Dirty Devil

Utah's Dirty Devil River has always been known to be a low-to-no water river, and catching it at a decent flow is very hard to achieve. Farmers have the right to divert water from the river as of April 1, and the snows (if there is much) doesn't melt until May and June. Most guidebooks say to run it before April 1 which is what we attemted to do. On March 19, Bob, Dirk and I set out from outside of Hanksville, each in a solo S14 Canyon fully self-supported for 9 days including carrying all of our water!
Everyone said to pack as light as possible, but we knew that SOARs can carry larger loads with less draft because of their longer water, and the unique design of the hull. For the first five days, the average depth of water was less than 6"! Thin threads of water 4 - 5 inches deep and barely 30" wide did not leave much room for error, as we constantly searched for the deepest seam, usually hugging the edge of a riverbank before it crossed to the other side of the river through very thin braids.
Sometimes we could push off the sand to a deeper channel, sometimes, all we had to do was get out and walk next to the SOAR guiding it to more water, and a few times we had to pull and drag them. Everyday we had to exit our SOARs dozens of times: in and out, in and out. Fortunately sitting on a seat is much easier than sitting low in an inflatable kayak.
The other amazing thing about a SOAR, is that it draft far less than a packraft! The only packrafter we saw complained about how much he had to get out, because his draft was several inches deeper than the SOARs. His weight was dispersed over a much smaller area. The 3 of us were happy to have the creature comforts that we brought along for 9 days.
There is virtually no whitewater until that last mile when the Dirty Devil cuts deeply through Lake Powell sediment. There are a few riffles, but mostly low, braided water. I have been on tougher canyon rivers: The Escalante in 2010 when the water ran out and we did way more dragging than the Dirty D.
The payoff: There's not another soul out there is this vast amazing part of canyon country. There are some great amazing side hikes, and Happy Canyon is one of the most beautiful spots I've ever been in.
The only super windy day we had happened on our first layover day when we were hiking up Sams Box. We were fortunate that we have good weather most days, although a few nights' temperature got down into the 30s.
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