Sun - April 29, 2007

2 Years Ago: Paddling the Big Thompson River below Loveland, Colorado

Big Thompson River Loveland Big Thompson River Loveland Big Thompson River Loveland

Two years ago I discovered the Big Thompson River for my paddling - I explored just a few miles below Loveland, mostly in upstream/downstream mode in Sisson Nucleus kayak. I made several trips in April, then I returned back to the river in July. Since then I haven't caught enough flow in the Big T to paddle there.

Big Thompson River Loveland

Big Thompson River

The river flow below Loveland clearly depends on water releases from reservoirs upstream. I paddled the river with flow between 75 and 200 cfs as measured at Loveland. You can observe much high flows (as high as 600 cfs in 2005), but I think they would be to dangerous for paddling.

The Big T is typically narrow, windy with many fallen trees and other obstacles including barbed wire fences crossing the river. You need to be careful there. I marked all existing and potential obstacles in the maps included in my slide show. It was 2 years ago! The river is changing. The high flow is adding more fallen trees, but it can also destroy barbed wire fences.

I was quite comfortable with my upstream/downstream paddling since I could first slowly approach and scout all obstacles when going upstream. Of course, it was a great workout. I am watching the Loveland gauge and the Sisson kayak is ready.

On the Big T I was using my new Pentax Optio WP camera for the first time, but the pictures shown here still came from Canon PowerShot S40, my first digital camera. They were shot in the same spot in April 2005. I was trying different angles and compositions. The high flow which appeared later that spring added more fallen trees there destroying my composition and making a portage necessary.

waterproof digital camera

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