Sun - October 31, 2004

Poudre River from Fort Collins to Greeley - Late Fall Paddling



Poudre River

GPS trip odometer:
20.4 miles, moving time 3:35 h
stopped/shooting time: 1:39 h
moving average 5.7 mph
max speed 10.3 mph.

Flow: Ft Collins 550cfs, above Timnath ~350cfs, below New Cache Dam: ~450cfs, near Greeley 430cfs

maps:
Timnath - Windsor
Windsor - Greeley


Digital Cameras for Paddlers
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Pentax Optio W20
Olympus Stylus SW 720
A chilly morning with a freezing temperature, most of gold fall colors were gone but the Poudre was flowing a lot of water. Thanks to Connie I could enjoy a long downriver run without my regular upstream workout.

I started in Fort Collins at the end of Horsetooth Road and reached the river through the chain of ponds of Arapaho Bend Natural Area.

Below Timnath I entered the unknown segment of the river. Unfortunately, that entry required a portage over or rather through a barbed wire fence. Within the next mile I had to portage over next 3 fences. The river was not paddler friendly there.

Just above New Cache Dam a lot of water was coming from Boxelder Ditch and Fossil Creek Reservor outlet. I played safe at the dam and portaged over the concrete structure (it was possible to land at right).

Next, I paddled down the already familiar river with one portage around a fallen tree and retour around another tree above 32E road. A fallen tree below 901 road in Windsor required another short portage followed by a longer portage over two diversion dams (left shore). Then, there was a nice river segment along Eastman Park and a golf course with several small trail bridges until the 257 road bridge. I managed to maintain speed well above 7 mph trying to make up time lost for portages.

After a lunch break I continued down the river which had more longer calm stretches. About one mile downriver there was a small narrow tunnel like bridge with a low clearance and a rapid at high water. Since the river was getting narrow and fast above that bridge it was difficult to stop for scoutting. Further downriver there were some nice spots, especially, when the river was flowing closer to high hills (Poudre Bluffs?) forming steep cliffs, but in general the river was less scenic than around Windsor.

Poudre River Poudre River Poudre River

I could see many bicyclists. Poudre River Trail followed the river from the 257 highway on the left shore then above a diversion dam it crossed the river and run on the right shore. The river got somewhat smaller below the dam. It was my 9th and the last portage: from a ditch back to the river.

In about half mile I run into an unpleasant surprize: a barbed wire fence again. No possibility to portage it on any of the shores. The only option was to squize my tippy kayak and myself between two wires in a moderately fast current. There were some barbed wires in the next road bridge (road 25/95th Street) but the middle was free although partially blocked by logs. I finished my run one bridge further (road 27/83rd Street) about 16 miles above confluence with South Platte River.

Roads east of Greeley are marked on maps as county roads (e.g., Co Rd 27) but when driving it easier to find them numbered as streets. The Poudre River Trail map seems to be quite out dated. There are new sections of a bike trail opened. However, we haven't found Poudre Learning Center marked on the map.

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