Apple, Wisconsin, US
|Usual Difficulty||II (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||13 fpm|
|Max Gradient||32 fpm|
This stretch of the Apple River is well upstream of the popular 'tubing' area around Somerset.
Just downstream of the County Highway C bridge, the river makes a couple twists and turns, then
drops into Pike Hole Rapids, a class II (possibly up to class III) stretch of river.
There appears to be 40' of drop in about 1.25 miles through here.
It may be possible (through a bit of 'personal reconnaissance') to cut off 2.3 miles of much lesser gradient (after the 'falls') at a point where the river nears a short east-west backroad, but that may entail a somewhat steep hike-out and possible permission from property owners.
Jeff Bolte adds:
Put In: Black Brook Flowage dam. Access is off Polk County Rd. CC into a county park. (Page 70 in the Wisconsin DeLorme Atlas.)
Take Out: Town road below Little Falls, WI. There is a 'T' intersection just west of town. CTH.C turns south, take the left branch. Park in the corner as the town road turns left (45th av. and 138th st.)
At normal summer flow it's a bone run. Park and play at first big rapid only, and the waves will be mushy at summer flow. I have seen aluminum canoes scrape, grind, and groan their way down the first drop at low water as it is run at summer levels by locals (from the Amery area). Class I-II+ at medium level. There's two drops that can be class III- at bank full. Bank full tends to wash out a lot of features above the big drops. The eddies get tiny at the first big drop.
At the take out parking area, walk down the hill until you see the main rapid. You'll hear it before you see it. Medium level will have some water coming around the tiny island pourover. There will be a slide with a wave train and a pool below. The right eddy will be stable and big enough for two boats, maybe three. As the pool tails out, the flow looks slow enough for two roll attempts. Higher water means smaller eddies and one shot to roll. In medium level water, there will be some play spots. In high water, its just a slab of water flooding the good features.
This is one of the first runs to open up for the year, so area paddlers like it as a 'tune up' for rivers to come. It starts out with eddy lines and ends in a couple of solid class II+ drops.
From the dam to just above the bridge in Little Falls (most of a mile), its mostly eddy lines and riffles. About 150 yards above the bridge, the gradient increases and some easy class I rapidss appear. Below the bridge and into the small canyon, more features appear. There are enough features to spread out a dozen boats in the area just below the bridge to the horse pen on the left bluff. Be aware of shallow water.
Into the canyon you'll find more scattered small waves, shallow slides, and rocks. The flat spot is the clue that the first of the two bigger rapids is next. Pull out at the sand bar on the right and scout the drop if you have not seen it. Check the last rock at the entry for logs. The pool generally will not hold any debris. The slide itself is very shallow and has a rock feature in it that most boats will hit. The only time I ever ran without a bump was high water and a long planning hull boat. Stop to play on the waves. Around the corner through an S turn is the Pike Hole. On the left, it frowns downstream, its very aerated, and undercut. On the right is a tongue that blasts into a rock that is easy to hit and a sure pin if you don't clear or boof the rock.
Carry out up the hill along the tree line back to the road, or paddle six miles of flatwater to the next bridge.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||Drainage: ~290 sq.mi.||N/A|