from Alf Van Hoose: I only recommend this run for those who want to run something new and are willing to portage at least 5 times past strainers. If the canyon mile was clear of wood then I would rate the canyon mile mostly class II+ with two nice and one nasty class III rapids at medium levels. But do not think about running this creek unless you are a careful class III boater because it is risky to run rapids upstream from some of the logs.
Steve and I put in close to a curve on AL 257 to bypass more than 1/2 mile of pastureland flat water. Blackwater had peaked at 3200 cfs and was reading 3000 cfs late Sunday morning during our run. Rock creek was running medium high. Very nice level for the rapids but very nervous level for the strainers. The first mile was easy class II shoals free of wood. Right about where the creek turns north and bends back east we portaged three strainers by hiking about 100 feet on creek right. A long class II+ rapid was next with a log at the bottom that we avoided by running creek left. The creek split into two channels that merged into a class II rapid completely blocked by a strainer. We portaged left after catching a small eddy in fast current. Then the canyon walls narrowed the creek down. We portaged Woody Island rapid in the middle after scouting to judge whether it was safe to stop in the middle next to a log at the brink of the rapid. Woody Island rapid would be a nice long class III run down the left side if it was wood free. But there is wood at the top, wood in the middle, and a strainer at the bottom. After this portage the next three rapids were mostly class III at our level. After the last 90 degree bend in the canyon we made the mistake of running a short nasty class III rock sieve without scouting it from shore. I recommend scouting or portaging there because a bad strainer blocks the creek about 20 feet below the rapid. The right center looks like the best route. I managed to squeeze thru a narrow slot on the far left side. Steve saw that my run looked ugly and thought he could boof a left center ledge. Wrong! His boat got stuck upstream from the ledge but fortunately he managed to brace roll back up after squeezing thru the slot mostly upside down. After portaging the strainer and another set of logs in the flat section before the end of Rock creek we cruised down Blackwater very quickly to the takeout. If someone wants to bring a chain saw then I might go back upstream into the Rock creek canyon later this year and take some pictures there.
- Most likely our run was the first because that much wood is a real bummer. Alf Van Hoose, Steve Cusimano / Sunday 4/25/2010.
*Put-In: Park on the south shoulder of AL 257 about 0.4 mile west of where Rock Creek goes under AL 257. Probably best to park in front of the guardrail on the east side of the curve. The hike in from there is about 150 feet thru the woods. Note that the creek is not visible from AL 257.
Length: 2 miles (plus 1/2 mile down Blackwater creek)
Shuttle: From Walston bridge shuttle east on Walston Bridge Rd then continue north at the Forrester Rd intersection then back west on Sunlight Rd to AL 257. The intersection of AL 257 and Sunlight Rd is where the main fork of Rock Creek goes under AL 257. Turn left and drive 0.4 mile west on AL 257.