Hatchet Creek, Alabama, US
|Usual Difficulty||I(II) (for normal flows)|
|HATCHET CREEK BELOW ROCKFORD AL|
|usgs-02408540||600 - 2000 cfs||I(II)||00h45m||242 cfs (too low)|
A beautiful, clear creek located south of Sylacauga. The creek's headwaters are located in the Talladega National Forest; it runs through mostly forested land until its flow is stopped by Lake Mitchell. The stream flows briskly below Highway 280. The pools are frequently interrupted by frisky shoals that add spice to the trip. The scenery is exceptional with only a few streamside cabins to remind the canoeist that you're not in total wilderness.
There is one Class II (+) drop on this section of creek. Maximum flow is about 2000 cfs. (Murray Carroll) Lots of additional information, pictures, stories, and a map can be found at a dedicated Hatchet website. The gradient is a bit of an approximation, but fairly close. There are other sections to Hatchet, but I'm not sure they have any whitewater.
I don't think you can correlate the 280 bridge gauge with the USGS gauge below 231. This is because you are trying to correlate two different points on a curve that varies its trajectory with increasing flow rates. Sometimes the USGS gauge says 3000cfs and 280 gauge says 3ft. Other times the USGS gauge says 1200cfs and the 280 gauge is still on 3ft?? So from my years of experience with this creek, you just can't make an accurate computation about this creek and its large watershed. Anyway 2ft 11 is a great level for beginning canoeist. At this level you have great flow all the way to the take out. All the rocks are submerged so you have nothing to avoid hitting.
There is only one rapid that is a strong class II at this level. It is easily portaged on the left. You can tell you're near the rapid by noticing the new log cabin high above the rocks on your left. Eddy out just above the rapid on your left below the cabin. The creek is floatable at lower levels (1ft6in) but I've had my experience dragging and dodging.
This is the ideal level for any beginners. - Fletcher Scott AL
Power number is 1 800 LAKES11, then 6...I think the USGS internet gage is the same as the Alabama Power gage, or is slightly downstream. See also www.alabamawhitewater.com.