Articles

Welcome to CW's blog for news and announcements.
  • 03/09/2017 3:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    At the end 2016, the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) purchased property from Union Pacific Railroad in Texas Creek on the Arkansas River. The new launch area is now groomed and ready for commercial and private Use. 

    Location: The Texas Creek Recreation Site is located at Mile Marker 252 off of US Highway 50 (between Cotopaxi and Canon City). Take Fremont County Road 27 across the river and immediately turn left, crossing a yellow cattle guard. The boat ramp is located to your left in the dry wash.  

    Parking: Parking is across CR 27 with plenty of space or further up CR 27.  

    Fee: None

    Facilities: Boat ramp, fishing access, hiking, house/mountain bike, OHV riding (with a valid Colorado OHV sticker), parking, and river access.  (Restrooms are available at the OHV parking across the railroad tracks and back toward the northeast.) 




  • 12/07/2016 11:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Words and Photos by Peter Holcombe

    Over ten years ago, the annual onset of winter in Colorado became something I dreaded. Not because of snow or cold, but because of the absence of paddling opportunities after the end of the much-too-short run-off season. When I learned that there was a group of paddlers meeting on New Year’s Day to go kayaking, I was cautiously interested, but couldn't convince any of my normal paddling crew to join me on New Year’s Day 2009.

    My desire to paddle was greater than my fear of the unknown and the cold, so I drove out to the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon with the hope that I wouldn't arrive to an empty parking lot. To my relief, I arrived to find a mixed up group of kayakers from all over the state of Colorado. Most were like me and wanted to paddle and celebrate the new year the best way they could think of, by doing the one thing that really made them happy . . . going kayaking.

    After eight years of ringing in the New Year with a lap or two down Shoshone with temperatures ranging from the single digits to a balmy 37, I’ve learned a few things about paddling in the cold. I want to share with you a few tips and tricks that can really extend your whitewater season and keep you in top form and ready for high water during an early spring runoff.

    1) Dry suit: Paddling in the winter is just as fun as during the summer, and with proper clothing, it can be very comfortable. Get a dry suit! Really, owning a dry suit should be a mandatory piece of gear for any serious paddler in Colorado because the rivers are nearly always cold. This is the best investment you can make for year-round confidence and comfort as a high-country paddler. It’s also really important to have a dry suit that has sewn-in socks. This will keep your feet dry when wading or getting in and out of your boat, which is key to happy feet in colder temps.

    2) Hands: Protect your hands. This is a big deal! Pogies alone won't cut it if you swim in the winter, and the last thing you want is to have bare hands while swimming in below-freezing temperatures. Gloves are the bare minimum, and wearing gloves under pogies is even better. Just make sure the pogies aren't too tight with the added thickness of your gloves. The best option I’ve found for when it’s so cold that icicles cling to your helmet visor is to wear thick neoprene mittens by Kokatat or NRS. While I’ve had cold fingers a time or two on the river, it’s never worse than riding a windy chairlift at Loveland with quality mittens.

    3) Head: Your mom always said to put on your hat when it’s cold outside because much of your heat escapes from your head. Some helmets are warmer than others. I find the Sweet Rocker to be really warm and comfy in the winter, and it offers amazing protection the rest of the year. When it’s really cold, I’ll add a neoprene hood, like the Kokatat Surfskin Balaclava. It not only keeps my head warmer than my skull cap does, but it also keeps the back of my neck warm. The extra coverage around your face is a plus if you find yourself without a bushy winter beard.

    4) Insulation: Dry suits keep you dry, but what you wear under them is what keeps you warm. I paddle enough in a variety of environments to have a system down for what to wear based on temperature ranges.

    • 80–100 degrees: Surf trunks and shorty dry top.

    • 60–80 degrees: Long-sleeve or shorty dry top with a light fleece and/or wool under-layers, maybe paddling pants or bibs.
    • 40–60 degrees: This is when I typically break out my dry suit. Sometimes earlier if the water is particularly cold. A one-piece fleece dry suit liner, like the Kokatat Power Dry Liner, is great in this range. I’ll wear a short sleeve Kokatat Wool Core tee as it gets closer to the 40-degree mark and bring gloves and a skull cap.

    • 30–40 degrees: This is dry suit weather for sure. I add a long sleeve Wool Core top under my Kokatat Power Dry Liner. Gloves or mittens are a must, as is my scull cap. I also pack my Kokatat Surfskin Balaclava if I’m play boating or if I’m planning to roll a bunch. It’s a good idea to always wear socks in your dry suit, but at this temperature, I like thicker wool socks on my feet.
    • 10–30 degrees: This is where a dry suit becomes critical as it keeps you warm going from your truck to the river. I add my short sleeve Kokatat Wool Core tee, plus long sleeve Kokatat Power Core shirt under my one-piece power core liner. This is three insulation layers. If you are play boating hard, you might still overheat, but this is a safe system for this temp. Mittens are ideal in this range and possibly two pairs of wool socks. At this point, you might need to wear different shoes to allow space for the extra socks. Remember if your feet are tight, they will get cold no matter how many pairs of socks you have on. Proper circulation is the key.
    • 0–10 degrees: Congratulations! You are the one of the few, the proud, the hard-core. If your house is on fire, you will save your boat before the wife and kids. This is paddling in the danger zone, and swimming simply isn’t an option. Same insulation as above, but I will add a Patagonia Nano puff vest and wear my Balaclava straight out of the car. You might also want to add some chemical hand warmers inside your suit. I know some paddlers that tape them to their armpits and lower legs or feet for added warmth. I bring a wool hat in a dry bag for the take-out and possibly wool gloves or mittens in case I need to help with a rescue and have warm dry hands on the river bank.
    • Below 0 degrees: You either moved here from Alaska or love paddling so much you need to move somewhere other than Colorado with a more vibrant winter paddling season. Seriously, it’s hard to find open water at this level. Ice bridges will be a problem even in the rapids, and all but the fastest moving water will be well frozen over.

    5) Skirts: When it gets colder your skirt, will lose its stretch. It’s common to have to help one another put on skirts when the temperature drops below freezing. Bungee skirts are more stretchy in the cold than randed skirts. If you are really hard-core and normally use a randed skirt, get a bungee skirt just for winter paddling missions. This will save you a lot of time and frustration on the river bank.

    6) Feet: Ditch your tight neoprene booties for something less restrictive that won’t limit circulation with thick wool socks underneath. You can wear all the socks you want, but if your booties are too tight, you will have cold feet. Astral or Five Ten footwear will give you great traction while still allowing room for socks if sized properly. I’ve seen some die-hards wear old hiking boots or running shoes over dry suit booties with thick socks inside.

    7) Ears: If you are play boating or rolling a lot in cold water, earplugs should be worn. You can damage your hearing with repeated exposure to cold water in your ear canals. I’m currently liking the Mack’s brand, Silicone Ear Plugs the best. They squish in your ear and keep out all the water. I get mine at Wal-Mart for under $4.

    8) River Hazards: There are a few different river conditions you will find as the temperature drops below freezing. Powder covered icy river banks can be super fun for kayak sledding seal launches and boofing an ice covered rock will send you flying higher than you ever dreamed. Playing on these icy features can be really fun, but you need to be aware of strong currents running underneath ice shelfs. Treat these as you would an undercut on any rock. Give them a wide berth and plenty of respect. The underside of an ice shelf is not a place you want to explore. Have a blast but use your best judgement.

    9) De-icing: After all the fun on the river, you might emerge from the water warm and dry on the inside of your dry suit but find yourself imprisoned in a frozen cocoon. PFD buckles and straps can quickly become frozen in place. Your suit might be incrusted in ice too. Sometimes getting out of your gear at the takeout might be the crux of the day. On Shoshone, the Grizzly Rest Area’s bathrooms have hand dryers that work beautifully to deice your paddling gear, albeit you will certainly get strange looks from travelers coming to use the restrooms.

    So there it is: my best tips for extending your paddling season. The fun doesn’t have to stop when the temperature drops. You just have to gear up and get out there and boof the ice!

    Almost three years ago Peter, Kathy, and Abby Holcombe sold their home in Boulder, Colorado, and moved into a Winnebago to chase whitewater all over North America. It’s been a dream come true paddling the continent’s most famous and obscure rivers. They have started a movement to inspire other families to go on their own adventures; they call their mission: Famagogo. To follow the adventures of Famagogo you can find them online at www.Famagogo.com or on social at Instagram: @PeterHolcombe and @Adventurous.Miss and Facebook: Peter.Holcombe.


  • 12/07/2016 10:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Winter is here in Colorado, but there is still paddling fun to be had! Here’s a list of the CW board members’ favorite winter paddling and paddling-related activities. Add your favorites in the comments. 


    Pools
    **Check the schedule (and verify the fee) before you go! Pool schedules change seasonally (and sometimes weekly). 

    Broomfield Community Center
    Saturdays: 1:00–5:00 p.m.

    Carmody Rec Center, Lakewood
    Wednesdays: 7:00–8:15 p.m.
    $15, Free for Vets

    Centennial Pool, Longmont
    Fridays: 7:00–8:30 p.m. (starting 1/13/17)

    Cheyenne Mountain Aquatic Center, Colorado Springs
    Most Winter Sundays: 5:00–7:00 p.m.

    Confluence Kayaks, Denver
    Pool is open during business hours but call for availability to make sure there is not a class scheduled.
    $10 if you bring your gear (otherwise $20)

    Golden Community Recreation Center
    Fridays: 5:15-7:15 pm
    Registration required, $15

    Myers Pool, Arvada
    Sunday Afternoons

    Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center
    $8


    Indoor Instruction

    CW Instruction, Arvada

    Boulder Outdoor Center

    Confluence Kayaks, Denver

    Renaissance Adventure Guides, Golden

    Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center, Salida

    Underwater Connection, Colorado Springs


    (Possible) Winter River Runs
    Many of these runs are possible (and fun!) at levels below the minimum recommend level.

    Arkansas: Pinnacle Rock to Parkdate

    Arkansas: Buena Vista Play Park

    Arkansas: Pine Creek / The Numbers
    Video: Winter Whitewater Kayaking 

    Arkansas: Royal Gorge

    Arkansas: Salida Play Park

    Boulder Creek: Between 75th and 95th

    Clear Creek: Golden Play Park

    Colorado: Moab Daily

    Colorado: Shoshone
    Video: A Paddle Down Shoshone on New Years Day 2013
    Video: New Years Day on Shoshone 1-1-13 

    Colorado: Westwater

    San Juan, Southeast Utah

    South Platte: Confluence 

    South Platte: Waterton Canyon
    Video: Winter Lap Waterton Canyon 

     

    Kayak Polo

    Mountain Kayak Polo Club, Fort Collins

    Western Slope Kayak Water Polo League of Colorado


    Boater Hangouts

    Confluence Kayaks: Indoor Pool!

    Golden River Sports offers free movie nights, a holiday party, gasket repair clinic, and CW members get 15% off!

    Mountain Toad Brewing & CannonBall Creek Brewing Company, Golden: Meet up with boater pals for some great brews! 


    Paddling Movies & Videos

    Banff Mountain Film Festival comes to Denver and sometimes has paddling films. 

    Into to Tsanpo Gorge “Venture into this remote corner of Tibet with seven young world-class kayakers as they take on the most feared whitewater river on earth. Known as the "Everest of Rivers," the 18,000-feet-deep Tsangpo Gorge is a raging torrent that drops 9000 feet in 150 miles and is considered the last great adventure prize left on the planet.”

    Reel Paddling Film Festival

    Rivering: A feature-length film about paddling filmed in New Zealand.


    * Photos courtesy of Peter Holcombe, www.Famagogo.com, Instagram: @PeterHolcombe, Facebook: Peter.Holcombe.

  • 12/07/2016 10:31 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This year CW certified four new instructors. All CW instructors are volunteers instructors and are certified by the American Canoe Association, which is the national standard for professional kayak instructors. See the instructors' page for a list of all of the CW instructors. 

    Ruth Eipper
    I have been kayaking since 2015 and recently became certified as an ACA instructor. 

    I first got on the water in the Golden play park, and I’m so glad I did! Paddling in gorgeous scenery and meeting so many amazing people have been the highlights of kayaking for me. I hope to be able to teach new paddlers and help them experience such a great sport in the way other instructors have for me.

    My favorite runs to paddle are definitely Foxton and the Numbers. I’ve been very lucky to experience so many rivers in a short amount of time and will have the Grand Canyon added to the list this year!

    If I could give one piece of advice to new paddlers, it would definitely be to get out there as much as possible and utilize meet-up groups and clubs (like CW!). Learning becomes 100 times easier when you have a solid group of friends to paddle with and makes it so much more rewarding!

    When I'm not in a kayak, you'll find me going on adventures with my best buddy Cooper, the Australian Shepherd.

    Patti Miller
    As a “vintage kayaker,” I started paddling circa 1984 in Colorado and then in Washington, D.C. Back in Colorado in the early 1990s, I was on the CW board as the cruise director and organized some of the first Boating Betty cruises. In 1991, I discovered the local slalom group and what was a welcoming annual race series in New Mexico and Colorado including FIBArk. I was drawn to the technical precision of slalom and found training slalom helped me make the transition from class-III to class-IV boating.

    I didn’t paddle much from 2001–2012 because we went sailing, my daughter was young, and she had other interests, like flying trapeze and circus. We started doing family trips again with my husband rafting and my daughter learning to kayak on multiday river trips on Ruby Horsethief, Gates of Ladore, Middle Fork, and Main Salmon. We also sea kayak and did a fun trip on Lake Yellowstone this year. We just bought cross-over kayaks to extend our river running season.

    I currently assistant-coach the Dawson School Canoe and Kayak Team. Dawson maintains gates on the pond near the East Boulder Community Center, which is a good place to start training. I’d like to offer more CW peeps the opportunity to train gates for fun and as another way to improve their river running skills.

    Terry Standlee
    I fell in love with the allure of water while canoeing in the lakes of Idaho when I was twelve while in the Boy Scouts. I always knew that my life would take me in the direction of water, and I did my first river trip in 2004 in a canoe on Labyrinth Canyon. In 2007, I bought my first raft and took it down Deso Gray, creating a deeper love and respect for the water. I decided in 2010 that I wanted my season to last longer and found kayaking and CW, and I haven’t looked back since.  

    Some of my favorite rivers to be on are the Arkansas, Clear Creek, the Blue, the Eagle, and Waterton Canyon. I love them each in a different way as they all present a challenge and approach to reading the lines, and they each give you a different ride every time you run them. It doesn’t matter to me the level of difficulty; it only matters that I’m on the water—whether it’s a float where you glide down the flat water, looking up at the sky and canyon around you, or if you’re scouting the perfect line through rockin’ rapids. 

    I decided that I wanted to give back to others by helping them find the passion in the water, just as my CW friends helped show me. I had a great experience at training camp in 2010 and never looked back. I first introduced my two girls to the water four years ago and found that I had a knack for teaching others in a supportive and easy-to-understand way.

    I am one of the new instructors for the kid’s team, as well as for the adult programs, this year, and I am looking forward to showing others the enthusiasm and love that the river can bring. Come join me, if you will!

    Scott Winkleman
    My first memory of paddling was in a canoe at Boy Scout camp. A few stokes out into that calm lake and I was hooked! I would go on canoe trips with friends on class-I and class-II rivers for many years before I decided to take up kayaking in 2004. Once I did, I was hooked again! Since then, I’ve spent many days paddling rivers throughout Colorado and in the West including multiday tips on the Grand Canyon, the Middle Fork of the Salmon, and a five-day, self-supported trip down the 100-mile length of Arkansas River.

    I recently got my instructor certification to help beginners learn to kayak. I look forward to bringing new paddlers into the sport that has had such a significant impact on my life!


  • 12/07/2016 10:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    2016 was a great year for Colorado Whitewater in so many ways. 2017 looks to be shaping up nicely, as well. 

    The 2016 CW board of directors was an energetic crew who took on a number of new projects in addition to all the standard awesomeness of our instruction program, social events, and river events. CW 2016 Access and Conservation Director Lauren Nance took over the monumental task of organizing the South Platte River Cleanup in April. The event was a raging success with one of the highest levels of participation and even 9News coming to cover the story. More than 200 people showed up to remove about two tons of trash from the river, including items such as shopping carts, baby strollers, and more plastic bottles than you can imagine. Denver Beer Company hosted the after-party, there was a ton of great schwag, and all participants got a commemorative T-shirt. 

    CW plans to take the lead on organizing the event (along with a number of terrific sponsors) again in 2017 under the direction of new Access and Conservation Director, Tim Friday. Tim is very passionate about the Peaks to Plains Trail project and how it affects the Clear Creek corridor. He’s already working with Jeffco to provide feedback from the whitewater community.

    Bailey Fest was started in 2010 by front range paddler Ian Foley and proceeded to grow in size and popularity up until a few wet summers kept the tunnel closed. Water through the Roberts Tunnel is earmarked for irrigation, and the use is tightly controlled. Getting the tunnel turned on for any reason other than to fulfill the requirements of downstream use and storage presents a challenge. Colorado Whitewater, the new organizer of the Fest, continues the mission to secure one weekend of recreational flows through the tunnel. This year, CW Safety Director Pete Bellande took up the organizational test and delivered a great fest. We look forward to Pete continuing in the role of safety Director in 2017 and coordinating the event again. 

    2016 Cruise Director Jessie Gunter did a remarkable job of recruiting volunteers to lead trips for our members. The cruise schedule basically exploded with trips every single weekend! We’re counting on her to continue being awesome in 2017, too.

    Instruction Director Dick Alweis improved the variety of courses offered at our winter and spring pool sessions at Meyers Pool in Arvada  and extended the instruction into the summer season. He’s planning to add some slalom and roll classes in 2017. If you’ve never taken a slalom class, you’ll be amazed at how the techniques translate to river running.

    Some behind the scenes changes include the Spray Newsletter (Editor Gene Hakanson) updating to an electronic only format, adding an Insurance Director board position (Leslie Tyson), and phasing out the Competition (Jo Albers) and play boating board seats, although Dave Holzman will organize the Golden Rodeo again in 2017.

    There were a number of board members who quietly moved mountains in 2016, people without whom this club would not function. Laurie Maciag, as Events Director, handled so many projects that we decided to split the position into two categories for 2017. Judy Thomas will be the new Social Events Director. She is already working on possibly adding a new movie screening event, and new River Events Director Brooke Smith will oversee the organization of on-water events, such as Poudre, Arkansas, and Colorado River Weekends. He is also working on coordinating with Peter Holcombe to make New Year’s Day on Shoshone a CW event!

    You may not be aware of all the hard work contributed by some of the less visible board members. Patrick Tooley has been our legal advisor and voice of reason for a long time now, and April Hillman is the administrative genius in charge of membership. Merchandise Director Karen Moldenhauer has really improved the selection of cool CW wearables and cool goodies, as well as pitching in to help with about a zillion events. Advertising and Publicity Director Jodi Lee has been a tireless resource, forming partnerships and sponsorships and creating the messaging around everything we do. Jodi has also handled CW booth participation at festivals to increase our visibility to the whitewater community and always pitches in to help run events.

    Secretary Kyla Kolbeck kept us on track and made board meetings super-efficient. She is handing the baton to Daniel Lundberg, who is already off to a good start even before our first board meeting. We are very fortunate that Jeremiah Krayna will be continuing in the role of treasurer, as he’s done an excellent job of managing our finances. At our October meeting, Jeremiah pointed out that we are well positioned to do something more to benefit our members and as a result, it was decided that we would offer more discounted Swift Water Rescue courses in 2017.

    Scott Winkleman has done a tremendous job with the vast and never-ending responsibility of running our website for a long time now and is handing it off to Heidi Haas, who is well qualified due to her experience running the Chicago Whitewater website. I’ll organize Training Camp again, I’ve got it dialed in, and I love it!

    A few months ago one of our board members told me they had worked with a number of nonprofits, but was especially impressed with how efficient and passionate the Colorado Whitewater board is. I was so thrilled to hear this perspective from someone who is relatively new to our community, and it caused me to reflect more than usual. I am really grateful to work with such a great group of people. We really are an amazing little gang. That being said, there are many amazing volunteers in this club, including instructors and trip leaders and people helping with events—everything from flipping burgers at Bailey Fest to running video cameras at Training Camp.

    We will certainly have plenty of volunteer opportunities in 2017. If you’re interested in helping, you can contact board members in your area of interest or watch your e-mail and the Facebook groups for specific opportunities. Colorado Whitewater runs on 100 percent volunteer power. It’s a good feeling to be part of such a positive, giving, FUN community. I’m glad you’re here, and I’m looking forward to another awesome year!

    Elizabeth Austen
    President, Colorado Whitewater


  • 12/07/2016 10:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Tim Friday

    This year’s Fall Dinner, held at the American Mountaineering Center in Golden, was well-attended and highlighted by a presentation on the Peaks to Plains Trail, a sixty-five-mile trail that will extend from Loveland Pass to the confluence of Clear Creek with the South Platte River.  Scot Grossman, project manager for Jeffco Open Space, provided a comprehensive overview of the project with some great slides and commentary. Scot has been working on this project for over five years and is definitely passionate about his work. He also enjoys river rafting, so he can understand the project impact to the boating community. You can find out more about the project here, and CW will be providing comments on the portion of the project that lies within Jefferson County to Scot for consideration and further discussion. 

    In addition to the presentation, all those who attended enjoyed some delicious food provided by Moe’s BBQ as well as refreshing adult beverages donated by New Belgium Brewing and supplemented by a variety of other beverages donated by CW and attendees. As always, it was great to be with our kayaking friends, share stories and talk about upcoming river trips!  


  • 10/17/2016 8:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service in cooperation with Colorado Parks and Wildlife invite you to share your views about the Browns Canyon National Monument landscape at an upcoming listening session. 

    RSVP here to attend

    Listening Session Dates:

    • DENVER - Thursday, October 27, 10:00-12:00 @ REI Denver, 1416 Platte St, Denver
    • COLORADO SPRINGS - Thursday, October 27, 4:00-6:00 @ Colorado Parks & Wildlife Building, 4255 Sinton Rd, Colorado Springs
    • SALIDA - Saturday, October 29, 10:00-12:00 @ Steam Plant, 220 W Sackett Ave, Salida
    • CAÑON CITY - Saturday, October 29, 2:30-4:30 @ The Abbey, 2951 E Hwy 50, Cañon City
    • BUENA VISTA - Tuesday, November 15, 6:00-8:00 @ Buena Vista School District Boardroom, 113 North Court, Buena Vista

    By participating in a listening session, you will help shape understanding about how people interact with the Browns Canyon area, what is meaningful about the area and its role in the way people live, work and play. Your participation will help inform the upcoming land-use planning process.

    Learn more about the Browns Canyon National Monument planning process at www.brownscanyonplan.org.

    Download the flyer


  • 10/07/2016 10:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Dave Hajoglou

    Bailey Fest 2016 from Kaelan Hendrickson on Vimeo.

    Two kayak paddles mark the turn into the Bailey Fest campground. The campground is the ideal location for one of Colorado’s newest river fests. There are no races, no freestyle comp, no yoga, and the only spectators are the paddlers themselves. What there is, is water, which is a rare commodity in mid-summer. The water originates mostly in Lake Dillon and is piped through the fourteen-mile Roberts Tunnel to the North fork of the South Platte. When the Roberts Tunnel is on, Bailey is the center of Colorado creeking. After two years of no water, this year they Turned On the Tunnel.

    Bailey Fest started in 2010 by front ranger paddler Ian Foley. The Fest proceeded to grow in size and popularity up until a few wet summers kept the tunnel closed. Water through the Roberts Tunnel is earmarked for irrigation, and the use is tightly controlled. Getting the tunnel turned on for any reason other than to fulfill the requirements of downstream use and storage presents a challenge. Colorado Whitewater, the new organizer of the Fest, continues the mission to secure one weekend of recreation flows through the tunnel. This year, Pete Bellande took up the organizational mantel and delivered a great fest.

    To borrow a phrase: if you turn it on, they will come. This year drew in around 140 paddlers. Most were from Colorado with the dependably rowdy contingent from Durango and a sizable group from Steamboat. License plates from all over the United States were parked in the campground. The fest also drew in international guests Andy Gabrys, originally of Chilliwack, Canada; Calum Bradbury of New Castle, England; and Asaf Arad, German/Israeli from Kenya coming by way of Quebec and Guatemala before that. Of the these three, Asaf stands out as being the only river boarder of the day and a professional river boarder (yes, that’s a thing) at that! Asaf heard about Bailey fest a few years back and managed to add it into his North American Tour. “It’s a superfine run, classic river, challenging,” Asaf commented. “The people were great and the party was awesome.” Asaf would know seeing as how his vehicle was parked at ground zero for the evening festivities.

    Colum, age twenty-three, worked last winter at Whistler and learned of Bailey Fest after meeting up with members of the CU Kayak Club. Like many, this was his first time on Bailey, and he commented that “The river was super fun and continuous, never ending whitewater.” He also noticed the genuine appreciation of the river. “The Fest was really good too, nice to see such a big paddling community. It reminded me of the Wet West Festival in Scotland.”

    Bailey Fest brings the typical fest elements: music (by fellow kayaker Chrispy and his band Liberal Monkey Movement); beer from local sponsors Oakar Blues and Good River Beer; a kayak drawing courtesy of Jackson Kayak, won by Ruth Eipper; and a fair few hangovers the next day. The takeout party, where the booty beer tradition carries on (I counted six booties), and the after-party at the campground draw boaters of all abilities, the spouses and shuttle drivers, and the CW volunteers who worked hard to put on the fest. 

    Bailey Fest has something most other fests don’t. Centered at the Supermax Rapid is the inner fest, so to speak. Kayakers, rafters, and the odd river boarder assemble at Supermax to watch the action at the crux rapid. The banks are lined with paddlers who are of sufficient quality to navigate to the middle of this relatively remote location. Here, this assembly cheers on, laughs at, and occasionally helps rescue their fellow paddlers as the best try their hand, often for the first time. Standing on the banks, as Ian pointed out years ago, there is no spectator, no gaper, no press, that isn’t also a paddler that must navigating this river to be here. This year was no different with a spirited atmosphere complete with superb lines, comical flips, and at least one rather unpleasant swim.

    After a two-year figurative drought due to wetter than normal summers, Bailey Fest is back and back to its roots. A simple celebration of one of Colorado’s highest quality runs in a season where water is short.  Soon we’ll be pining for next year when the chant goes up to Turn On the Tunnel!


  • 10/07/2016 10:03 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Tim Friday

    Anyone who has boated Clear Creek in Clear Creek and/or Jefferson Counties in the last two years probably has seen the paved trail being constructed along the creek between Idaho Springs and Mayhem Gulch. This is part of the Peaks to Plains Trail, a sixty-five-mile off-highway opportunity to travel along Clear Creek from the Continental Divide at the Eisenhower Tunnel to the confluence of the South Platte River in Adams County. 

    This project seemingly may be flying under the radar of the boating community, but it has been in the planning stages for over a decade and the project manager, Scot Grossman with Jeffco Open Space, has been coordinating with rafting companies operating on Clear Creek in Idaho Springs. Now that the project has progressed into the more popular kayaking stretches of whitewater, it has gotten the attention of a number of us kayakers who enjoy the whitewater from Kermit's to Golden.   

    There are eight segments comprising the trail in Jefferson County running from the canyon mouth upstream to the county line where the highway splits at U.S. Highway 6 and State Highway 119. The next segment to be designed and built (Segment 1) will start at the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon and end a few hundred yards downstream of the old diversion dam just upstream of Tunnel 1, and it is not too late to get involved. 

    The Clear Creek Canyon Trail Feasibility Report (March 27, 2006) is available for review. This report documents the feasibility of the trail and its support facilities in light of a number of criteria: trail constructability, resource protection, visitor safety and experience, regulatory agency approval, and cost.  The overall project goal is to provide a multi-use open space park and trail that accomplishes the following:

    • A continuous multi-purpose trail from Golden to the Jefferson County line with Clear Creek County; an important link that will connect the Plains toward the Continental Divide and beyond;
    • Support facilities including trailheads, parking lots, day-use areas, and restrooms in a number of locations up and down the Canyon;
    • Continued and enhanced access for existing recreational uses such as rock climbing, whitewater rafting and kayaking, gold panning, and fishing; and,
    • Trail connections to other Open Space parks, including Centennial Cone Park and Windy Saddle park.

    Each segment of the trail is being constructed through a design-build process; meaning the designer and contractor are working together with the County to design and build the trail under one contract. The sequence of constructing each segment is based on priorities established by Jefferson County. The County submitted multiple grants this summer to raise funds for Segment 1. If these grants are successful, the project will be awarded to a design-build team in 2017. Construction will not commence until 2018 at the earliest though.

    Based on a cursory review of the feasibility report, the overall impact to whitewater boating will be improved river access with safer ingress and egress points, real parking facilities, and real bathrooms at select locations. However, preserving the character of the whitewater features is also extremely important and this will be the concern of many boaters who enjoy the various stretches of whitewater in this corridor. So please help in providing constructive input to this project and look for more information from Colorado Whitewater in The Spray, through e-mails, and on the website in the near future. More information can also be found here: peaks2plains.wordpress.com.




  • 08/05/2016 2:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Jim Green
    Photos and video by Gail Tubbs

    I got into town just a little later than I expected. There was a group headed to Brown’s Canyon on Friday, and I took the day off to get on the river. Sometimes life gets in the way of recreation with things such as work, doctors, etc… Once I got that done, I jumped into my ghetto camper and headed out. No way I was going to make it in time to meet the Brown’s crew, so I notified them on Facebook (ahhhh technology!). I heard they had a great time without me.

    With a little extra time in town, I suggested everyone stop by and say hi to our friends at Deerhammer Distillery. They are boaters, good people, and generally friends of Colorado Whitewater. I did some “business” in there and met Nick. Nick remembered me the next day when we met on the Numbers. Also, the whitewater play park in Buena Vista is great for killing some time and getting in the water. The downtown hole has to be one of the mellowest user-friendly play features in the state. I’m a flatspinning fool on that thing. Perfect for my tastes.

    Friday night at these events is always a fun time. New people come in that haven’t ever met before. Old friends, and many onetime river acquaintances show up. Everyone in Colorado Whitewater has lots of those folks that they only see occasionally. It’s a cool time to meet people again for the first time and talk about plans for the weekend. I told everyone that asked that I was doing the Numbers or Brown’s Canyon the next day. I specifically worded it this way so that if I chickened out of getting on Numbers, I had Brown’s to fall back on. 

    The next morning, I settled on Numbers with a SOLID group led by Leslie Tyson. Let me say what a pleasure it was to be with a group that knew the run so well. George Tyson led me down a perfect line on #4 that made me feel like a hero. This was the best trip I’ve ever had down the Numbers, until it wasn’t. I let my guard down and swam a class II section.  

    It’s hard to explain what it’s like when we have a good day kayaking and all the nervousness is gone, but we all know the feeling. That’s when I can really enjoy cooking some good food, having a drink, and hanging with friends. We can debate all year long whether the group and camp life or the river is the core of a Colorado Whitewater weekend. 

    I think the Arkansas weekend is the whole package, and it wouldn’t be the same without the potluck. I’d like to give a shout out to Barbara Ames for her delicious curry soup. Big props to her for bringing homemade! This year’s Arkansas weekend was great success thanks to our illustrious organizer Laurie Maciag. Her tireless work to get the poopers in place is appreciated by all of us (including some uninvited rafter types). 

    To me the weekend wouldn’t be the same without all of us together in one big circle of camp chairs telling stories about our successes and failures for the day. If you haven’t been on a river weekend with Colorado Whitewater this is what it’s all about.

Colorado Whitewater is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  455 Sherman Street, Suite 300 Denver, CO 80203

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