There are no 'big' drops on this reach. Most drops are boat-scoutable at normal levels except for areas of constriction due to wood. The rapids consist of a series of ledges creating waves and holes.
As the river starts to pick up the pace, one will encounter more waves until you reach a series of ledges with a house on river left. There are numerous places to play but no eddies. As one passes the house, there is another river wide hole that can be quite sticky and should not be taken lightly (Class III). It can be punched anywhere but will require you to paddle out of it. It also might offer some play.
From here the river will bend right and you will encounter much wood. It is best to scout this because the line through will not be obvious. From here on the river starts to mellow out. There will be some more standing waves and then it will eventually become flatwater. It is about a half mile flawater paddle to the take out at Green Garden Road.
Rescues are difficult because of the lack of eddies and there are two nasty holes that deserve a Class II+/III rating. A significantly obstructed channel (due to wood) after the main rapids makes it deserve a class III rating at high water due to the potential for serious mishap. The wood obstruction makes rescues difficult if a boater should swim in the main rapids near the house. Get swimmers and their gear to shore quickly. Lower water levels will likely be boney because the river is quite shallow in places even at high water/flood stage.
I ran this on April 15, 2009. From looking at the topo map and my paddling time, I believe it's longer then 2.2 miles. I took my time, played in one spot for about 45 minutes, and it took about 2 1/2 hours. There is a gauge on the river near M-28 and according to the USGS, the level on the 13th was 4.5'. They only take occassional readings. The level was probably less then this when I ran it. The water was in the banks and up to the grass line and tag alder. I don't think you would want to run it at a much lower level.
The first 1/3 was a pleasant class 1 run in a narrow, winding river. One tree to limbo under and one tree to portage around. You then come to a river wide ledge with a great play spot. Great for surfing, too shallow for any 'tricks', though I don't have any. Plan to play here as this turned out to be the best spot. The next 1/3 of the reach has a number of class 2 river wide ledges. These were getting a little shallow when I went through. This section also included a tree that I dragged over. The last 1/3, the river meanders, splits around islands and has a few rocks. The level was just runnable.
I walked the shuttle and it took about an hour to hike the 4 miles. There is good parking at both ends. At very high water this would/could be a class 3 with the downed trees and river wide ledges.
Flooding forecasts for the Chocolay River near Harvey are issued as needed during times of high water, but are not routinely available. Reliability of the forecast is based on current and forecast river, weather and reservoir conditions.
Latitude: 46.489000° N, Longitude: 87.329000° W, Horizontal Datum: NAD83USGS. Gauge is found on the web at: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=mqt&gage=hrvm4. At the put-in, if the water is above the base of the tree on the river left bank the run will be good. It is runnable up to a foot below the base but will be boney.
Permits are not required for this reach.
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