Gila River - Dripping Springs (Christmas) to Winkelman Park - Allan Watt's Trip Report

On 7/1/07, paddled the Gila River from Winkelman to Kelvin (20 mi) for the first time with Mike, Ted, Mark, and Gene, at 740 cfs. We left home at 6:00 am, paddled very little, except to avoid strainers, stopped once for lunch, and had plenty of time. We had dinner at Jack in the Box in AJ and were home well before dark. We left Mark's vehicle at Kelvin and launched by 8:45, and took off the river at about 3:45. Ted and I shared the bandit or took turns tubing, with Ted in the tube most of the way. Everyone except Gene spent some time in the tube. Ted did very well, both on the tube and paddling the bandit.

We saw no other river users after we left Winkelman, but heard two trains and found three inflated vinyl inner tubes. We saw a couple of places at Kearny (14 mi) that could have been the river access there. If you use Kearny as a take out, park the vehicle where you can see it from the river or mark the exit. We saw a lot of birds including herons, red-tailed hawks, turkey vulture, owls, yellow birds, red birds, and red-winged black birds. There were no rapids of any concern. Some strainers were challenging, but we never had to portage. Being careful, nothing was too dangerous. There were about 4 cables, ropes, or strings across the river just above the water level that we had to lift to go under, but none were a significant hazard. One had some barbed wire, but just on the right side. Keep an eye out for them.

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