Friday, June 10, 2016

Gladiator Creek: Rock Quarry Access

4.5 miles   :      Class IV/IV+(V)

Stream: This is the section of Gladiator Creek I run most often.  The hike puts you in about 1 mile below Vesuvius Falls, thus removing that drop from the equation along with ending up with a shorter hike while still getting the vast majority of the class fun whitewater.  There isn't much to say other than it is fun, there are loads of rapids, and everything is scoutable/portage-able.  Once on the creek, the rapids start off pretty quick with some bedrock and don't let up until the bridge marking the beginning of the lower section.  Depending on flows, the rapids are IV-IV+.  The only class V rapid at the flows I have run the creek is The Punisher, on the lower section, which can be portaged.  I always appreciate the amount of variety in the rapids.

Flows:  There is gauge information on the main page and gauge page.   Iv'e had a good time on this section of Gladiator Creek down to 2 and even a little under when I took out, though 3 is just about perfect.  It could also be paddled higher but you'll need to decide for yourself whether you want to push that realm.

Access:  To get there, hike up to the bridge at the start of the Lower section, staying on the mainline.  There are no turns, but at any major junctions stay right.  Cross the bridge and continue upstream, and uphill for a steep mile.  At the far end of the rock quarry, the road takes a sharp right.  Just as the road turns right, an overgrown road veers to the left of the main graveled road.  Get onto this overgrow road and follow it as far as it will take you, the end is on an obvious nose of land.   Just beyond the landing at the end of the overgrown road was a small clear cut in 2020, enter the trees just to the left of it, there is a bit of a path here.  You will need to loop back around to the right once past the clear cut to stay on what remains of a grade from an ancient spur road.  Try to follow that down to the flood plain, then over to the creek. 

*If you wait too long to veer right, you will have a steep, slippery descent to the creek.

*If you follow the nose the whole way, you will miss some whitewater.

Click on the maps to increase resolution, and consider printing them out or saving to a phone to carry during the hike if you plan to do the creek.


Zoomed to Rock Quarry

Note:  While the parts of Gladiator upstream from this section leave me with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, the rock quarry section always puts a smile on my face.  If this photo is indicative of that, Priscilla agrees.

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