Riding the Colorado Floods

As Colorado reels from flooding, kayakers take to swollen creeks

In the aftermath of torrential rains that have devastated central Colorado communities, a pair of kayakers couldn’t resist testing themselves on the Boulder Creek. Alerted to the high water by at the crack of dawn by disaster-warning sirens, Will Grubb and Forrest Noble grabbed their gear and tackled the Lower Boulder Canyon section at 2,000 cfs—three times its highest recommended flow. The normally Class III-IV run turned into a roaring chocolate-brown Class V, carrying the paddlers downstream as though they were twigs.

“It was fast, and cleared up the usual manky rock,” Grubb said. “Lower canyon was clean, fun, and brown!” He said the XXL version of Boulder Creek had a fun flow until the paddlers reached the play park section, where some nasty hydraulics had formed. This was an experts-only day on Boulder Creek–Grubb is a former international C-1 and K-1 slalom racer, who regularly paddles Washington’s Little White Salmon and other stout Class V rivers. Noble is a seasoned gnarr-rider as well, though no expert with an iPhone. Next time, turn it sideways bro.

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