Sunday, June 27, 2010

Willow Creek

I think Willow Creek is my favorite whitewater run in a packraft.  Of course you've got the classics, Campground Rapids (local stomping ground), Six Mile (big smiles at low water), Bird Creek (short but technical), Lion's Head (really silty)....but for some reason I love going back to float the Willow.

The water is crystal clear and relatively warm, yeah you still need a drysuit.  The rapids are technical, but won't absolutely thrash you due to the "pool-drop" style characteristics of the river.  Meaning if you swim a drop, you'll likely be able to swim to shore at the bottom of the recovery pool.

There are two runs on this river, Redgate and Guardrail.  Redgate is the more beginner float at CLI-II, and Guardrail being the more intermediate run at CLII-III.  The Upper Willow is run by the hardshellers and experts at CLV+.

The Hoff and I made an early morning jaunt to take advantage of a recent rain spike in the gauge.  The trail was super slick, and I ended up on my ass more than twice.  This would be the M.O. for the first rapid, "Warmup Rapid".

After scouting the put-in, we chose to run "the drop above the Guardrail put-in".  There aren't any pictures of our run, but here is a vid put together from our run about 2 weeks ago.

Shortly after this 3-4 foot ledge drop, you enter "Warmup Rapid".  I viewed most of this rapid upside down, as the burly water took me for a ride.  It was good to cool down in the recovery pool.  The rest of the run was all smiles.  I'd look back at Marc, and see grins had by all.  We got to surf a lot of waves on the Redgate section, and made the run in about 90 mins.

Here is a map of our adventure.
 Definitely one of my local favs, and even better with a Summer Ale at the take-out.

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