Monday, November 29, 2010

SF Rickreall Creek: dont always listen to the locals

Last week my dad and I were up in the woods near my school when a hunter stopped to inform us that the drop I had just run was surely frowned upon by the authorities. I deflected that statement and went into my usual questioning of locals as to whether they knew of any waterfalls nearby. He informed me that yes, there was a drop that he believed salmon would not be able to make it up (10-15 ft?) on the SF Rickreall creek that was easy to access.
I still recall the directions.
-travel up the road until you cross the South fork of Rickreall Creek. There will be some logs in the road.
-the road to your right is the road to take, do not drive as there are signs posted against it. Its only half a mile that you can drive anyway, so it shouldn't be a big deal.
-The road comes to a washout, cross this and a couple more for a short time until the road ends for good. Follow the hill down to the right and you will hear and see the waterfall.
Seemed simple enough to me. I decided that the gates were only open for two more days, so I went in today. I left my house at 1:20 thinking I'd be home before dark. I got to the road he described and started hiking.
After what was clearly over a mile of hiking I was having serious doubts as to the accuracy of this mans report. I finally came to the washout and started dealing with those, each one took about ten minutes to negotiate and there were a handful. I was becoming concerned with light at this point but the prospect of a new waterfall was enough to keep me going. After finally coming to the end of the road, I started off through the woods. I could tell it wasn't going to stay light for that much longer, so after seeing only braided channels and wood upstream, I decided to put on. I made it fifteen yards before I was out of my boat again for wood. Then about 30 yards before the next. The story stayed much the same for some time. I saw a slide coming in on the left that looked like a good ten footer, so I hiked up to run it for "fun insurance", as I slid down the "fun" slide, I realized it was more like 5 feet and angled low enough to be totally not fun. My perception was dwindling to the point where even that had looked fun, talk about a low quality creek. There was one slide on the main creek that was remotely fun (it probably wasn't, I'm sure the creek was just getting to me) that I ran after a quick scout.
-I'll name it so I feel like I accomplished something. I'll go with the BB slide (for bad beta).
After this I was realizing I should probably hike out. I passed one good opportunity to get up to the road only to go another hundred yards, turn the corner, and see about six wood portages downstream. I bailed up the steep slope on river right, hit the road and never looked back. It was dark by the time I got changed and started my drive home.
It was fun for me to go on a mission like this, I'm just glad I didn't try to talk anyone into coming with me.
Lesson learned, I had already written this creek off on the maps as worthless, but the call of an unknown waterfall was too much to pass up, wish I would have found it... so maybe no lessons were learned, I'd do the same thing again.

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