We awoke around 0830 to this view from our kitchen. No one was on the river yet and we packed up and began the second half of our journey. The lower part of the canyon has significantly more technical water and rapids to navigate. At late summer flows it hardly resembles the rapids during higher water but nonetheless it can be somewhat demanding on the oarsman to make a few moves throughout the day.
We did actually do some fishing on this trip, and hoppers were on the menu, big ones. We threw the biggest stuff we had, single dry, right on the bank and had a few great takes. We didn’t break any records, (well maybe just a record for most 7″ fish in a day) but we caught a few average ones as well.
The first section that most stop to give notice to is Boulder Garden, which has significantly changed over the years and in my opinion is much easier now. Even so, its worth mentioning because the campsite there is nice, and for me it marks the start of the lower part of the canyon.
After this point you are met with a quick succession of rapids that demand in the very least some attention to your surroundings. Cable and Squeeze both require the oarsman to slide through some narrow slots, both on river right (as of this writing at 1000CFS).
Interspersed between these features are vertical walls of basement rocks that are approximately 1.7 billion years old. While the Geology of the area is fascinating, archeology sites along the Gunnison Gorge have yielded discoveries of petroglyphs, baskets, arrowheads, and tools, some of which are up to 14,000 years old. Point being, don’t forget to look up, you are peering back in time like you can only do in a few places on the planet.
As you come to the Grand Finale rapid the canyon closes down to its tightest corridor yet, the calm waters signaling that you have made it out in on piece.
The last few miles are a prototypical trout stream accentuated by endless runs and riffles before we pulled out. Fishing through here was excellent even as we began to pass those along the bank that had hiked up several miles to fish the mouth of the canyon.
All the information I have gathered and find useful for a trip can be found here.
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