Been a river runner for 25 years, built my first wooden boat in 2001 off some scribbled plans Andy Hutchinson was gracious enough to send me. Currently building two more wooden drift boats with partial decks, love to float the North Platte, Upper Colorado, and the Grand at least once per year, just about anything in Idaho, Yampa and Green.
Boats I own:
1 Briggs Dory, 2 McKenzie Double Enders with Transom &decks
Hey Andy: you may be back on the river, but thought I'd check in. We had a great time, kept the dory upright, wildest ride through Lava of course but sure thanks for the heads up on the others. Was looking at photos of the GC Exp. dories and am wondering if you can give me some idea of the hatch design you're using now. They look much better than my current old school briggs design.
Upset-? I always run left there..or try to, hee, hee. (at least get to the slot, just left of the hole at bottom). It's: "hey, diddle diddle, right down the middle", w/ current flows, though....(25k). Hole's washed-out...
-Yes, you can come in "tight" (to the left) at Specter (bow entry-best), and square-up to lateral wave feeding left to right. Anticipate an immediate-spin to right to meet the edge of large lateral wave/s off wall. (Or keep angle hard left and miss the "crunchy stuff", aiming for slack-water. (Not a bad idea to scout this...).
Granite has an "inside" entry at this water stage which is convenient. It's a floppy wave to the left of the burbles-(off left-side of main, rt. tounge), and it works to run the middle of this wave (floating, no-mo), and then square-up to laterals feeding rt. w/ a downstream ferry angle to left. This should take you towards left eddy or at least to left side of the monster tail waves (which seem to be feeding main current into the king-eddy on right. If you do end-up in K.E., you can escape down rt. side of island at this level. Scout this!
As a rule (for dories at least), levels at 20K+: Less rock crunching. More flip potential. Brad's right. Go practice flip drills, (an then you won't flip on the river..).
You may be downstream by this time, but I just returned from a trip last night, so sorry for the delay. We had 25k flows and it's over-all a "forgiving level" for hard-hulls. Left entry at Hance, Right at Crystal, and of course, left at Lava. -Just gotta' be looking ahead and paying attention to the boily-stuff in the gorges. The old "anticipation thing". Specter is getting fairly juicy and be ready to meet a large lateral off the wall there by squaring-up with your bow there. Plenty of room at House Rock and Bedrock to get further right where needed. Tail waves in House Rock are impressive right now. There's a further left entry, also at Granite to hopefully get you left of the wave-train at the bottom, tail waves...(as King Edward really wants you, there...).
-Bout all I can think of right now. When in doubt scout and have a fabulous trip.
Wow, where to start?
Ballast your load well. Lots of heavy stuff low and centered, fluffy stuff high, holding it in place. Light dories flip a lot easier.
Hit the waves as straight as you can, and if you have passengers, really work on high-siding. A little weight on their toes instead of their butts, ready to forcefully put their weight into the waves and then return to center.
Do a few flip drills (before the trip in a warm lake is nice!) so that if you do roll it you'll have her up FAST before she hits anything.
Quick release ties for at least the first spare oars.
Right in House Rock, left to center in Hance, Center in Horn Creek, down the gut in Granite and be ready to pivot toward the wall 2/3 of the way through (there's a lateral coming off the wall that flips dories who fail to point at it), down the gut at Hermit YAHOO!, right a Crystal, left at Upset, left at Lava. The left entry at Lava is letter than most folks think--that's why they go off the ledge.
But mostly just have big fun.
Also, I recommend beer, whiskey, tequila, and gin and tonics. Best not all at once except below Lava.
We would be happy to point you in a good direction when you arrive in Jackson. The river will be low but runnable and fishing should be good. I will be off Steelhead fishing at that time but Dutch and Kevin will be happy to help you out. Give them a call.
I posted a photo of 3 of us running the hole at Joe Hutch. The flow takes you straight to it. Notice the slack water in the front of the image. There is enough time to move around this hole. At 2300 it was fairly deep. It was our plan to give it a shot for kicks.
My friend Jeremy (another dory builder) is at the oars. When we went in I had all 225 pounds of me on top of the front tube and got pushed back. For some reason some of the folks I boat with don't like to put much air in their boats. They always taco up on this stuff.
Since it's not a wood boat photo I will take it down after you take a look.