Damascus River Updates -- Dennett Dwyer - 4/5/05Valley Creek
On 4/2/05 Simon Haviland, Joe Landry and I ran Valley Creek (a tributary of Whitetop Laurel Creek in Washington County, Virginia. The level was low and the run is believed to be a first descent. The run was a mile long with a drop of 435 feet. We put in at the first bridge near McQueen Gap and took out at the second bridge on Chestnut Mountain Road. The creek is consistent gradient with close to 100 different drops. The average drop is 5 to 10 feet with pinning possibilities everywhere. Two drops were portaged--One was a 35-footer onto car-sized boulders and the other was an eight-footer with a log in it. The most noticeable drop was a four-part slide that was named "Drop It Like It's Hot." The first slide was about 30 feet long with a 10-foot pool at the bottom. The second slide was about 40 feet with a 6-foot ledge dropping onto a 20-foot slide that must be run sideways in order to surf a pillow off the boulder at the bottom. The final part of Drop It Like It's Hot is a straightforward 20-foot slide into a tranquil pool. While you are scouting this one, make sure to scout the next two rapids as well. They are quite challenging boulder drops with pin spots, logs, and undercuts.
The most reliable gauge for this creek is the Whitetop Mountain rain gauge. Look for more than 3/4 inch in 3 hours' time and you will have enough water.
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