Group trip with Bryan, Dave and John on Thursday. Fred came up on Friday.
Thursday, Bryan and I got to the property around suppertime. Dave and John were already there. We thought we could clear out camping sites along the new trail on the top of the bluff, but that proved to be a bit more involved than we thought, so we punted and set up just off of the new trail.
I had hauled the new enclosed outfitted trailer up. This makes it much easier to travel to the property, gets rid of the ugly garbage can storage, and provides essential needs for future campers. I also had to transport the two kayaks that we keep at home and was able to mount them on the top ladder rack. This worked out extremely well and the kayaks and trailer traveled well. The only issue was that I needed to haul the trailer back home, as I need to inventory the items in the trailer and needed to haul the two kayaks back home.
In any case, excellent fried chicken from what is now Hansen's, formally Gordies, formally Burnstad's was our supper. We played some bags on my new cornhole bag boards and John flew for a bit.
Up on Friday morning with bacon and eggs for breakfast, cleanup and off to get on the water. John had made this trip before, but Bryan and Dave had not, so this was going to be an introduction to the wonderful paddling waters around Black River Falls.
We adjusted our plans due to potential weather; we decided we needed to do the Hall's Creek leg from Garage Road to the Hall's Creek Canoe Landing before rain was to hit us the next day. As it turns out, we stopped at Nick's place instead of continuing to the canoe landing, but I really don't want to have to do that much. However, we learned a valuable lesson on insuring the proper plan for take-out is in place before you start your trip. Not that we did not have a plan; we did but then made a last-minute adjustment that left us with no ride at the canoe landing, and peeps who really did not have the proper footwear to hike the one-mile to Clearwater Dells.
In any case, we took off from Garage Road around 9:00 AM, and wrapped up at Nick's at about 1:30 PM.... about 4-1/2 hours. The water was low and it became a pretty scrapey ride, with many hang-ups along the way. At the same time, we were able to find decent flows through most rapids and small drops without issue, but it is truly more enjoyable when you don't have to rock yourself loose because you are hung up on a rock or in some shallow rapids.
The first drop at the dam was flowing just fine; a bit of scraping but no hangups. The last two shelf drops, however, were an exercise in trying to get yourself unstuck while not getting sideways and flipping. The challenge is always to find the correct line to take.
Even with lower water, however, Hall's Creek is so beautiful, and the landscape makes the scraping worthwhile. I am concerned, however, that the one landslide we saw may be multiplied with the frac sand rail spur going into place within 300' of Hall's Creek. All of that vibration can do nothing but destroy the beauty.
Nick's hill is also no small feat to haul kayaks, and we were exhausted after this trip... but a good kind of exhausted. So we rested for a bit (after getting our trucks from Garage Road and taking advantage of the showers in Hatfield) and then ate some supper.
Fred showed up, and he and Bryan hauled their kayaks down to Nick's and made the trip down to the canoe landing. It took them about 25 minutes, and it was pretty scrapey going down. They stated that the waterfall was flowing.
Dave, John and I went down to the canoe landing where Dave and I fished. I had a small smallmouth on, but it jumped pretty high and threw the hook. Once Fred and Bryan arrived, we got them loaded up and went up to Brickhouse Road Landing to scope out a potential Black River trip in the morning. We then went up to the Powerhouse Road Landing, where Dave and I fished for a bit. Dave caught a small (very small) smallmouth.
The plan was for a few to kayak the Black River from Powerhouse Road Landing to Hall's Creek Landing the next morning. When we awoke, however, there was rain coming in according to the radar, so we started getting things packed before the rain hit. We suspected we would need to leave in the afternoon, as heavy rains were expected Saturday night. Nothing worse than getting up in the morning with everything wet.... you end up spending a half-day after your return just re-setting things up just to dry them out.
All made a decision to hit the road, and we were out of there around 11:00 AM.
This was a great introduction of the kayaking to Bryan and Dave. Everyone loved it. The only downside is that Fred was not able to do this with us. Next time.