Tight but easy class II and III for high water days or recent rain. Not much gradient but several fun rapids. A slide just after the confluence with Whipporwill at mile 2.4 and the take-out bridge rapid are the toughest of the run. Take the slide either left or right, the hole at the bottom can be sticky. Take out at the normal Scarham put-in at Double Bridges or continue down Scarham to Short and the lake. The Shoal / Scarham / Lower Short run is a full, fun day covering reasonable gradient varying from a mini-creek to a semi-big creek on Short. One river wide log as of 1/23/2000.
As with many of the upper and skinnier Sand Mountain runs, it does not take more than an inch+ of rain or so in mid-winter to be runnable. Town levels of 400+ or so are OK if you get there soon after the rains end when Town is still rising. There may still be a gage at the put-in but I don't know what the good levels are.
Carnage can be fun. On Shoal Creek and the East Fork we had fun aplenty.
Shoal Creek had a large number of paddlers in the group, particularly for a micro-creek. I was sort of in charge, having had the task delegated to me by Murray, who was off fishing or something. As we started out, Ken Peavahouse asked me if I had any words of wisdom for the group. I said "This is a creek, expect the unexpected." The words had no sooner crossed my lips, than Ken was upside down; a few seconds later he was back upright, the result of his first combat roll. I expected the unexpected, but I didn't expect the unexpected so soon and not a double unexpected within a few seconds of making the "expect the unexpected" announcement.
As we paddled downstream, we added new carnage to our bag of tricks. At one rapid, after I had luckily slithered my boat through some tight spots, all the open boats, like lemmings into the sea, proceeded to follow me and pin their boats, one after another, in exactly the same spot. After the confluence with Whippoorwill creek, we had a nice steep slide with a rather sticky hole at the bottom. Sure enough, one of the kayaks managed to get a little bit sideways and zip he was stuck. John Reynolds, (Johnnie on the spot" managed to get the paddler out, but the boat was doing the extended dance in the hole. It took about ten or fifteen minutes before the hole decided it had enough, released its hold, and gave the boat back.
Good carnage can be great carnage if there are famous last words. Shoal Creek saved the best for last. I was sitting in the "eddy of last resort" just above the last drop at the confluence with Scarham Creek, when Winfred Stayton cruised up. I asked if he was going to run the last drop or take out. He said, "I think I'll take out here." I turned around just in time to see him running the drop backwards and upside down. "Johnny on the spot" Reynolds was again there to pick up the pieces.