What a trip! Water levels as always dictated our venue. Following an early in the week change to our full moon overnight paddle venue we ended up back on Clear Creek. With Big South Fork surging up to 9000+ and Clear Creek coming in at near minimum we opted to head to Clear Creek for the 20-mile paddle from Hwy 127 to Barnett Bridge. Due to the late change we decided not to get on the water Friday. We instead camped near Lily Bridge and set out the following day. Our crew of 6 Mike Qualls, Steve Morris, Stephanie Sullivan, Adrian Bahan, John Hawkins, and myself had an awesome evening!
The first day we spent about as much time out of our boats as we did in our boats. No, it wasn’t due to swimmers. What we had however were about 6 or 8 portages (I lost count), most due to downed trees from the recent storms. It kept it interesting and helped to keep us warm though. The first 4-5 miles was very tight, technical, and wood laden. After yet another portage we set up camp shortly after the confluence with No Business Creek. A nice flat area with a water fall. We were all exhausted but having a great time! After some warm clothes and warm food, we enjoyed a fire and early to bed.
The next day with 15 miles between us and the take out we pushed off about 9am. Following a long flat section, we would encounter our first portage of the day. A rock jumble that had no navigable lines. We opted to lower our boats on tethers and reenter below the jumble. Interspersed in the long sections of flat water were plenty of class I / II that added a nice assortment of paddling. These miles clicked off pretty quickly with only 3 portages for the day. The final portage is the class III about a mile from Barnett Bridge. We spent a little time here reading the water, photo ops, and just enjoying the moment as we knew the end of our trip was just around the bend.
I believe we may have brought some additional paddlers into the whitewater world and hopefully new members of TSRA. It was a trip we will not likely forget. There is already talk of an overnight spring trip on the Big South Fork. Keep an eye on the TSRA calendar.
Please take a look at some of the pictures from our trip here.