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Tuesday, 28 February 2017 16:40

Taking On The Pecos During Summer

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A nice summer story to escape the winter cold:  Scott Gartman always had a special relationship with the Pecos River at Lake Amistad.  Last year Scott decided to do something different by taking his son on another Pecos River adventure, but this time with a twist...Not only would they be heading upriver from Highbridge and doing the full 60 miles, but they would also be making the trip in the scorching summer heat. 

The Pecos River at Lake Amistad has always fascinated Scott -- ever since discovering an enormous room with hundreds of pictographs on its walls during his first weekend trip there. Inevitably, numerous return trips as well as many years of learning and exploring everything about the river and its surrounding region followed. Last year Scott decided to do something different by taking his son on another Pecos River adventure, but this time with a twist...Not only would they be heading upriver from Highbridge and doing the full 60 mile trip, but they would also be making the trip in the scorching summer heat. Joining Scott and his son on this “Dude’s Trip” were his best friend Kyle, along with his son.

After spending a lot of time on preparations (which included building a custom yak rack) the group took off. The video Scott shot of the trip clearly shows what an awesome experience it was and why it will be fondly remembered by everyone who joined him. Scott initially used a motor for the first few miles while riding in a canoe and towing the boys, who were in kayaks connected by ropes, behind him. The motor added some extra weight to the trip, but Scotts knew the river well enough not to take any chances.  The Pecos has the tendency to turning into a horrible wind tunnel that could result in a full day of extra paddling if the winds got bad on the return trip.

Painted Canyon - Pecos River 2016 from Fly River Media on Vimeo.


During this trip Scott revisited the shelter covered in 5,000 year old rock art which he discovered during his first encounter with the river before passing through Deadman’s Canyon. The guys did plenty of swimming, fishing and camping. Although the summer sun was a big issue, the group had the time of their lives and Scott narrowly missed out on catching a huge bass. In the end he had to settle for its much smaller partner, after he was unable to get it off his line.

Of course, the trip wasn’t without its dangers either and the group took a lot of care around the rapids. With deeper water, huge boulders and big turns it took some skill and ingenuity to get the kayaks as well as a heavily loaded canoe through safely. At one point they had to deal with a kayak flipping over, but thankfully nobody got hurt and the only casualty was a rod that wasn’t properly leashed up. All the hard work paid off when they reached Painted Canyon, which was their final destination for the trip. After admiring the majesty of the Painted Canyon rapids they still had to set up camp and plan an escape route in case of flooding.

After an amazing time at Painted Canyon, which included catching and frying their own fish, it was time for the arduous journey back to civilization. This task was made even more difficult due to the little Yamaha 2 horse motor, which worked fine at the start of the trip, suddenly giving them lots of problems. As an experienced outdoorsman, Scott had plans in place in case anything goes wrong, but it still took a lot of hard work to get to the entrance of Deadman’s Canyon. Even then the high water levels meant going a few miles further in order to find a suitable camping spot. Having gone so far, the group then decided that, instead of camping, it might be a better idea to push on a little further and head home, provided they could manage to call a friend using their satellite phone. As luck would have it, the canyon walls didn’t interfere with the reception and they managed to make arrangements for an early pickup.

If you would like to read more about this trip, head over to the Flyrivermedia website for the detailed four-part account written by Scottt. 

Last modified on Friday, 03 March 2017 10:29
Naomi Bolton

Yakangler's Community Manager and Editor - in charge of sourcing news and articles for the website.  If you have any ideas for new content, please do get in touch with me at: [email protected]

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