Sandstone Creek, Michigan, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||115 fpm|
|Max Gradient||115 fpm|
Four miles south of Rockland, MI, 10 miles north of Bruce Crossing, along US Hwy 45 just south of the Military Bridge over the Ontanagon.
This run is essentially a 'roadside ditch' (for the length of the reach you may be interested in boating). This will have a very short window of opportunity, boatable one day, not the next. If you are only getting here on a weekend, you may have just missed it, a day too early or a day too late. But . . . if you happen to be there on the right day, you're in for a real treat!
A scout for wood is mandatory. Action builds to the last 0.2 mile where the creek drops 60' (giving an 'effective gradient' near 300 FPM for that stretch), tripping down a sequence of slides and ledges in the sandstone bedrock.
Description and photos (with no flow, and minimal flow) may be found at: Waterfalls of the Keweenaw.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|-1.4||Drainage area ~5 square miles.||N/A|
|-0.6||Slightly longer, still roadside||N/A|
We're tallying this one from the bottom up because different folks will do different lengths, depending upon their interests.
For this uppermost put-in, from the end of the guardrail (at the take-out), drive 1.4 miles, where you should see a bald hill West of the highway. If you walk due West into the woods, down the hill, you'll quickly encounter a small creek. Follow that North to Sandstone Creek, where you'll be right at the (apparent) first good drop.
Upstream of this point gradient is greatly diminished, and streambed is more soil than bedrock (so gradient is spread enough to be uneventful). However, immediately downstream the aerial view appears to show a GREAT rip-snorting start for the run!
At the end of another section of guardrail on the highway, a bit of a break heading diagonally away to the river (at what appears to be some sort of structure, present or defunct). Make sure to check the stretch immediately downstream for deadfall and strainers before putting on.
Also . . . putting in ANYPLACE upstream from here, it would be a VERY GOOD IDEA to walk the shore from here up, as the aerials show a strong likelihood of wood. In a creek this narrow and swift, you really want to be aware of any wood tight around a bend in strong current.
Put in just beyond the end of the guardrail (but below where the creek does a bit of a jig-jog, which may be prone to catch wood) for a bit more of a warm-up paddle.
Good 'short' put-in for a couple of warm-up drops before the bottom drops out.