Catawba, Henry Fork, North Carolina, US
|Usual Difficulty||I-III (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||15 fpm|
|Max Gradient||40 fpm|
Frank Garrett testified:
The put-in is a bit tricky to find. From I-40 take exit 104 (Enola Rd) till you see the volunteer fire dept on the right (several miles). Turn right just after the fire dept onto Watershed Road. You will very soon see the river on your left. Continue up Watershed until you come to a fork. Bear left onto the gravel road, go about 100 yards to the bridge. That's your put-in. Take-out can be anywhere along River Road or as far as Hwy 18 bridge. River Road provides a much easier take-out though. Your best bet is to scout the area before you go for the rapids. DO NOT float the river past the community of Henry River. There is a big dam in the way and it is IMPASSABLE by both water or portage!!! PLEASE don't make the same mistake I did!!!
The river is unkept and very natural. I dragged bottom quite a bit at the top of the river. There are trees down that create portage spots and some very dangerous strainers. I would not recommend running this river after more than two days of rain since the dangerous stuff may creep up on you. As the river flattens out you will float by the occasional house on either side of the water. There are driveways that have to be portaged on occasion so keep an eye out. Don't get complacent with the calm water.
All in all my brother and I had a good float. I am going to go back when the water is a touch higher and see what happens.
When you get to the drop there is no gauge. Use your eyes. If you think you'll drag at the top, don't float. It's no better downriver!