Winter 2000-1 Exploratory Update

I admit that it has gotten to the point that I'm almost disappointed if I'm not doing a run I have not done before. Even better is doing a run that may have never been done before, or at least not documented. With this continual quest for new water comes risks of the unknown. The greatest of these is usually having the run end up not being good for lack of rapids, paucity of water, or plentitude of trees. It is always good to walk something first and even better to chop out the trees. But this is not always possible. So it is with gratitude that I credit my co-conspirators who have had the patience to put up with my quest through the good and not so good runs. In addition to these runs, I've also gotten on the upper and lower Cahaba, Salt creek, and one or two runs new to me but well known to others. If you have questions about any of these runs, give me a call or ask me at the meeting. So, for the benefit of all, here is what we've found so far: (all of these are on the site or will be soon)

Class I
Upper Blackburn 2/10/01: Shane Hulsey told me about this one near Oneonta. Chris Parker was taken hostage after a Short Creek run and we weaseled a shuttle from one of the Birmingham boys. We almost didn't make it because we got behind a slow moving funeral for 15 miles out of Albertville. This run is short and scenic, and needs lots of water. If you are in the area, it might be worth dropping by as a second run of the day. We saw a big hawk right by shore munching on a dead deer. You have to paddle a short way across Inland Lake.

Class II
Mulberry 67 to 278 2/13/01: I actually ran this delightful, easy run with the very seldom seen John Parker. We almost ran a 150'/mile ditch but decided two people was one too few. Murray wrote a nice trip report for a subsequent trip so I won't go into detail. Be sure to check out the redneck recreational area lighting fixture on river left about halfway down.

Blue Springs Creek 2/22/01: Dave Curry, Wade Amis and I ran this after Chitwood. It is just off CR 26, which goes from Blountsville to the Mulberry upper put-in area. It is all class II with nice constant gradient. Recent rain is a must, though it dos have its own gage, probably to check on sewage outflow from the Blountsville plant. There are a few logs. It may have good play at higher water. When you get to the Mulberry, the volume is big and the water moves quickly over the 2.5 miles to the upper Mulberry put-in. One or two big waves can be caught if you are so inclined.

Bridge Creek 2/17/01: Dave Branham, Gary Holder, Richard Brown and I ran this creek in North Cullman. There is a really cool class V rapid at the put-in at Lake George. We only ran the last two drops of it. After that, the creek is class I and II with logs and lots of sewer pipes. These pipes have to be run over, walked around, or ducked under throughout the run. Their throughput adds to the bouquet of the creek most odiferously since we saw at least some evidence of leaks. Running this creek may be hazardous to your health. In the middle of the run, you paddle 1 mile across Eva Road Lake.

Perkins Creek 11/00?: At good water this is borderline class III on the western edge of Arab. We tried to run Mill Pond/Cotaco, but it was too high that day. Gary, DaveB, and I made the mistake of putting in one bridge too high. There were rapids but they were surrounded by briar infested log portages. Even the section one bridge above Matt Morrow Road has a couple walks in it. Do not repeat our mistake by doing the upper part of this run.

Class III
Mill (Vinemont) 1/30/01: We looked at Mill Pond / Cotaco, but it was too low. This is 4 mile long borderline class II/III for most of the run. DaveB, Phillip Donnell and I encountered one big easy slide and very few logs. This run would be a nice introduction to creek paddling. The rapids are long but pretty gradual. Harder than the Locust, but not overly so.

East Fork Flint Creek 11/01?: Dave Curry already wrote an excellent trip report. This really only has about 3-4 class IIIs, but is a fun run.

Gurley Creek 3/04/01: I think Dave Curry is writing a trip report about this. It is fun class III for a short stretch, then pretty flat with a nice wave or two, then you go over a 7' dam if you wish.

Class IV
Chitwood Creek 2/22/01: This flows south out of Oneonta past their sewage treatment plant (do we see a pattern developing?). Wade Amis and DaveC were the principals. We left work about 9am after a late night rain. More rain occurred to the south so we headed there to meet Wade. Chitwood is a tributary to the Calvert Prong. It is due south of Cleveland, not far from the Locust put-in. The run is only three miles long, and is flat at first, then has a mile that drops 100'. Dave was nervous, and really got nervous after Wade pinned. Wade pinned heads-up facing downstream, so he was OK, but he was going nowhere. He could have punched, but he was at the top of a rapid that had a tree at the bottom. The water was low, so he was probably OK swimming, but it was not an attractive option. Dave and I went into action without discussion and set up a static line from the two banks. After some struggle, we finally got he and his boat full of water to shore. This little episode illustrates two things: 1) Don't flush into rapids you don't know if you don't have a sure thing eddy in sight and 2) know how to deal with pins. We set up the static line quickly and that helped. This will be a really cool, short run when the logs are removed. It will have about 3-5 class IVs and a bunch of III. Recent heavy rains are required.

Mill Pond Cotaco 2/17/01: We finally ran it! Gary H, DaveB, RichardB, and I went the day after an evening rain. We deemed -4" to be enough water, which it turned out to be. DaveC and I first walked this late last year, then the two Daves and I chopped out the first 1.5 miles or so, and we met the landowner. I found out Ricky Pollard and Terry Yancey had run it at low water a few years ago and painted a gage at what they thought 0 should be. Gary, Dave and I found out that 1.5' was definitely too high the day we ended up running Perkins after we walked out of Mill Pond at the top of the steep part. That day, we waited twice on shore for the water to come down but it was not going down fast enough. We ferried across to river left, then carried up the bank and took out in someones back yard. When we got to the bottom, the take-out bridge was well under water.

In February, -4" ended up to be low but doable. 6" is probably where high begins. There were several class IV drops, not all of which were where we thought they'd be from our dry scouts. We scouted some but not all for a variety of reasons. Gary 'Log Probe' Holder was able to find routes through log jams so we only had to get out of our boats once to walk. This run is only about 3.8 miles longs and is a technical delight. It will have to be run again.