This is an amazing beautiful remote run. The dense old growth set in a deep and steep rocky gorge give a unique feeling especially for NJ. Come get NJ at it's best! These are the among best if not the very best remote NJ bedrock drops. Only Devil's Tea table comes close in my mind but it lacks the Doublekill's length, remoteness and stomp factor.
Gradient by mile: Mile 1: 263 ftMile 2: 260 ftMile 3: 144 ftMAX GRADIENT: 360 ft/mile, which occurs from about mile .75 to mile 1.25.\1.9 miles of the run is within New Jersey and the last .6 miles is in New York state. Watershed is aprox 6-7 square miles.
When the big rains come you can swing by this gem to see if it's up. The large marshy headwaters with several ponds may keep the levels up more than we might expect for multiple days. Please post runs and the amount of rain that allowed you to boat the doublekill. The doublekill always seems to have some water so I think it may go more often than one might assume.
Take care not to enter the gorge too early in the Early Spring as this north facing deeply shaded gorge acts like an icebox and holds ice in the drops much longer than the surrounding areas.
Especially while the creek is strainer intensive runs should be started early in the day. The first decent on 3/30/2010 by Wayne Gman and Steve Strange started at 1pm (start of hike) and ended at 8pm just 15 minutes after dark. That day the two hiked and boated in a hard rain adding 1 inch to the 1 inch that already fell over the previous 12 hrs. The watershed was very wet before this rain event started.
the West Brook guage had spiked to 275 cfs the previous day and spiked to 400 cfs while the 1st D was run. The guage continued to rise to 475 overnight.
All drops were run on the 1st D day except for Boof & Rally. There are many life threatening strainers on the run right now. Only boaters comfortable with running probe on class 5 creeks should consider a run. Sooner or later everyone will likely find themselves out in front on probe because they'll blow an eddy. This said if the creek flow seems low I suspect many attentive boaters can give it a go too. It's all about how fast the creek is pushing you into the next strainer.
Rapid Distances: The mile markers for the distance from the start are at best very suspect but we tried to make them as reasonable as possible. It's not like a GPS will work in the heavy cover in the gorge. Someone could record rapids' GPS coordinates when boating when the leaves have fallen.
Dry Scouting: If you want to fill a camelbak and hike the run first you should take a buddy and expect it to take 3-4 hours. The hike is very rugged.
Walking Off: If you need to walk out do so on river left before Meatball. It's very steep, you will encounter the AT trail access. Follow the trail to the right/west back to Barret Rd. You can always walk out anywhere on river Left for that matter but it will just be eaiser before Meatball. Soon after Boof & Rally there are houses on the left up high.
Rescue: Any need for extraction in the gorge in the afternoon will likely be an overnight affair if you can't get out yourself. I can't fully explain how much of a pain in the ass it is to hike in there. Everything is slippery and muddy; rocks teetering ready to shift under foot and the 250 year old logs littered everywhere on steep angles are especially difficult to negociate even in a short portage.
Iron Mountain Bridge is the putin for the Doublekill. How do you get there:
1. Park on Barret road on river left side of the creek.(far from the cr.) Walk in 30-40 minutes on the AT access trail. Stay on the trail.
2. Access Wawayanda Rd within Wawaynda NJ State Park. You can walk in 100 feet to access a pond. follow the outflow to the Doublekill. Depending on where you access you could cross 1 or 2 small ponds. The last pond looks to have some significant vertical to drop so if the water is really up you might get some boatable rapids. Let us know! If you access the doublekill via wawayanda road drive up on the river right or east side of the doublekill.
This is the first blind bend to the LEFT where you would have to commit to flow without seeing the next eddy. Grab the big eddy on Left at the top. Scout this easy corner for class 5 wood hazards. Up to this point parties will likely have boat scouted everything and hopped around a couple riverwide logs. Beware: the wood will intensify from here on out. Also make a mental note that there will be a hidden sieve about 2 features downstream in the left line of a big cascade. Favor the right lines which were also the wood free lines on the first decent day.
Deep slot is a minor rapid with a single boat deep fluming slot against the river Left wall. It would be a real sucky spot to encounter a strainer as the current is strong and green. As of 3/30/10 it was blocked with huge amounts of wood on the left leaving only a shallow manky boatable line on right. Absent wood this is a class 3 drop w/ slot move.
This is the slalom of logs currently above Blind Dog
A pretty steep beefy cascade with the most significant sieve on the Doublekill. Several quick technical moves and slipping by a hole at the bottom cleans this drop. Good lines enter on the top River Right and work through the center. The Blind dog sieve was undetectable at high flows on the 1st D (bridge gauge underwater). When dry scouted Fall/2008 it was thought that it could easily be a head underwater situation at high water. Boaters stuffed the sieve with branches in 2008 but highwater could have cleaned it.
Gnargaritas for Breakfest, Lunch or Dinner it's all good. Gnargarita is one of the big 3 on the creek and the easiest too. Stay far river right in the entry or the rockbed will funnel you Left to the fanning piton rock at the bottom. Wayne cleaned it the 1st time. Steve struck a river right ledge on the landing just a little further right. The 3rd decent the hole reached out an grabbed its first boat requiring an offside roll. Exiting really wasn't that bad.
Of special note is that MEATBALL is just below (out of sight) on a !!VERY!! fast water train from Gnargarita straight to it without an eddy. Meatball till it gets cleaned out is very likely terminal.
Meatball is a huge high speed steep bedrock flume that currently leads around a blind S bend into 2 gigantic hemlocks crossing the current with a Boulder pinned on those 200 year old logs. Water flows under, between and through the mess. There is even a little cave action on the far river Right and its hard to determine what the action is there.
On the First Descent of MEATBALL the water was high and rising. Water overflowed the upper flume on the Left creating a big liquid slide. Wayne Gman seal launched in just above in the chute, paddled over the upper lip of the flume's S bend. That first line was 8 feet off the river left wall.
Absent wood and meatball boulder this drop would likely be class 5.1. However it's currently rated class 6 as it is going to be infrequently run on the Left and only at favorable high flow. Blowing the line will carry typical Class 6 possibilites. If the wood and meatball blow out the rating will drop.
After the short pool below Meatball you can catch a good eddy if you get on it quick through the hole at the bottom. The boogie water takes off fast. Wayne ran this on the fly not being able to stay in the eddy below Meatball (small wood issues). Missing 3 single boat eddies because of guard rocks, a strainer had to be dealt with. A quick pin and ducking under led to another 100 yard run on the fly. Wayne finally finished by beaching the boat in a shallow forking of the creek where it overflowed the left bank. Eddies are available up till Boof and Rally rapid.
This steep rapid picks up wood. The wood pictured here is after the rapid. (boof and rally is at the top of the pic) Always scout it. Very attentive boaters can tell this rapid is coming. As you look down a straight creek 50 yards you can make out the only dark wall of stone on river Right in this area below Meatball. Get out immediately and scout( or portage) on Left.
This the last of the Big 3 rapids has a chute into a captive little spot against a wall. Looked bad. We thought there looked like a left move at the high flow to avoid the hole. It needs a careful closer scout than we gave it with failing light. The left move might be completely impossible. There is a small jog to the left in the rapid with a boulder down on the left. At dry levels we were concerned about the pinch down and flow of water under and around this boulder but I think it will mostly be out of play to a boater.....swimming might be a different matter though. This rapid was clogged on the first D so first dibs are still out there for the lucky boater. The drop looked clear but the outflow was choked with 3 logs. Go get it, let us know how it was.
The Slide picks up wood on the left where there is a long 90 degree corner that defines the river left bank. The water flumes towards this and down along it. The dry scout showed a huge worn and stripped tree in this spot. Hedging the strainer bets, with light fading fast, we were happy to run the techincal river right side with the large piton rock in play. It was boat abusive. The left side is probably the more fun side for future runs. It was challenging on the right to miss the piton rock and we had mixed results of hit or miss, but the irregular creek bottom and the merge into the quick river left water caused both boaters to finish the drop backwards. There was a Large eddy to catch on the bottom right.
The last of the run was fast especially in big flow. Eddies could be harder to hit despite the flattening out of the run with an ill placed strainer. We wished we had quick scouted the town section as it was now dark. The last of the creek felt like class 3 boating.
Take Out: This run is not going to get run that frequently and I think it is likely fine to takeout on creek Left when you get to the Tool Rental hardware store behind Mom's Deli strip mall. The hardware store has a huge parking lot and I doubt they will notice you cutting through the side of their lot the few days a year that this creek gets run. You want to spot or mark the takeout bank before you start your run. You'll walk 100 yards pulling out here.
Bridge Warning: The Bridge just downstream of RT 94 was distroyed by the creek a few weeks earlier. Who knows what the construction project down there means to a boater so take care paddling below the RT 94 Bridge for a takeout.
Wire Warning: (150-ish yards before Rt 94 Bridge) In the fading light Steve ran into some wire on river right (not barbed) strung "across" the creek for a weak fence. I think in high water the creek created a channel that does not normally exist though a fenced in area. It was a spot we could stop and that is why were were there...otherwise we likely would have been in the middle of the flow far from the banks just finishing the run. I don't think it will be much of an issue to future boaters with daylight but for us it was the right time to get off the creek.
There currently is a painted gauge on the upstream river left side of the RT 94 takeout bridge.
3/30/2010:There were 4 stripes *exposed* 1.5 hours before we puton. 7 hours later when the 1st D was over all stripes were just under water. It had been a mission missing all the wood all day long. The creek had risen 8 inches. That was big for the wood level. there is probably about another 6 inches above the painted stripes till the big drain dumps into the creek is reached (next to the guage). If that drain is near or being touched by the creek I would not get on it unless the creek is known to be very clean.
Permits are not required for this reach.
When Wawayanda State Park is closed for the winter you must hike in.
Take Out: We parked at Mom's Deli in a small stripmall 100 yards west/south on Rt 94 (towards NJ). The deli owner is really friendly help a local out buy a sandwich and let Mom know you are a boater. They have lots of parking and seem willing to share it with us. Nice bathroom too. There are numerous ways to get out of the creek in the area of the RT 94 bridge. There is bridge under construction just barely downstream of the Rt 94 bridge, so scout this for construction hazards.
Hike to Putin Directions:
After dropping your car at Mom's Deli
Make a Left on Rt 94. Go a very short distance.
Make an immediate Left on Barret Road.
Go uphill a mile or so and notice open fields on left and right.
Park in the several car pull off on right before the Treeline resumes.
30 yards uphill on the road from the pullout is the AT trail access on the opposite side of the road just inside the treeline.
Your hike will roughly be 40 minutes give or take.
1. Hike the fire road in the woods till it gets to the top of the hill. At the end of the road if you go straight down into the gorge (off trail) you will end up at Meatball rapid.
2. At the top of the fireroad look for the white blaze trail to make a right and off of the fire road. This trail will at times stray away from the gorge and it might concern you. It did concern us and we regetably left the trail to bushwhack near the creek. Near the putin we found the trail come back to us and it would have been much easier to just stay on the trail.
3. The trail comes out on Old Mountain Road. Make a left and follow it to the steel bridge over the Doublekill which is immediately obvious. There is nothing in this area that could be confused for your putin bridge.
Alternate Putin is Via paddling 1 or 2 ponds in the headwaters of the doublekill. Click on satalite as the ponds don't show on terrain or map settings. If you have the desire to look this up you'll be more than capable to figure out this putin avenue. Note Wawayanda Road is a park road that is only open when the park is open.
Entrance to Blind Dog
Piton and tail washed
Boof & Rally Exit Flow
Boof & Rally
Portage Boof & Rally
2nd decent of Gnargarita
Fast Train headed to Meatball
Waterfall trib from Nowhere
marginal lines abound
Blind Dog Exit
Wood before Deep Slot
Last Chance Eddy
Boof and Rally
Barrett Rd. parking area
Barrett Rd. trailhead
Gnargarita low water
Meatball Lead-in Low Water
Gman - Town Stretch
NY Slide Low Water
Doin It Live Low Water
Low Water Meatball
Gman at the lip of Meatball
Entering NY under cover of darkness
Double Kill Boogie Water
Iron Mtn Rd Bridge
First Descent of Gnargarita
First Taste of what lies ahead
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