|Gradient:||170, 120, 60, 40, 10, 10 (1.4)||Take-Out:||CR 91|
|Shuttle:||CR 38 / CR 91||Delorme Gazeteer:||P. 24 G4|
|Water Q:||Primary Gage:||None|
|Links:||TOPO MAP||Required Level:||Visual|
|TRIP REPORT||Required Level:|
|Draining the strip mine and clear cut ravaged slopes of Prospect
Mountain just west of Interstate 65, Rice Creek is a hidden something of micro Alabama whitewater. In the draft
of this run description, I used the term 'jewel', but now I'm not so sure. Rice drops at a healthy pace but does
not have many rapids with much character. There are a propensity of boulder fields with only a handful of distinct
larger drops. Given the few semi-big drops, the run is a little too painful to justify the irritation of the last
several miles, which has several logs, a swamp, and a short but slippery climb to the road. Rice is definitely
easier than Honeycomb, and not nearly as much fun as Dry/Short,
RR Fork or Big Scirum. So your other big
rain options might be better. But it has been run, so here it is.
Rice may very well define the small end of navigability. I paddle an old school 11' boat. Towards the top of Rice, stopping or turning to eddy out proved unwise. Room is limited. There is really only one tricky rapid, and only a couple cool ones. One 5' drop has a fun twisting boof left, another requires a boof middle to avoid undercuts on the left and right, and another has a semi-bad pin/broach rock at the bottom of a left curving drop.
The CR38 bridge would not be a fun place to put in since the stream is extremely small there. In the first few hundred yards, Rice picks up tributaries and consequently the best place to put in is river right in a CR38 backyard (be nice). The house with the metal blue roof is best. Speaking of best practices, it is advisable to run Rice immediately after or during significant rain. We found it almost too low only 12 hours or so after a big rain - it had been about 8" higher earlier and would have made a much better run. By the time the gradient ran out, we had adequate water due to tributary additions.
Given the history of Prospect Mountain resource extraction, you would think the creek would be a total mess water quality wise. But there are still fish in it, and Dollar Creek was relatively clear, so it can't be too nasty. Rice was cut out in fall 2002. It was totally impassable before that, but as of now the upper two miles are almost completely clean. Ken's 18" Husquavarna is quite the machine.