13 hours ago
Monday, March 16, 2009
A long slow drizzle that started late Friday the 13th and continued through Saturday only got a few creeks in the Chattanooga area up to a runnable level. Suck Creek got up to around 4.5' North Chick. Creek ran at a minimum flow, and many rivers on the plateau came up as well.
I met Jeremy at the takeout for Middle Creek to asses the level. The new gauge was reading 1' and we weren't sure if the creek would have enough water, but it is a thin margin between not enough water and too much. A coin toss determined that we would drop into the gorge... "best two out of three?" Just then Nick pulled up fired up about trying something new and with the nudge of his enthusiasm we headed up the mountain.
We hiked down past Rainbow Lake and stayed on the trail until we got past Rainbow Falls and proceeded down to the creek.
Every time I go in here I tell myself I am never going back. I tend to go back about once a year, I must forget. But after this trip I find myself not coming to that conclusion. Having enough flow and it being cleaned out minimized the portaging to only two mandatory portages due to wood. Next time I think we'd all like to bump it up as far as the water level goes, and with a little more work with a saw and another motivated but small group I'd go in again.
The run is about a mile long and drops around 700+ feet. I think we managed to run just about every runnable drop amongst our crew. There were probably 2 others out there that would go but you'd have to take the hit, and someone else has already taken the hit for that glory.
I am not going to provide any sort of river description other than to say its steep and dangerous; full of sieves and undercuts. In fact just to give an example there is water flowing down stream to the entrance of "shoot me in the face with a 9" that is coming across the top of some boulders which pours into the rocks at the runnable line, below those boulder is a pool (fed by a sieve above) with a falls that falls into the back of one of the caves near the landing of the first drop, this falls actually falls back under the flow going towards the entrance. If that description doesn't make sense it is because the structure of the rapids and sieves that create them often don't make sense.
First Decent of the center line of "Dirty Willy"- Nick M.
Superman Slide is a full on chargefest. There are two drops that make up the entrance that are still unrun and remain there for the taking... its only your face...
tighter than the picture makes it look.
A little more boogy gets you to Craze Maze. The top drop has been run before, this trip was the first descent of the second drop, the third portion of the drop, which consists of a three drop series and is really the best part, has been run but was portaged due to bad wood.
Setting Safety to avoid a 25 foot drop into a sieve:
Posted by Captain Ralph at 2:25 PM