Friday, October 07, 2005

Clear Creek, CA

Shaun on Clear Creek.

Clear Creek is a tiny little drainage near Whiskeytown, just out of Redding. For logistics on this run, visit Bill Tuthill's run description at California Creekin'. After a long drive to Castle Crags from Seattle, we were up early friday morning and looking forward to trading seat belts for life vests.

We spent a little time scouting the V+ drop mentioned in the above description. I thought it was more a V, but those who had made the run before say it has cleaned up a bit. It's not really a waterfall though. It's a steep shallow little mini gorge with about 5 drops. The fourth drop is the crux with a siphon on the left and wood blocking the right, leaving a center move with a perfectly placed piton rock. Good stuff. We planned to run the drop as a finale to the day, but the 8 miles ended up taking longer than we thought.

Shuttle set, we were on our way. At the putin, Clear Creek is a very narrow brook with dense foliage right down to the waterline. The river quickly entered a 30-foot deep canyon with lots of splashy II+. This typified the run -- long sections of flat or class II water with perhaps four class IV drops.

Soon after entering the canyon, we came upon a family of four of five bears.

Shaun enjoys a little late season sun in California.

Nick runs a typical riffle.

When seal launches go bad. Get right Mike! Right!

Nick in a more lively riffle.

Great canyon scenery.

We eventually got the first significant drop, a neat double ledge that had a manky entrance. Some opted to portage, but I always say "who needs a clean line to commit?" Novak and Fish ran the drop cleanly, Fish three times helping out those opting to portage. I dropped in too, promptly losing my thighstraps going over the first ledge -- sideways. Luckiest brace of the day to ride it out and get back on line. Good clean fun.

Novak finds the ramp.

Fish works the demo boat.

This canyon was fun -- it also had some class III!

Herb handles the III.

Fish checks out the manky ledge from below.

Air brace -- the new air guitar.

Fish enters another canyon section.

The run contained a couple of fun drops, but it was a long day of flatwater. This is not a run to make a trip for, but if you've got a lunch packed and a day to kill in the Redding area, it's a beautiful float trip through some scenic canyon sections.

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