From Alf Van Hoose:
How did this happen? On a sunny day in March 2011 I am approaching the point of no return to ride the slide thru Camp Juliet Low on the upper East Fork Little River. About 150 yards downstream my friend is waiting at the end of this rapid. What is this rapid doing here? There is nothing but mellow Class II above Camp Juliet Low and nothing but mellow Class II below Camp Juliet Low after a dinky 4 foot spillway at the end of a girl scout swimming pool in the river. I mean like where did this twisty slide beam itself from to settle here on top of Lookout Mountain?
I suspected that something was going down at Camp Juliet Low. My USGS quad showed 2 contours lines close together here sandwiched between two others not too far upstream and not too far downstream. So earlier this winter I drove into the camp and politely asked the guy at the entrance house if he would mind if I scouted the river there. "You can't run thru the rocks there". It was clear that he did not want me to drive (or walk) any further so I left knowing now there was something interesting down there. But a 150 yard slide! No way! Who ordered that!!
Take main route down the right side of the Town Creek slide. Narrow it down by about 50%, more than double its length, and replace the hole at the end with its baby brother. Add a few twists here and there. Run it thru a girl scout camp on Lookout Mountain. Until I learn its local name I will call this thing Slide Winder.
My plan is to keep my boat pointed downstream and ride the main flow. Avoid the ZFS (zones of funny slide). Unfortunately we are running today at a medium low level for this small creek. The West Fork gauge about 10 miles northwest of Camp Juliet Low read 500 cfs about the time we started. So there are lots of ZFS in this slide. Maybe 150 cfs here today. Probably better at 300 cfs. But maybe not. At some point there will be a transition from "thrilling class IV" to what the Bama Boys would call "stout class IV" and what I would call "screaming class V".
I decide to enter Slide Winder very slowly. Bad idea! You should ride the main flow at roughly the same speed as it is moving. So it slings me over a hump that scrapes me slower then drops me back into the main flow partly sideways. I recover well and feel the acceleration peel my boat downslide fast. Now my plan is working. The main flow at this level stays mostly in the middle until what I call the crossover about 2/3 thru this rapid. There it banks off the right bank and like ricochets across the channel at 45 degrees to bounce off rocks on the left bank. I ride it thru there OK. A small wall of water slows me down then the steep part of this rapid is over. Probably about 25 feet down in about 300 feet of slide. The rest is relatively slow and the baby hydraulic at the end is not a problem.
This run starts off badly. Better to put in below a dirt road bridge that the flood earlier this week has partly destroyed. Far better to put in further downstream where another dirt road is next to the river left bank. But those are probably private roads gated off. We are in Georgia upstream from the Little River forest management area. The forest is mostly clear cut on both sides of the river in the first mile making it tough to portage logs blocking the current.
Except for Slide Winder this run is not very scenic. The major flood of September 2009 uprooted numerous trees and bent just about everything growing on many sections of the East Fork riverbank. Fortunately the river right bank is easy to walk to portage Slide Winder. At our level it was safe to stop near where that rapid starts. At higher levels I would stop further upstream if I were you. There are no eddies in Slide Winder.
Shuttle: From Mentone AL drive east on AL 117. Turn right on Dekalb CR 635 about 1 mile after crossing the bridge over the Middle Fork Little River. Drive south about 1/2 mile to the bridge over the East Fork Little River. This takeout is more comfortable than taking out at the GA 48 highway bridge. But it is also 1/2 mile further. Drive back to AL 117, turn right, drive about 1 1/2 miles east on AL 117 / GA 48, then turn left on GA 157 in Cloudland GA. Drive about 5 miles north on GA 157 then turn left on Gilbreath Hill Rd and drive about 3/4 miles to the Gilbreath Creek bridge. There is a old mill spillway on the upstream side of this bridge. Gilbreath Creek joins Gamble Branch about 200 feet downstream to define the start of the East Fork Little River.