Gila River - Old Safford Bridge to Dry Canyon - February 16, 2008

Had been planning this trip for some time. Mark, a Vietnam buddy and longtime paddling partner was down from Spokane attending school. Fellow co-workers Dennis and Tracy were ready to try the next step up from the lower Salt with the Gila Box as the choice. When Lucy found out it wasn't 'just a bunch of guys', she was in. A two vehicle shuttle was arranged with Gila Outdoor at a cost of $100 per vehicle. This was the most they have ever charged, but the store provided the chase vehicle and driver so not really out of line. Anything that reduces the driving time for a weekend run through the Box is a good deal. Much prefer this float as a 3-day/2-night trip due to the commute involved.

The weather did not cooperate though and launch day was quite cold with snow covering the higher hillsides. The temps were in the thirties to low forties on the drive in. Tracy and Lucy needed little prompting to wait for warmer weather and in the end, it was a two-person two-boat trip. Never connected with river ranger Rich Law as expected, but saw sign he was at the bridge that morning.

Mark took the AIRE Lynx II while I oared a 14 foot cataraft. The cat used a narrow frame and worked well with the higher flows. It was the biggest boat I've taken through the Box. The river below the SFR confluence was for the most part, washed out. There were 3-4 class II's and some decent wave trains, but as usual for the Box, nothing risky. You do have to stay alert or bad things could happen. River mile markers are referenced to the Safford Bridge.

Click images to view trip report details.

Trip report image
USGS flow link image