Big Creek, Stokes County, NC
April 4, 2008
Level = 2.5
I don't know if the Mill Rapid was Class IV today or not, but I do know that 7 of our 9 paddlers chose to portage it. And I know that it felt more difficult to me than the six class IVs I've ran to date. I ran two trips through the rapid. The first one was accidental. I thought I would be cute and drop over the top ledge backwards, then slip into an eddy to get out to scout. Everyone else had taken out above the rapid and were checking it out. I flipped before I made it to the eddy and rode the first half of the rapid upside down and backwards, taking a few hits along the way. When I got the chance, I rolled up, just in time to see that I was going left at the big rock splitting the exits. The last time I was there, a tree blocked that line. I looked up and saw Cat. I yelled "Is it clear?" Cat yells back "NOOOO" I yell "$^Y&!!" and drop down toward the tree. I got lucky and the front of the fun rode up on it in a big wheelie instead of nosing down under it. I took out and climbed back up to do what everyone else was doing, which was pointing at the river and trying to find the best lines. I thought a line all the way down the right side looked okay. So I pass my boat up the rocks and help pass boats down the rocks. Only Teresa and I opted to make the run. I had the advantage of having ran it at lower water before. Things went great. I had to brace at the top, but the line worked the way I had hoped and was a ton of fun. Teresa, in an open boat, was able to make the right-to-left line.
Loop De Loop was another highlight. It's always a great photo op and a blast to run. I went first and ran the right side. From what everyone said, I pulled a disappearing act, then popped straight up like a cork before flipping and rolling up in the river-right eddy. All I heard was "bubble, bubble, bubble.". Teresa went next and chose the right side as well, but found the rocks hidden in the hole at the bottom. At that point, everyone else decided that Teresa and I weren't the best at picking lines, so they all went left and faired much better. I know Sammy and Joe enjoyed Loop De Loop, they were both grinning from ear to ear at the bottom of it. I was with a great group of paddlers on Big Creek and was the only kayaker spending any time upside down in the chocolate water. Everyone paddled great on a creek that most hadn't seen before. Personally I was stoked to have pushed things a little bit in the Fun, but to have finished with no swims. It was another fun SRVCC trip and the paddlers were Joe, Goodman, Sammy, Joanne, Bob, Cat, Bev, Teresa and myself.
We worked hard to be respectful of the landowner's wishes at the put-in, but now know for sure that it cannot be used, at all, in any circumstances. It's not about the parking, he doesn't want you to step foot on his land to get to the creek. That's his right, so the only put-in near road access is out. Hopefully something can be worked out somewhere else, because it's a really fun creek that's close to home.