Corbin Creek is a small stream that flows northwest off of Tray Mountain before converging with the Upper Hiawassee. This is quintessential micro-creeking. At the put-in, the amount of water would not seem adequate to float a boat. However after rounding a couple of bends and dodging numerous trees, the creekbed soon becomes solid bedrock which allows one to slip and slide down the mountain 500 vertical feet in the first two miles. The rapids are one bedrock slide after another, interspersed with four abrupt drops. Be prepared to deal with a substantial amount of rhododendron and fallen wood. The first falls is soon after the put-in so keep an eye out, it is a large double drop that is choked with logs. This falls, if cleared of wood, could be a runnable class V. Portage on the right. Tentatively calling it the Hair of the Dog (ask John Mcrae why someday). Continue ducking and dodging the overhanging rhododendron and keep an eye out for the next three cascades as you run multiple class III/IV drops and slides. The 2nd (or 3rd, I can't recall) falls has a large log jam at the top. Portage left or right. If cleared of wood, this could be a fun double drop, perhaps class IV+. The 2nd or 3rd falls is a 10-15 foot drop that lands on rock and has a tricky approach. Maybe runnable, could hurt. We portaged on the right on a slippery cliff that made me nervous, perhaps portage on the left instead. The last falls, tentatively called Squeeze Play, is runnable but tight. We portaged on the right. After two miles the gradient eases up significantly and there are some pesky shallow shoals to negotiate. Don't worry, more water is joining up soon. Just before the confluence with Brier Creek, there is a cable across the river with signs declaring "No fishing, No hunting, No trespassing;" now the fun begins. You are in a fishing and hunting camp. Paddle through quickly and quietly and if you see anybody, be as friendly and understanding as possible. Soon the creek meets up with the Hiawassee and the flow speeds up. Gradient (ft/mile): 226, 247, 68 and then 63 for the last 1.4 miles. Directions: Take highway 17/75 north of Helen. Pass highway 180 on the left, continue 2.1 miles and pass over the Hiawassee River. Take the first dirt road on the right. There are two dirt roads that fork off from the main road, take the right fork, FS 698 Laka Corbin Creek Road). Drive about 4.8 to 5.0 miles and you should see the creek on the right. There is a dirt road to the right that passes some campsites and fords the creek. This is where we put in. Takeout is the Hwy 17/75 bridge. It would be nice to find a takeout that avoids the fish camp. FS 698 is gated shut at Hwy 17/75 and at Tray Gap, January 1st to March 2nd due to snow and ice. This pretty much rules out running this creek unless you are willing to hike 4 to 5 miles. You can call the WMA office for more information at 770-535-5700 or 706-896-2505.
I ran this in 03. Some of the drops were runnable at the time. alot of fun but, also a ton of work. very thick brush and its NOT uncommon to see bears in the river . Still alot of walking around downed trees. The double drop described above was runnable over a log that day, but scared the shit out of me. Be VERY careful not to piss off the locals, you ARE on pivate property so sssssshhhhhhhhh act like your on sec00 of the chatooga. Be careful ,be quiet , be quick.
we ran this run may 6 2009 and it was horrible. 4 miles of wheel chairing for three ok rapids. if you run it make sure it is above 800 cfs
Have you guys run brier creek??
The Hiawassee at Presley, GA could be a good indicator as it is six miles downstream of the confluence of Corbin creek and the Hiawassee. The day we ran it the gauge was reading between 580 and 540 cfs. So a likely minimum is 540 cfs.
Another possible gauge is Brier Creek near Hiawassee, GA which is the next gorge south of Corbin Creek. Brier Creek could be useful for future correlations. It was running 30 cfs the day we ran Corbin.
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More CC action.
John heads down a multidrop slide below "Hair of the Dog".
2nd drop of "Hair of the Dog"
First drop of "Hair of the Dog"
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Claude Terry, paddler, outfitter, and conservationist, died on November 20th, 2019. He was 83. A microbiologist by training, Terry began paddling in the mid-1960's while a professor at Emory University. He took to whitewater readily, and it became an important focus of his life. In 1969 he met veteran paddler Doug Woodward, and in 1971 the two became the technical advisers for the movie “Deliverance.” Afterwards, Terry and Woodward purchased the rafts Warner Brothers used in filming and bought 19 acres near the river. This became Southeastern Expeditions, one of the Southeast’s first whitewater outposts on the Chattooga. In 1974, Terry took then-Gov. Jimmy Carter on three trips on the Chatooga River, totaling 57 miles. This inspired Carter to get the Chattooga included in the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act and influenced later decisions protecting rivers across the U.S.“Terry adopted me as one of his students,” Carter told Outside Online in a 2017 interview. “it opened my eyes to the relationship between a human being and a wild river that I never had contemplated before that. When I got to be president I vetoed 16 different dam projects all over the United States.” Terry eventually quit his Emory University job and started full time career in environmental advocacy, including founding American Rivers, a principal U.S. conservation group. For the next 30 years he specialized in environmental projects involving rivers and wetlands and later, when he became a board-certified toxicologist, he developed an expertise in hazardous waste cleanups. He was an active paddler until sidelined by Parkinson's Disease. A passionate teacher and advocate, he is sorely missed by all who knew him. Click through for an excellent obituary and a photo of Terry taking Governor Carter over Bull Sluice!
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