Wilson Creek Gorge – Sat. 4/18/09 at -5.5″

12449Rains had come and gone early in the week but fortunately Wilson Creek held enough for a low but doable fun run.  With no particular plans,  I headed over to this gem of a gorge and looked around for people to hook up with for the day.  It wasn’t long before a couple of CCC’ers came along, Larry & Leslie S. and Wes all in k-1 so we through together set shuttle and headed downstream on this sunny and warm day.  Level on this first run was about -5 1/2″ (John’s River gauge around 300 cfs).

We worked the upper ledges and chutes with no problems on down through little Woodall and dropped down to just above Mank at 10′ foot falls entrance.  I elected to bang down an alternate route I use at low levels on far left to the pool below Mank.  Wes, Larry, and Leslie went the conventional line around the pointed rock at the top of Mank.  I entered the eddy below Mank and looked up as Leslie was rounding the rock, but got washed sideways between two rock guarding the exit below and hung bow and stern between them,  Larry was right behind and had to exit his boat post haste  to keep from jambing into Leslie and knocking her off her precarious position.  Wes managed to pull back in time above and not add to the situation below.  Larry’s boat came down and passed me and I stayed in the eddy till Larry managed to get to a safe position and Wes climbed down to help with Leslie’s situation.  Once Larry was in good position and Wes was helping I took off after the loose boat,  dropping the boof and looking around to make sure it was not pinned up on the way down to the falls.

Below the falls I rounded up the errant boat which had caught the whirlpool below the rock wall left of the falls.  After wrestling with the boat and getting my tow line on it,  I then wrestled the whirlpool and got it downstream to a workable area along the long rock slope on river left.  Shortly Wes showed up and then Larry and Leslie walked down we got everybody back in boats and proceeded down through the ledge below to no-name ledge and its sister below and then on to boat-buster.  At boat buster I dropped down first, caught the eddy right and then ferried to eddy left,  Wes dropped down and I went down Thunderhole and eddied back right followed by Wes,  then Larry came down followed by Leslie into the river left eddy.  Leslie decided to call it a day and Larry, Wes 367and myself moved on.  I did the far left slot into dental work sliding left at the base of the upper ledge,  Wes followed and Larry did the boof on river left.  From here we worked down the ledges and features to triple drop,  where we all did the far left line cleanly.

On to Fat Moma’s Squeeze,  I did the right slot into the staging eddy and then down the S-turn catching the right eddy just below the drop coming out of the turn, then ferried back and forth and down and out to the eddy below.  Wes and Larry worked down past me as I played the lower half.  Below here at Maytag we shot the ledge right of center and then boofed the Corner Eddy ledge below right on its left end, nice boof had by all.  From there we worked down the ledges to Razorback and all took the right line down the dog-leg,  a bit bumpy at this level at the out-flow,  as it seems a couple of rocks low in the water have progressively moved and become more exposed over the last few years.

Down at the remnants for Hunley’s retreat we did the left side “Goal Post” run.  I cleaned it nicely,  Wes banged a bit and Larry did a bit of an ugly in it but rolled up below ok.  After running the lower ledges out we paddled to railslide,  Wes and Larry pop’ed the rail into the eddy below,  I slid down and through the boil below and down the bottom chute.  From here we played the paddle out to the take-out.  Wes and Larry called it a day.

I hooked up with a couple of guys I had run before with who wanted to do a quick second run, and went back up for another round.  The three of us where a solid group, all knew the run and we moved down the Gorge well.  At 10′ I got to take a bit more time to work 12641down the run this round.  Everyone cleared down through Boatbuster and Thunderhole and then ran dental work from the right slot.  On down at Triple drop this time went for the big right eddy above up in the rocks and shot the slot move dropping down into the meat of triple drop to the left.  The slot made for a really sweet line at this level, keeping well right until the very bottom this time.

Water had dropped a bit from the first run and Fat Moma’s took a bit of boofing and working, and again I worked into the right eddy on the lower half and played on down.  Below we all spent a few minutes playing the bottom hole,  which surfed nicely at this level.  At corner eddy the I did the boof again but as the water was down a bit it was a hard boof.  After playing on down to Razorback those pesky rocks at the outflow gave me a little trouble being fully exposed now with level now down to about -6″, and I had make a hard right and work out of a slot between them braced out.

We all made clean and quick work of Goal Post down at Hunley’s,  two of us cleaned it nicely,  the third did a bit of an ugly flip and rolling the middle of it and got pushed down the far left.  After working Railslide below we paddled out after a great day paddling.  I think we did the second run in about 35 minutes which is pretty good time, or about a fifth of the time of the 1st run.

After  dressing out running shuttle to recover cars and loading out we said our goodby’s till we met up and do again.  Excellent day.

SYOTR-paddlin-ed

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