to not pick the flowers!
For those who prefer the more tame form of exercise, come join us this Tuesday evening for a couple hours 5 to 7 p.m. clearing fallen limbs on the Fraser to Granby Trail on the east side of Red Dirt Hill. If you need community service hours for high school graduation, community service for the court system, need firewood for your home, or just need some exercise and something productive to do, join us the second and fourth Tuesday evenings in June, July, and August. Come prepared with gloves, long pants and solid shoes, hat, and water to pick up-pile-and dispose of slash, stack useable wood, and help clear out this section of trail. Call Diana Lynn Rau at 970-887-0547 for more information or just show up ready to work.
Headwaters Trails Alliance is partnering with the Rotary Club and Fraser Valley Partnership for Trails to replace the bridge crossing the creek below the Winter Park Christian Church along Hwy 40. The project is planned for later this summer-fall. Over the years, beavers have repaired an old man-made dam above the bridge and created a huge pond that is wonderful beaver habitat. Below the bridge there are four or five more beaver dams creating an extensive wetland area that is unfortunately flooding the trail crossing on this important corridor trail. Rather than attempt to destroy the dams, we want to enhance this incredible habitat that is in a visible location easily accessible and create a bridge with a small education center for this aquatic wildlife habitat. We have the funding to get the project started but need at least another $5-10,000 partner to finish the bridge and start thinking about the educational displays. We also need a volunteer engineer to help us with the bridge final designs. Please call Erica Bean, HTA – 970-726-1013, or Diana Lynn Rau, FVPT -970-887-0547, if you are interested in contributing to this very worthwhile and tax-deductible cause.
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