Friday, July 15, 2011

Laggard snow slows backcountry ventures

But rafters will enjoy longer season in Rocky Mountain highcountry


JACKSON, Wyo.—If much less so than in June, rivers remain high and the high mountains are still patched with expanses of snow. And that's a problem for any number of outfitters and guides who rely upon a different seasonal sequence.

"For us being a fishing business, people aren't walking in the store if they can't fish," said Rob Parkins, guide at Westbank Anglers, to the Jackson Hole News&Guide.

The Snake River, he explained, is too high and dirty for trout fishing.

From Colorado comes the same complaint. "A lot of guys are working on their golf game," said Dave Johnson, who owns the Crystal Fly Shop in Carbondale, west of Aspen.

The Aspen Times reports that snow and high-water of creeks may preclude hikes on high-country trails for several more weeks, including the popular trek between Crested Butte and Aspen. And even those willing to posthole through high-elevation snow may properly turn back from crossing streams and creeks that remain dangerously swollen with fast-moving and icy cold runoff.

For the motorized crowd, life is no better. Forest Service Rangers say many roads contain snow, water or mud, and often all three.

For rafters, it's a mixed bag. In Wyoming, a rafting guide says tourists have been canceling trips because they've heard that boats have been capsizing in the Snake River.

In the Aspen area, as well as near Vail, however, boaters may be able to provide thrilling rides through July on nearby rivers that by now often are reduced to a rubble of rocks.

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