This was a very hot trip on the muddiest river any of us had seen.
Mark Jibilian scored the trip cancellation via Rec.Gov and five boaters brought 4 boats on what initially looked like a pleasant fall trip. A late season scorcher brought the temps up into the low hundreds. This obviously changed the trip dynamics as it was too hot to hike (or do anything else) during the day. Permits were supposedly maxed as were launches but we saw essentially no one on the river. Not a single occupied camp below Chinle and the Hat. The rig/launch was not the zoo day everyone envisioned. We assumed Sand Island Campground would be filled so spent the night prior to launching at our usual backup camp on Lime Creek Road. Great lighting and a surprise thunder/dust storm kept us entertained.
The week prior to the launch saw stream flows over 2000 CFS which gave hope for easy travels but we were confused at the level. The posted levels did not match what we were seeing. 1100 CFS on the web site appeared to be 600-800 CFS in both our minds and the number of rocks hit. Mark Fosters conjecture was that the gauge was wanky was backed up by what the upstream gauges showed. And yet we had probably what was the easiest last day float ever to the ramp which was odd. We cut a day and a half off the trip due to the heat, but any day on the river beats one at work.