Buffalo Creek starts as a north and south fork on the eastern side of Greensboro. Due to large amounts of runoff from an urban environment, this reach is runnable almost anytime there is significant precipitation in the city. This runoff also provides a steady supply of plastic bottles. Generally, there are enough periodic flows to keep strainers from being a constant worry.
This first reach is very accessible and offers one small Class II rapid if the water is up. Shuttling is easy and can be done with vehicles, walking, or biking.
The put-in at Harvest Road is impossible to miss as there is a moderate S-curve where the bridge is. Pull off on the northwest shoulder and walk your boat in on the southwest side, upstream side of the bridge. Very easy spot to gear up and slide in.
The float starts off with a nice Class I run and then predictably pauses for a stretch before finding several more easy riffles. This continues and there is one almost fun rapid before going under Dicks Mill Rd.
Just after passing under the bridge, the creek begins bending to the left and you can start to see and hear the "Dicks Mill Rapid". There's nothing remarkable about this rapid, but there is a slightly retentive ledge just to the right of center about a 1/3 of the way through the rapid if flows are between 300 and 800. This is about the only "playspot" on the run that could be mildly entertaining and it is possible to hike back to the road from here.
After this, the creek continues to provide the occassional riffle, but otherwise provides a relaxing float. The North Fork joins up just before the McLeansville Road bridge. To avoid kudzu and briars at the take-out: pull out on river right and hike up the DOT boulder field on the upstream side. Cars can be parked on the eastern shoulder, southern side preferred for egress.
Little play ledge about 1/3 of the way down, just river right of center (left in picture).
Ran it twice after it rained; once at 800CFS and once around 600CFS (it dropped rapidly by the time we had finished the second run, so be aware the water levels do not hold for long). Even at 800CFS, calling the Dicks Mill rapid a class II is probably generous. Not a bad run for a first timer, but definitely a class I run for anyone else.
The guage is located at the end of this reach (after the confluence) and the South Fork accounts for approximately 60% of the combined reading. Updates to correlate the South Fork guage are planned.
Permits are not required for this reach.
From Greensboro: Take Wendover / 70 / Burlington Road east until you pass the 840 loop. Cross the RR tracks and turn left (north) on McLeansville Rd. Take this past the Post Office and take the first road to the left: Harvest Road. Creek is approximately 0.8 miles.
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The recent death of Chris Clark at Python Rapid on North Carolina's Cheoah River is the third at this site in the last six years. In each case, the person who died was an expert paddler and their paddling partners did not see exactly what happened. Let's take a close look at the Cheoah below Bear Creek Falls and develop strategies for future runs. The river here is very fast and continuous. After a fast lead-in (Chaos), the river drops over Bear Creek Falls, a 12' drop. Below, most of the flow pushes toward the river right channel (Python). Ferrying over to the easier river left channel (the West Prong) requires careful boat control. Python itself contains several nasty holes and sieves, with a bad hole blocked by a boulder at the bottom. There is a good route through it, but paddlers need to plan their route carefully. Scouting is a good idea for first timers, although catching eddies and getting out is not going to be easy. Groups need to stay together.. The rapid is tough enough that you can't watch your buddy all the time, but you can be ready to help if needed. Click through for links to the accident reports, photos, and comments from expert Cheoah River paddlers. (Photo above by Boyd Ruppelt)
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