Saturday, May 5, 2007

Gordon Creek (Sandy Drainage)

On a couple of occasions in the past I had driven over Gordon creek and noticed that it had the amount of water needed to be considered boatable. I spent some time driving around the area trying to find access points. Google earth came in handy along with a topo map from GI Joes. After a couple months of roaming around the area, hiking down a few logging roads, and one close enough to get frightened encounter with a bear I felt ready to give it a try. The take out was easy enough, right upstream from Oxbow park on Gordon Creek Rd. The put-in we eventually used was down a gated road, that required close to a mile walk down a gravel road, only the last 30 yards or so required bush wacking. I found out later that this creek has been run, but we thought it was a first at the time and treated it so.  Today My dad and I would be joined by Dave Sacquety. The put in was right at the top of a class 2-3 rapid that went around a blind corner into a class III+ bouncing down a few boulders with a log duck that only Dave ran while my dad and I portaged on the right.

 Put in rapid

Bouldery drop.
border="0" alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5061209897166642322" /> The next 75 yards was fun, class III-IV boulder gardens that were a little pinny. After the first section of rapids was a log portage. The rapids cooled down a lot after this, which was nice for the first 1/4 mile until we started wondering if we would ever see another rapid. This section was also full of logs, a situation that got worse the farther we went. After a while it got very tiresome. After the fourth or fifth log portage we started to give up all hope on this run. Here is what much of the middle of the creek looked like
And a typical log portage.
Every once in a while we would get hints that the creek would start moving again, but we were continually dissapointed. Eventually we got to a 200 yard section that was filled with logs and devils club. We portaged three log jams through forests of Devils Club and eventually found another creek that was easier to portage down, this is the one in the video. This creek had about 15 cfs and had portages of its own but was the easiest route. After this was a sketchy portage that included paddling as hard as you could at the right bank in order to ride up on it. My dad went first and had no one to catch him, but still made it just fine even though he had a small log and a rock to clear that neither Dave or I had to deal with. Without an IK this move may not have been possible and the portage would have been at least another twenty minutes through devils club, one of the many reasons not to repeat this trip. My dad still trying to be happy after a fun day of portaging After this awful section we passed under some power lines that were supposed to mark the beggining of the 210 fpm section at the bottom. This seemed unrealistically steep since most of this seemed to drop closer to 100 fpm or less. After a while of class two (better than the middle section of the creek). We arrived at the first and only pool of the trip. Below this was a steep rapid that was different from all the others. It would have been fun, but it had a couple logs. Below this was another class three and then a quick eddy on the right before a rapid we almost ran blind but my dad volunteered for the tough scout on the right. Good idea because it had a small log seive on the bottom right and a log extending into the middle(both right next to unavoidable). This class four turned class five required catching an eddy half way down before things got really nasty. At this point we seriously considered hiking out. With the overgrown road (at best) a couple hundred feet above us and since the move was only class three to the eddy, we decided to go for it. I went first and made the eddy, as I took my hand of my paddle to give the Dave and my dad the thumbs up, my edge caught amd I had my only flipof the day in a really bad place, I had a super quick role and stayed in the eddy, thankfully. The other two came down and had no trouble. Then we had a somewhat difficult portage left of the nasty bit of the rapid. Below this was a somewhat interesting rapid that required a log duck. Below this was some almost worthwhile class three rapids before our last log portage and the take out. The view from the take out Copy paste this link to see the video