Crewing the CT: Curecanti National Recreation Area

There’s a big boat ramp at Curecanti and I wasn’t sure if it was free or not so I drove up to the guy and said, is it free to take a kayak out here? And he looked at me like I was crazy and said yes but…where is your kayak? So I explained that it was an inflatable kayak and he was very skeptical but said it was in fact free. I probably should have tested inflating the kayak before this trip but c’est la vie. So I was parked at the boat ramp reading instructions and trying to put it together and it was more pieces than I was expecting but I got it done and headed out on the reservoir, heading for what looked like a canyon across the way. I did not bring my camera with me because I was not super confident that the inflatable kayak would actually keep me afloat.

It started off pretty grand. It took a second to get used to the buoyancy and a longer paddle would have helped because the inflatable is much wider than a normal kayak. So I’m toodling along, crossing this body of water and then the wind starts to pick up. And here we find the big problem with an inflatable kayak. I physically could not move this giant balloon of a boat against the wind. I had to get into shallow water and walk/drag the kayak to get closer to the boat ramp, and then the crossing was perpendicular to the wind so I just started way way upwind of where I needed to be. So overall medium success. I think it would be a lot of fun if there was a bit of a current. Although it would have to be a point to point paddle.

You can really see how I headed out confidently in a straight line and hugged the coast all the way back. I think the water must have been quite low because I was walking the shoreline where the map seems to think I was out in the water.

I camped at the campground right there that night and I was glad I had a car set up instead of a tent because it was really just overnight parking spaces. But I got a great spot overlooking the water and was able to play around with some night sky photography. The campground was also hot. Again, it was just a parking lot so there was absolutely no shade and the whole Curecanti and Gunnison area is not at elevation so it was toasty all around. I had a great time but I was looking forward to getting up into the mountains for the rest of the Colorado Trail. And I was confident given how hot it was for me that my mom and brother would be booking it across the plateau to get out of the heat so I wanted to get in pick up position early.

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