This is a classic example of southern appalachian ditch kayaking at it's finest. It starts out tiny, then gets steep to add speed to your rhododendron ducking experience. It has clearly experienced at least one massive flood as evidenced by the huge metal culverts littering the streambed in multiple locations.
If you like tight and rocky, and aren't scared of rhodo, this might be the high water option for you.
Do not bring a large group, the eddies max out at two or three boats.
Looking over the bridge at the put in, it should look something like this. If is doesn't look like this, don't put on!
The first couple of rapids are a short warmup for the sweetness to come. If you're remotely uncomfortable with the size of the eddies, Stop Now it only gets tighter and steeper farther down. This is a fine example of the first couple of rapids. Medium quality boogy to whet your appetite for what is yet to come.
The pile of ripped and jumbled culvert alerts you to the first scout/portage. You will want to get out on the left (unlike those in the photo) and investigate the wood situation. Manhattan Transfer is the first named rapid. The entrance splits around a massive midstream boulder, then re-converges into a pile of wood. One can put in next to the pile and run the crux of the rapid, a 40 foot tall bouncing slide. The bottom lands on a clearly visible shelf. What is not so obvious is the 18 inch gap between the base of the main drop and the shelf. With enough water, the gap is filled in and all you feel is a little tap. Low water may be an entirely different story...
Not far after the Manhattan Transfer is a very narrow slot down the right bank. There are some bumps along the way down the Alaska Pipeline. Just stay left in the hole at the bottom.
After a few more sweet rapids, yo will find yourself considering the Sampson Hot Pocket. Best scouted from well above through the rhodo on the right, this on ends in a fairly well walled in hallway. The pocket that will toast you is immediately at the base, on the far left.
Tony Danza is the name of the rapid at the end of the hallway. I don't think I need to say anything else.
Below the Tony Danza rapid, the action relaxes for a little bit. There are plenty to nice boulder gardens and slides to enjoy. The one notable rapid is Houdini. Here, you boof into the top of a slot that will inevitably backender you at the bottom. Your face will then inevitably make contact with the overhanging rhodo.
A couple more rocky slots bring you to the best rapid on the run. Chile Dog. The top of this one are a couple of sweet, classic ledge boofs. These lead directly into the crux water boof over a well formed hole. A nice slide finishes out this sweet baby!
There are several more rapids of note between the end of the Chile Dog and the top of the Breaded Chicken Cutlet, however I just don't have photos of them. Keep your eyes open for the sandy beach on the left in a little overhanging cave. Get out here! This is a very long sliding rapid that slams into a giant boulder toward the bottom. It might get run some day.
Unfortunately, the next two rapids are also portages. The first due to a massive hemlock blocking the pool, and the second due to the ill placed rock at the bottom. Even though the second looks really good at first glance, it is called Jail Bait for a reason...
Once you get done portaging, you will get to enjoy some nice boogy water down to Double Dutch Rudder. The first part is best run blind, you can pretty much rudder off anywhere right-ish. The second has some funky, pin-y stuff on the left, so head right too.
After the Double Dutch Rudder, stay alert for the final portage. You will want to get out on the left, but there are not really any eddies. Just drive your boat into the bushes and jump for it. You should have enough motivation to make it. After the portage, there are a few more bumpy rapids, and a couple of trees to deal with between you and the takeout. You should be parked at the second bridge.
Enjoy it out there!
Eyeball it. The water needs to be splashing onto the bridge where CC Camp tees into Buffalo Cove road. If it's not touching any part of the upstream edge, ever, it's too low. If it is over the top, or probably even in the middle of the upstream I-beam, it's too high.
The Yadkin is two drainages west, you want about 500cfs at Patterson while you are on the Joe.
Elk Creek is one drainage east, you want 2.5 - 3.0 feet at Elkville.
Permits are not required for this reach.
Use your trusty Delorme Gazetteer. Your cell phone will fail you as of 2013. Park at the end of CC Camp for the takeout. Drive back out and hang a left on Buffalo Cove. Turn left on Sampson shortly after the road turns to gravel. After about 2 miles (i'm guessing) turn left on White Rock Rd. Continue through the private gate ( I have never seen it locked, but it could happen if you piss someone off...). Park off the road, not blocking anything (remember that gate someone could get pissed off and lock?) just across the bridge.
on Joe Branch @White Rock Rd. to Buffalo Cove
Put-in level 7/4/13
Tony Danza From Bottom
Top of Houdini
Top of the Transfer
Bottom of the Pipeline
Middle Chile Dog
Top of Chile Dog
Double Dutch Rudder
Wood in the way
Bottom of the Breaded Chicken Cutlet
Stop when you see this
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