Raftbiking Gila GET in Southeastern AZ.

Here’s a short tidbit on our Christmas trip:

Great TR and what looked to be a killer trip, except for the hike a bike parts I would love that trip.

Word. It was sweet. Thanks.

Just took my Wilderness Biology class from the University of New Mexico through the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area (3/14-3/16/2017). RIver was 800 - 850 cfs. Spectacular trip. We did a short “practice” run from Serna Cabin to the Dry Canyon Take Out on 3/13 to test the water. The day before a party of inflatable kayaks had foundered, lost their boats and been airlifted out by choppers so we had some concerns. Conditions seemed reasonable for our crew - 7 relatively inexperienced students and one experienced curmudgeon - as long as we watched the strainers & newly fallen sweepers (flows had peaked near 4,000 cfs four times and once at 7,000 since Christmas so there were a lot of new trees into the river).
We left vehicles at Dry Canyon & had a shuttle from Cesar (928 348-7977) to the Old Safford Bridge launch site. Camped at Owl Creek & then launched Tuesday morning. We ran about 9 miles to Eagle Creek & camped. We spent the second day on a long day-hike up Eagle Creek (running at about 50 - 45 cfs) & camped that night at the same spot. Thursday we launched early and ran the 13 miles back to Dry Canyon & our vehicles. From Eagle Creek to Bonita Creek is extremely beautiful in the spring. Soaring cliffs, vibrant green cottonwoods & flowers everywhere. Go now!
Rich Law at the Safford, AZ BLM Office is a good source of information about current conditions (928 348-4400). He mailed me paper copies of a hand annotated map which we turned into a pdf (let me know if you’d like a copy).
With the river at these levels a two day/one night trip is easy if you’re short on time - if you’re in a real hurry and like long days our total time in the boats was about 6 - 7 hours so you could cover the 22 river miles in a day. Or spend several hiking side canyons.
Howard L Snell