|The Dolores River Canyon below McPhee Reservoir.|
|An irrigation canal in the Montezuma Valley of southwest Colorado.|
|Driving down the steep gravel road into Dolores Canyon north of Dove Creek.|
Down the steep twisting gravel road to the Dove Creek pump station, where the BLM has its Mountain Sheep Point Recreation Area.
|Mountain Sheep Point Recreation Area in the Dolores Canyon, one of three put-in points for river runners.|
|Boaters rigging up on the Dolores at Big Sheep Point Recreation Area (Dove Creek pump station).|
I then drove the short ways downstream to the Box Elder Campground. It's right on the river, and true to its name there is a lot of shade to be had thanks to the large Boxelder trees (Acer negundo) growing there on the floodplain. There were only a couple sites taken. Doubtless the rest would be filled soon, it being Friday afternoon and a rare boating holiday to boot. I considered camping there, but decided to leave it to the boaters.
|Riverside cliffs of the Dolores Gorge with the boating spill underway.|
|Dolores River at Box Elder Campground, the river still rising.|
|Boaters rigging up at Bradfield Bridge, uppermost put-in point on the lower Dolores below McPhee dam.|
|Dolores River at Bradfield Bridge, 12 miles below the dam.|
Which means that a boat can get stranded somewhere down the gorge if the boatman guesses wrong. High and dry when the river flow slacks off too much. And the country is much too rugged to drive a vehicle down to the river except for all but a few choice spots. So one must plan according. Better safe than stranded.
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the lower Dolores in lush springtime vegetation. Even more so to see the river flowing for several days at least, and river runners that love the Dolores to be able to experience at least a few more days down in that wilderness gorge.
© Copyright 2016 Stephen J. Krieg