On the River: The good, the bad, the slightly ugly | AspenTimes.com

On the River: The good, the bad, the slightly ugly

Mark VonderHaar

Yesterday three companions and myself decided to do “laps” on the Shoshone section of the Colorado River.At 4,200 cubic feet per second, this run could be classified a III+ or a IV- depending on whom you ask. The “laps” turned out to be two runs, but we made them count. When we showed up at the Shoshone put-in just off Interstate 70, we were greeted by an empty parking lot. I usually get suspicious when there are no commercial rafting buses because it usually means the water is too high for them. And when the bike path is closed, it’s probably not a good idea to put a boat in the water. We put in anyway, running the upper stretch on the right with the goal of missing Marty’s Diner (aka The Diner), a reversal rock/hole that has turned many boaters into instant swimmers. I still have no idea who Marty is, but I’m hoping to find the guy so he’ll come and get his rock out of my line. In previous years I used to hit the hole head-on at flows exceeding 9,000 cfs. After my third swim at the Diner, I decided to avoid it at all flows. Marty only serves up heartache with a side of equipment loss.The Wall (aka Chinese Wall) has the potential for a swim as well, but we just rode the wave train. Staying right on Tombstone is still a wise move with the keeper hole in the middle still lurking. After that, the river pools up … for the finale.Maneater contained a wave that stood about 7-8 feet high with a lateral wave blocking its entry. Choosing the hero line in Maneater may not seem sound, but this is the last chance to get wet before the river calms to a gently rolling waterway. We were determined to get into the jaws of this monster, so we hit both waves with a full head of steam and managed to get the whole crew wet. After run No. 2, the buses filled with paying customers began to show. It must have been time for the 1 p.m. running of the rafts.The Shoshone section is only 1.6 miles long. As it turns out, the four of us came to Glenwood Canyon for 3.2 miles of boating. Yeah, it was worth it.