Sunday, February 17, 2008

TR: Rock Creek/EF Lewis III-IV (V)

Little Rascal

Still fighting low snow, not much water and an itch to do something new I found myself gravitating towards Rock Creek. (Though there are many Rock Creeks, this one flows into the EF Lewis above Moulton Falls) After a brief call to Alan Douglas the plan was set and we were off. We quickly set shuttle and drove to the bridge that marked the put in.
Alan preparing to put on.
While there was ample flow to float your kayak it was still a small creek. The upper section of the creek isn't very steep, but moves along with a constant gradient. This is a good thing as this is also the most likely section to have wood problems. We encountered some minor wood, but nothing requiring a portage. After about a mile, Cedar Creek comes in on the left and added about 60% to the flow. It was enough that we began to question if we had put in on the correct creek. We proceeded downstream and the scenery began to improve when we came to a small tributary coming in on the left. It was a nice 4' ledge that looked like a nice park and huck. (There wasn't much more than class II action above this point making the drop look more enticing) But, I decided it really wasn't worth it to get out and carry my boat up the bank to run. The next corner after this the character of the creek changed and we found ourselves quickly grabbing an eddy on river right. We had come to Little Rascal and the beginning of the good stuff. After a quick scout I decided to run it first. While the guidebook states that you can run the middle slot and get buried in the foam I opted for the boof just to the right of center. Alan followed my line shortly after and we continued on downstream.

Alan hitting the boof at Little Rascal. The slot is to his left.
The creek turns to bedrock at this point and some nice surf waves show up. A couple of nice rapids appear below this before coming to the last large rapid before the confluence with EF Lewis. We took a quick scout for wood before continuing as the canyon became tight and it was difficult to see through the rapid.

Alan scouts the upper half of the last rapid on Rock Creek.
We exited the creek and found ourselves in a large river with some fun rapids. I was surprised by the amount of action once on the EF Lewis. For some reason I didn't think there would be much. Now that we were on the EF Lewis, we kept our eyes open for the last and biggest rapid of the day, Naked Falls. Naked Falls is a three part drop separated by short pools. The first drop looked the hardest as the line through the hole looked thin. The second drop looked good and the third has a clear line right of center. After a lengthy scout on river right, we decided to ferry to river left and portage at least the first drop. (Eddies are scarce on the right side above Naked Falls, so be cautious approaching this drop) We didn't find any place that looked good to launch above the second drop so we both put back in in the pool above the third part of the rapid. We both had clean lines.

The first two drops of Naked Falls.
Looking downstream at the last drop of Naked Falls.
We decided to take out at the confluence with Yacolt Creek as the eddies above Moulton Falls were small and not really worth the risk. (I scouted the falls before we put on and had no interest to run it due to the size of the hole and the undercut wall)

The gage on the EF Lewis was reading about 2,200 cfs at Heisson and slowly falling. This seemed to be a nice low first time flow. (However, it is important to note that things had been falling for two days without any rain and snow melt is most likely what was keeping the creek and the EF Lewis up.)

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