Packrafting

Like any new adventure that I do, I will begin with researching the complete activity before I embark on actually doing it. I've fished Lees Ferry extensively, above the put in for the Colorado River all the way up to the dam. I've camped upriver at 8.5 and 9 mile many times. The first adventure upriver was a two week stay at 8.5 mile camp. A hang gliding friend introduced me to fishing and camping here luring me with the word, "epic" of which ended up being true. 

The Colorado River is wild. It is powerful, strong and in short, it made the Grand Canyon. This river is on the scale of any river in the world with everything a fisherman could ever want in a fishing life.

Big fish and adventure.

But access to Marble Canyon is not easy. There are only a few options and all include expenses. First of all it is 4.5 hours by car from my home in Phoenix. The river is at the bottom of a huge canyon guarded by thousand foot cliffs of sandstone. The dam that holds the river back and makes it cold fluctuates the water by tens of thousands of cubic feet per second water flow. The logistics of fishing upriver are that you must have a boat and know the river channel and varying conditions, hire a guide or be able to have enough time and specialized equipment and skill to be able to climb down to the river safely. 

I have accessed the river in all fashions, my favorite is driving someone else boat upriver with the understanding that if I crash your boat, you will pay for it. I will do that in exchange for my river knowledge in showing you how to gain access upriver, how to catch the fish there, how to camp comfortably in all conditions. In addition, I'll rescue you if there is a problem.

I'm not dramatizing the upriver fishing there. It can be dangerous kill you. The water is 47 degrees year round. Although it is flat water, there are whirlpools and eddy fences that can overcome your ability to survive a cold water swim. I've survived fishing there by making nearly all the mistakes you can make in fishing Marble Canyon. I've crashed a boat high speed (many times) into a shallow bar in crystal clear water as no less than 5 guide boats where watching, breaking the silence of the canyon by the outdrive of the boat, grinding, shuttering, taking the fins off the prop. Many miles upriver. I've been knocked out of the boat into the rushing water by hitting a submerged, trailer sized rock, swept off a downstream spit of a shallow bar for a swim, but I survived and learned.

Marble Canyon is a place filled with dreams of adventure and in short, I'm headed back and this time, in a much more silent, solo method.

Packrafting

I am researching pack rafting and have settled on a Alpacka Pack Raft. For my friends that do not have a packraft and want to do it but do not want to commit to a purchase, you can rent one HERE. You can reserve one and have them ship it to you.

It is affordable and for me, pack rafting embraces the "tenkara philosophy" that I am looking for in life, simplicity. 

I have two friends that I am prepping for this next step adventure. I do not expect that they will follow my dream but I will show them that it is possible to do what I am going to do without purchasing the specialized equipment, they can rent it.

Here is the plan. 

Simply put, we drive to Lees Ferry, have the large powered tourist inflatables take us upriver, dump us off and we camp/fish and when we are ready, float back down to our car.

Really it is that simple.

The two videos below show Marble Canyon from the tourist boats. Pay attention to the epic scenery and the river conditions. This section of the river is what will be floating down. The water is flat but it is super cold. There are whirlpools to contend with and the weather. The weather conditions can whip up standing waves because of the venturi effect of the thousand foot cliffs. I've seen them first hand and have navigated these waves. 

But these are dangers that can be avoided.

The float down the canyon is simple and safe without any danger if one is prepared and we will be prepared by a slow and methodical approach towards safety.

Experience and respect will prevail and we will be successful.





Packraft Links



Hiking River Access Upstream from Lees Ferry.



The following pictures are from many years ago when I was fly fishing and camping in Marble Canyon.













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