Thinking about Flaming Gorge

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Chinook
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Thinking about Flaming Gorge

Post by Chinook » Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:06 pm

About this time every year I come down with a bad case of cabin fever, which I know can only be cured with a good boat trip, so I start dreaming and imagining, and inevitably the trip planning process kicks into gear. This year even more so than usual. Since I can't rely on the Canadian border being open again for the upcoming season, I'm once again considering domestic waters. I'm thinking about heading over to Flaming Gorge Reservoir, on the Wyoming/Utah border. I did a youtube search and ran across a series of 5 great videos by Starsloop, documenting Galactica's cruise (26M) there about 5 or 6 years ago. The videos are very well done, and have definitely piqued my interest in sailing those waters. For anyone who enjoys viewing some well done videos of a Mac sailing around on some scenic waters, I recommend checking these out.

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Russ
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Re: Thinking about Flaming Gorge

Post by Russ » Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:45 am

Yes, Doug has some EXCELLENT videos and has traveled to many places with his Mac.

--Russ

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Re: Thinking about Flaming Gorge

Post by BlueSky Sailor » Fri Feb 26, 2021 9:03 am

I have every intention of making Flaming Gorge but will have to wait for retirement at years end.
Maybe 2022. Got the boat, the RV to pull it with. No reason not to go other than the work it takes to get ready.
First order of business is to get new genoa ordered and replaced. Stitching on Sunbrella coming apart and I've decided to keep the old dog for a spare and order up a new one. New sheets line.
Yes, Flaming Gorge looks like someplace I'd like to explore. One caveat, I don't like 100 degree heat especially on the water. I would have to pencil out a time where day time highs hopefully not over about 80 degrees. Otherwise, my fun meter really starts downhill quickly. LOL
I've yet to overnight on the boat. Like a dreamer, I've spent lots of money on little "things" like propane/butane stove top, Mr. Heater catalytic heater, tons of spare parts and tools. So far my sailing has been limited to small inland lakes. Getting ready to branch out. :macm:

Larry

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Chinook
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Re: Thinking about Flaming Gorge

Post by Chinook » Sun Feb 28, 2021 5:30 pm

Flaming Gorge is at an elevation of 6000 feet, so air is thin and weather subject to sudden changes. Average high temp in June is in the high 70's, July and August average in the mid 80's. Watching the above referenced videos, some days were quite chilly and others got nice and warm. I doubt that extreme heat occurs there very often.

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Curwen
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Re: Thinking about Flaming Gorge

Post by Curwen » Mon Mar 01, 2021 1:44 pm

Flaming Gorge is a beautiful place. Don't want to sail there.

Too many people and too many canyon walls that lead to wild winds.

Strawberry Reservation is a beautiful place. We try to spent a three day weekend there every year. Lots of nooks and crannys to hide in.

Wind can get wild there if you are not careful.

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Chinook
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Re: Thinking about Flaming Gorge

Post by Chinook » Wed Mar 03, 2021 7:07 pm

Inland waters in general are subject to strong winds and sudden changes in direction. The high elevation adds to the challenge. I do enjoy poking into new places though. I'll check out Strawberry and maybe see you out there some time.

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Re: Thinking about Flaming Gorge

Post by Todd » Wed Mar 17, 2021 9:52 pm

Chinook wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 7:07 pm
Inland waters in general are subject to strong winds and sudden changes in direction. The high elevation adds to the challenge. I do enjoy poking into new places though. I'll check out Strawberry and maybe see you out there some time.
I agree Flaming Gorge is near the top of my list of achievable destinations if I take a week off. Have been eyeing this Lake for quite awhile. Just exploring a new place is half the fun. Most of the sailing out here seems to be somewhat dynamic anyways.
Todd
'07 26M

:macm:

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Chinook
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Re: Thinking about Flaming Gorge

Post by Chinook » Thu Jun 03, 2021 10:17 pm

Trip to Flaming Gorge is all planned. Had initially planned on a 5 day cruise on Yellowstone Lake before driving down to Flaming Gorge. However, the hassles of sailing on Yellowstone Lake have substantially increased since we went there in 2003. In addition to boat inspection for invasives, the backcountry permit process is a real hassle. All on line, and most of the campsites (yes, even if you anchor out there, you need an assigned campsite location) are already reserved. Several of the interesting ones are now closed, and others don't allow you to walk beyond the picnic table. After considering all the problems, we decided to spend that time on Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park instead. Still need the inspection and a boat permit, but no backcountry permit, so once on the water we can go where we wish, and anchor out where it suits us, which is what cruising in a Mac should be all about. Plus, the scenery is far more spectacular on Jackson Lake. The second half of our trip will be on Flaming Gorge Reservoir. We will start near the dam and work our way uplake, poking into the many arms along the way. Looking forward to getting back on the water.

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Re: Thinking about Flaming Gorge

Post by OverEasy » Fri Jun 04, 2021 1:58 am

Hi Chinook!

Hope you have a wonderful and enjoyable trip!
Please share some of your impressions and photos if you can. Have a great time! 👍

8) 8) 🐩

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Chinook
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Re: Thinking about Flaming Gorge

Post by Chinook » Wed Jul 07, 2021 11:07 pm

We got back from Flaming Gorge a week ago, and I can report that the trip was highly enjoyable. We initially headed for Yellowstone, using the boat as our camping vehicle at the West Yellowstone KOA for a couple of nights while we played tourist in the park. We had given up on the idea of sailing on Yellowstone Lake, due to the many hassles. Most of the lakeshore is classified as wilderness, and you need a backcountry permit, with specific nights assigned to specific campsites. With advanced reservations, many of the better sites were already booked. Some were not even allowed to be used (bear management areas), and at some, you couldn't walk for more than 100 yards on the shore. Too restrictive for me, so we opted to spend our boating time in that region on Jackson Lake, in Grand Teton National Park. It ended up being a great choice. Jackson Lake is a large natural lake, with a controlling dam at the outlet raising the water level about 20 feet. It's not classified as wilderness, however, the west shoreline is very remote and lightly used. I can't think of a more spectacular place to cruise. The Teton Range soars more than 7000 vertical feet above you, starting virtually at the water's edge. Wildlife included elk, moose, deer, eagles and osprey. We spent 4 nights on Jackson Lake, launching at Coulter Bay, which is a good starting point, except for the fact that there is no longer a dock at the launch ramp. Good free long term parking was available.
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After pulling out of Jackson Lake we headed south, to Flaming Gorge Reservoir. We drove down to the east of the reservoir, down to the south end. The little town of Dutch John is near the dam, and we stayed a night at Flaming Gorge Resort to stage and prepare for sailing on the lake. The motel there is very nice, which caters to both fly fishermen who come for the big trout on the Green River downstream from the dam, and to power boaters who cruise the lake waters. There are two launch ramps near the dam, Cedar Springs west of the dam and Mustang Ridge east of the dam. We favored Mustang, which was a bit less exposed to wind and which had a better "T" dock for pulling out. The reservoir is about 90 miles in length, with an extensive shoreline which extends up numerous side canyons. The southern portion, in Utah, is spectacularly scenic, with steep canyon walls, often brick red in color. We found numerous floating docks and mooring buoys at the head of small inlets, as well as several improved boat camps. We anchored out most of the time, but did spend several nights tied to mooring buoys. Shortly after you emerge from the canyon country, the reservoir spreads out into broad desert country. This northern region is mostly in Wyoming. We went north, as far as Upper Spring Creek, but then turned around and headed back to the more interesting red rock canyon region. This reservoir gets a lot of use by power boats, with water skiing and wakeboarding being popular. Water temp was in the mid 60's most places. Sightseeing in pontoon boats is also popular, as is fishing. Lots of boats trolling for the big (up to 50 lb) lake trout and abundant kokanee. I mostly fished for trout and smallmouth bass at the head of inlets, with decent success. Wildlife sightings included deer, antelope, and bighorn sheep. At several of our anchorages we were able to go ashore and go on interesting hikes. It was early enough in the season that wildflowers were still fairly abundant. Daytime temps were in the mid 70's to low 80's and winds were mostly mild, except in the afternoons, when it could get breezy. We were usually tied up by then, so weren't able to do much sailing. We were on Flaming Gorge for 7 days, and really enjoyed our time there.

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We stayed a couple extra nights at Dutch John after pulling the boat out, so I could go on a guided flyfishing trip on the Green River. We floated about 8 miles of river on what they call the "C" section, fishing from a drift boat. The fishing was terrific, with mostly mountain whitefish in the 1 to 2 pound range hitting the fly. I probably caught and released close to 20. The trout were a bit more elusive, but I did catch a rainbow and several german browns, including two that were in the 20 inch, 3 lb range. Great fighters and beautiful fish. It was a great way to wrap up a highly enjoyable trip.

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Russ
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Re: Thinking about Flaming Gorge

Post by Russ » Thu Jul 08, 2021 5:49 am

Great trip report. Looks like you had a great time. Great photos. Thanks for sharing.

Yellowstone is reporting some record level of visitors. I saw a photo of the West Yellowstone entrance backed all the way up into the town. We are 60 minutes North but will wait until September to visit when crowds dwindle.
--Russ

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Chinook
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Re: Thinking about Flaming Gorge

Post by Chinook » Thu Jul 08, 2021 8:04 am

Yes, the crowds in Yellowstone were crazy. The backup at the west entrance does indeed extend all the way into town during the peak morning hours. And then, once you get in, it doesn't help when a bison decides to walk down the road shoulder for a mile or two along the Madison River. That completely stops all traffic. Forget about camping in the park if you don't have advanced reservations. Grand Teton was also mobbed. Cars were parked on the road shoulder for close to a mile at the turnoff to Jenny Lake Lodge. All the scenic turnouts were filled and backed up. We felt fortunate to be able to reserve a campsite at Coulter Bay, 2 weeks out, which could accommodate our truck and boat trailer. Just driving through the town of Jackson, which stood in the way of our trip south, took more than half an hour, the result of heavy traffic and the town's single traffic light. It's a challenge to maintain a decent frame of mind with all the crowds. Sure felt good to get out on the boat, where we could create some space and find solitude.

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Re: Thinking about Flaming Gorge

Post by OverEasy » Thu Jul 08, 2021 9:19 pm

Wonderful trip and beautiful photos!
Thank you for sharing!

8) 8) 🐩

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Chinook
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Re: Thinking about Flaming Gorge

Post by Chinook » Fri Jul 09, 2021 9:10 am

At the tail end of every trip I make a habit of listing of things which need to be fixed, replaced or upgraded. This year my list included replacing a dinghy oar. Shortly after leaving the dock at the start of our Flaming Gorge cruise, I glanced back and noticed that our inflatable dinghy had only one oar. Somehow, in getting away from the dock one of the oars had gotten knocked loose and fallen off. We searched for it, unsuccessfully. When you have only one dinghy oar you no longer have an oar, but instead, a very inefficient paddle. We still had the kicker motor, so weren't totally out of business, but it just wasn't right not being able to row. I decided to fabricate a temporary replacement. I found a long, thin slat of weathered wood which was close to the proportions of an oar blade. I got out my spare boat hook, which was the right length for an oar handle. In my miscellaneous parts box I found a pair of conduit brackets, and I was able to auger holes in the wooden blade with my leatherman, so I could bolt the blade onto the boat hook handle. For an oar lock I used my old forward hatch lockdown hardware, which I had replaced with a quick release version. Never throw something away. I threaded a bolt into it and clamped it onto the boathook handle with a hose clamp and, voila, Rube Goldberg dinghy oar. It worked fine for the balance of the trip, but now, I need to buy a long term replacement.


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Re: Thinking about Flaming Gorge

Post by Jimmyt » Fri Jul 09, 2021 7:42 pm

Thanks for posting the trip report and pics Mike! Really enjoyed them. Love the McGyver oar, too... :D
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