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Dark Canyon Complex Water Data

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by mlnultra, Sep 21, 2020.

  1. mlnultra

    mlnultra

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    Hello, new to the site, first post. Does any one have current water data for the Dark Canyon Complex? I am planning a "loop" that consists of Sundance, Lean-to, up Bowdie south fork, half-way down Bowdie north fork, maybe a part of Gypsum, Fable Vally, Young's Canyon, Dark Canyon exit. Earlier this year I took Dark, to Youngs, to mid-Fable, counter clockwise around Wild Cow point, back to Fable, etc... There was one long heavy water carry, and once where I probably should've looked for water bet kept walking until my desired endpoint where I knew where was water. But, I'm not looking to chance a half-day without water for these upcoming plans. I have looked over many maps, and the NatGeo set shows spring designations throughout the desired route, but from experience, not all designations are accurate or year-round. So, I just trying to find more current water data for the area. Thank You
    ratagonia likes this.
  2. cjhaines

    cjhaines Chris

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    Orem, UT
    You may have more luck posting this on a backpacking page, like Backcountry Post. While I personally love the areas you mentioned, I don't think they're regularly traversed by the canyoneering crowd due to the logistics involved and lack of good "slot."
  3. mlnultra

    mlnultra

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    Thank You! I tried making an account over there, but there's something wrong with the captcha verification. It asked, what is the 2nd letter of the alphabet in lowercase. I typed 'b' and it said I was wrong. Then it asked what's 15 divided by 3. I typed '5' and it again said I typed the wrong answer. Thanks though
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  4. mlnultra

    mlnultra

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    Actually, I think the site I tried registering for was Bogley.
  5. cjhaines

    cjhaines Chris

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    Yep! There are also some good Utah backpacking and southern Utah backpacking facebook groups that might be able to help. Good luck!

    Sent from my Pixel 4 using Tapatalk
  6. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    I haven't been recently, but I have been to those mentioned places multiple times, including during droughts.

    Dark Canyon always has water from about half way between Black Steer and Youngs Canyon all the way to the Colorado River. Above that some of the springs can dry up during drought. I have seen Woodshoe completely dry except for the spring near the confluence of Dark.

    Lower Youngs Canyon always has water.

    I have always seen water in the middle parts of Lean To, but during one drought, there wasn't that much.

    Bowdie Canyon always has water from the confluence most of the way to the Colorado River, with some water above the confluence in both forks.

    I'd highly recommend skipping the South Fork of Bowdie. It is one of the most horrendous bushwhacks I have ever done. There are some ruins near the confluence to explore, but other than that avoid it! If you do it, you will be sorry.

    Gypsum always has water, but I have seen it stop flowing in the afternoons. There are always pools. Usually the whole creek is flowing, but under extreme drought conditions, sometimes there are only pools.

    Fable Valley usually has water, but under extreme drought conditions, I wouldn't count on it in the hot part of the year. Although Fable Spring is mostly reliable, I have heard of a time when it was nearly dry.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
    Ram likes this.
  7. mlnultra

    mlnultra

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    This is very helpful. Thank You!! Do you have any beta on lower North Fork? Would you assume it is also a horrendous bushwack? Originally the thought was to just cross at the confluence and move on, but I started to become curious about the rest of Bowdie.
  8. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    The north fork isn't as bad as far as bushwhacking. It isn't that interesting either.

    Bowdie below the confluence to the Colorado River is very spectacular. The upper forks, not so much.
    Ram likes this.
  9. mlnultra

    mlnultra

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    Scott, your experience was spot on... There was water in mid-Lean To. In Bowdie, there was scarce water from the confluence through the north fork, but we accounted for that by purifying about 12 liters of the shallow pools of standing water we found in Bowdie before the confluence. The north fork is an ok stroll, the bushwhack wasn't a bear, but it certainly wasn't the highlight of the trip. After eventually finding a route into Fable, about 3 miles north of the natural spring, and that's as specific as I'll get, because I don't think we would get up the same route we came down, we carried about 13 liters combined to get us to lower Youngs, which we knew would have water eventually (beginning right after/before the poison ivy). No more sandy slogs, and only a pleasant walk from there to the Colorado. If we were to do this trip again, during the same part of the year, we could always take a day to stash water off Sweet Alice for the slog between both Lean To and Bowdiie, and Fable and Youngs. Thank You Sir for the intel!
    Brian in SLC likes this.
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