Thursday, January 28, 2010


{despite the lack of photos this is going up to keep the news from going stale, will edit to add photos later, Taste It}

I used to think I was a grill master. I grilled all the time and could nail all types of meats prepared to various gradiations. I always cooked on charcoal only. Lately I've been cooking on gas and have had inconsistent results (although one may expect the opposite). And so it goes; sometimes you nail it, some times you come out ok, and others? well, you heal to come back and do it again another day.

Field reports have been pouring in with the rain from Raven Fork and Henderson Creek at juicy flows. When the weekend rolled around we did a road ride which was nice until Mark suggested that we climb Robert's Mill Rd., a notoriously steep section of road that climbs Walden's Ridge. After a few $1 tacos we headed over to paddle Suck Creek a couple of times and grilled up some dirty bird to perfection.

Another front rolled through early Sunday morning. We slowly rallied and met up at the takeout just downstream of the confluence.
The creek started off narrow and busy. The water level was a little high for a first decent and probably a little too high in general. Aside from portages due to wood and water levels the creek was pretty good quality and there were lines on all the rapids. I think it could become a gem; for a first decent found about 15 years after the gold rush on The Ridge it is of great character. It is most certainly class V, not the anticipated Class IV slides that it was sold as. Rock creek after the confluence had tripled in flow since we were first at the take out jumping from 1.5' early morning to 3' while setting shuttle and 6.75' at the end of the day.

JR found Middle Creek after pouring over some topos and online maps. He later went in and did some work cleaning out the creek and made a couple attempts at checking flows until the fronts aligned and provided enough water for this creek that doesn't even appear as a blue line on most maps. The small drainage and lack of blue line status is likely what led this to being overlooked in the past. The access, of course, is of tenuous nature and bit of diplomacy gleaned from the example set by our teacher Ron Stewart allowed us in that day. The likelihood of this being repeatable and consistent is slim, just as all access seems to be in this area of the ridge.
[Caveat: There have been several instances of people not in the know doing things such as riding around the top of the mountain with a bullhorn yelling out the window and telling lies to a landowner's wife with whom access had been negotiated, that shit won't be tolerated and will be met with consequences. In the instance of the lies we talked the landowner down, next time we may just point out which car is yours and look the other way.]

Turner missed the takeout and ran a huge hole that sucked him out of his boat. He Spitz'd it over to the side and grabbed a tree. Coming through a yard on the side of the river a man stepped up and handed him his paddle. After making fun of Turner for a minute he drove the group of three back upstream to the takeout they had missed where he told us all that the hole Turner swam out of wasn't that big. He suggested a couple of locations that we might spot the boat floating downstream. We arrived to the boat ramp just in time to see the boat float around the corner, just a second later it'd have been out of sight and never seen again. Turner stripped off his dry clothes jumped into my boat and took off around the corner into the fading light.

Another group of charges were a little late to the party and opted to explore a different creek for what is very likely another first decent: Clemmons Creek, They put in below the mini-gorge (which was not cleaned of wood and is reportedly nasty looking when there is no water in it) for the CO style creek- boogy, no eddys, large holes and waves and unexpected wood. They reported very high water and expect that at normal flows it would be class IV. Due to the high flows they completed the run in about 20- 30 minutes.

Today as Burrow ran the second drop of Stairway switch he crashed. He hiked out of the gorge spitting up blood. A trip to the doc revealed broken ribs and a broken clavicle. Sometimes you have to put the meat back on the grill and sometimes you have to eat it well done.

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