Childress Creek, Texas, US
|Usual Difficulty||II-III (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||18 fpm|
|Hog Ck nr Crawford, TX|
|usgs-08095400||200.00 - 2000.00 ft||II-III||21h23m||1.05 ft (too low)|
Distances, gradient, difficulty rating, and flow information are taken from Texas Whitewater.
Robert Hall provides (2007-06-19):
Trip synopsis: Robert, Matt, Scott, Tony and I head down south toward the Middle Bosque amid ongoing t-storm activity. Upon arrival to the banks of the Bosque under clearing skies we find the river at 24+ feet and with the bulk of the water flowing like a vast lake through trees and fields. With dashed hopes we decide to check out neighboring Childress Creek 15-20 miles to the northeast. Upon crossing the FM2490 takeout bridge we find the level screaming perfect so we head to a put-in, which in this case, is my parents house which is about 6 miles upstream. We drag the boats behind the house down to Willow Creek which feeds into Childress. By this time, Willow had dropped to a placid Class II and offered some easy warmup hole and wave surfing. After shooting the low water crossing rapid on Willow the creek channels straight and the much wider Childress could be seen a couple of hundred yards downstream - towering breaking waves in the distance. At the confluence the mood changes dramatically.
Childress Creek at this point is about 100+ yards wide and is requires a ferry to the other side amid huge surfable breaking waves and clumps of cottonwood trees to prevent lazy paddling. A series of Gauley style waves lead down to the first only real obstacle on the run - a low head dam. I thought maybe it would be washed out - I've paddled this before when it was; however, this time, no such luck. A portage or sneak would be required and river right, amongst the jungle-like foliage/briars, seemed best. However, Tony appeared to disagree with this plan and committed himself to a line just inside the right bank but square into the maelstrom. After some words of panic from all, his boat went vertical after the drop and then upside down where it stalled on the boil line and at first, I thought would be sucked back into the deafening keeper. However, luck was with us and Tony rolled up into some downstream flow. The rest of us less adventurous took the sneak route drop into an eddy which in itself, seemed just as happy to pull us into the keeper as it was to put us downstream (but all went relatively well).
The rest of the trip was a blast - huge surf holes and waves with the only real obstacles being the periodic clumps of cottonwood forests to negotiate. Childress's limestone gradient is relatively constant so not much flatwater, but, by the same token, most of the features have to be hit on the fly, with a couple of exceptions.
My only regret was that we didn't have time to run it again. I know at lower levels, the holes are even bigger and the routes become more technical. Also, putting in at Hwy 56 in Cayote would have been a good idea - 17 miles of creek instead of just 6.