If you like to hike your kayak and spend you time in committing box canyons, then Durango, Colorado is your place. Arguably holding the best whitewater in the state, it is often the place to be.
Vallecito Creek, just above Vallecito lake, is one of Colorado's best. It is Baker's Box more glamorous, accessible cousin. Scouting is an option, although usually done from the rim. The first weekend in May found me back in southwestern Colorado joining the usual suspects, chasing the melt from our feeble snowpack.
It's a mile hike to the beginning of Vallecito. Once on the water its only a few hundred yards to this, the pop quiz for what lays downstream.
The quiz doesn't do much to prepare you for the exam. Entrance falls is a tricky 15 footer that is likely the hardest rapid on the run.
Jakub Pays the Price of Admission
Cooper. Entrance Falls.
Below Entrance Falls the river is in a tight box canyon filled with classic rapids. I'll let the photos do the talking.
Will Rawlston. Trash Can.
Rolf Kelly. Fuzzy Little Bunny.
Fuzzy Little Bunny has a log in it this year. Good flows allowed us to sail over it, although it made this usual gimme a little more foreboding.
Taking a Break from Behind the Lens. Oliver Deshler.
Rolf From Below
Nate Klema in His Invader. Paddle Bitch.
Just below is the most committing rapid of the run, the exit to the canyon.
Rolf Kelly Heads for The Finish Line
Will In the Middle Of No Way Out
One Stroke To Freedom. Will Rawlston. No Way Out.
Here is a nice sequence of Nate Klema and his usual behavior on the final ledge in Vallecito.
Discussing the Lines
Heading Back for More