September 27, 2002
The Wooly Adelgid has ravaged the Hemlocks in the Gorge and destabilized the banks. There are multiple slides of 3-5 large trees each and countless portages. Many rapids are chocked full of enormous trees. This is an epic due to the sad state of the forest around the creek. Immediatly after the "First Slide" there is an unrunnable slot with two large trees "X" across the bottom. It is very hairy trying to eddy out and portage. Flushing in would be ugly. You are better off going on up to Rosman, or something in the Jocassee area.
The ice storms this winter have brought down a lot of trees and limbs. There is a lot of wood in the rapids. There are a couple of really good rapids that can't be run because there are logs in them. If you are planning a trip down this section, start early so you make sure you have enough time to scout and portage, because you will be doing a lot of portaging. There are only a few big drops that require scouting but there are also a lot of fairly easy blind drops that must be scouting to make sure there is no wood. Don't let the fact that it is only 4+ river miles fool you it will take some time. We got caught by dark and had to spend the night. So, be prepared for it to be slow going.
Takes a lot of water. When we did it, the chattooga 3 feet and went to 5. Rosman was at 1500 and hit 3000 before the day was over, cullasaja went over 8 feet.
We were still lacking water. Figure if you can float under the right channel of the put-in bridge without scrapping then it will be do-able. Or if the bridge at the takeout has the only one railroad tie stair showing. If you see both ties, its low.
Lots of trees and logs down. We probably had to get out of the boats 10 times to carry over various pieces of wood. Two good rapids were unrunnable due to strainers.
Still there were 4 good falls. Some good sliding drops. A smaller version of something that looked like singleys off overflow.. There were a bunch or nice long slides. Most of the run is over bedrock. There are some streamside undercuts to be careful when you are near them. There was one funky 4 foot ledge with a strong hole, the hole pulled one boat back up under the ledge a few feet, it was a strange undercut.
There was also a lot of good boogie water.
The mandatory portage is a bitch. We carried on river right. River left looked better after we were about halfway into it. Took us about 30 minutes to move 3 boats and bodies around the portage. The falls after the portage is the best on the river.
This things takes a whole lot of water to bring it up. The day we did it, Chattooga hit 5 feet, French Broad at Rosman hit 3000 cfs, and the Cullasaja went to 10 feet. Eastatoe was still kinda scrappy.
If you can paddle under the right channel at the put-in bridge without hitting anything then the level should be adequate.
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Shayne cranking a big boof
Falls after the portage
First Big Falls
First Big Slide
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