Chevelon Creek Arizona

by dave-farkas
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Chevelon Creek in north eastern AZ had been on my radar for more than a decade, yet due to variable reasons I had never been able to get down there for a run. This year I had the time and people were motivated which more often than not is the deciding factor.
Dave Farkas
by Dave Farkas

Dave’s a whitewater expedition kayaker with a zest for life and a desire to explore the unknown.

The crew had left a day before me to go down and scout while I had to work, so I packed up my stuff and planned on meeting them at an obscure Google Earth map location we had determined. Wanna talk about classic!! Here’s me heading out of Colorado at night driving 6 hours into the Arizona desert to meet my friends in the middle of nowhere guided by nothing but a location on Google Earth we had predetermined earlier. Well…it’s the journey that counts right?

It’s still hard to believe but I found the camp spot with relatively little difficulty and we managed to stay up all night celebrating the run about to take place. The boys had ticked off a 1st descent by paddling the lake spillway concrete ramp and were super psyched on their good fortune. They also managed to run into Tyler Williams THE Arizona paddling guru who showed them the put in, which is notoriously difficult to find and also on private land. Things were lining up.

We departed the following morning at the bright and early time of 10am, having hooked up with the rest of the crew driving down from Fort Collins and bee-lined it to the put in. I’m sure glad they did the legwork because it would have added a lot of hours to our trip had this earlier work not been completed. We parked, loaded up, and hiked across a barren landscape barely believing a river yet alone a kayak run existed out here. Low and behold, a slot canyon materialized with a river in it! Voila here we go!!! We lowered our boats 30m straight down a sandstone cliff into the canyon and then went around and scrambled down. This was shaping up to be awesome.

This run is incredibly scenic. It’s a slot sandstone canyon with walls rising up at times to 100m. The climbing is epic and the whitewater fun grade IV. We had mellow flows and I knew we were in for a treat. One after another the rapids appeared challenging us to boat scout, yet nothing too difficult. One rapid in particular had a sweet boof to an eddy with a treacherous siphon directly below which ended up being characteristic of the run. Nothing too challenging, yet siphons lurking here and there. As we paddled deeper into the canyon, the shoreline left and we were truly slotted out. Water meeting walls. The daylight began to fade a little and we knew we had to find camp. Tyler mentioned a camp in the middle of the slot that was good to go and we found it. We set up camp, enjoying the position - Kayaking takes you were no one else can go!

The next morning saw us rallying the signature rapid of the run called “God’s Pocket”. It had 2 obvious lines both of them really sweet. I paddled on ahead and got out at the bottom to shoot pics climbing on top of a huge boulder. What a view! I won’t go into much further detail about the run suffice it to say that it’s a must do in winter if you’re anywhere near northern AZ. It has it all…fun rapids, incredible scenery, amazing petroglyphs, exotic wildlife, and epic camping. This run doesn’t see much action and access to the put in is on private land. We met the landowners who are 5th generation homesteaders and staunchly vigilant about their property. They live in the middle of nowhere and like their place in this world. If you go please respect them and their property.

"This run is incredibly scenic with slot sandstone canyon walls rising up to 100m, epic climbing and fun class IV whitewater."

Getting ready to lower boats 30m into the canyon / Boof to eddy / Enjoying the campfire