Hall's Creek - Trow Lake to Halls' Creek Canoe Landing
I have paddled Hall's Creek when moderately low and very low, but never when it is running at "perfection". Perfection is a relative term, however. So let's talk about "perfection" on Hall's Creek.
Just upstream of the County Road E bridge is a large boulder in the middle of the creek. Most paddlers state that if only the tip of that boulder ("the visual gauge") is showing, the running is good. At Clearwater Dells, we have a similar boulder; the one up front in this picture that we call "Fidro". When Fidro is sticking out of the water by about one foot (lower than shown in the picture below), the run is "perfection". "Perfection" means you will not experience any hangups except, possibly, on the last two drops depending on the line taken. If Fidro is under water, it is approaching too high in our judgement. We would call the water in the picture below to be too high.
Likewise, we would consider the water in the picture above to be reflecting water that is getting towards "too low". We have paddled it in lower conditions, but you certainly spend more time using your stomach muscles doing the stuck-on-rocks-scooch.
The video of our trip below will show Fidro sticking out of the water by probably six inches more than is shown in the picture above (the higher-water picture). That is because the water dropped approximately six inches from Friday into Saturday. But still "perfection".
I had contemplated running Morrison or even Wedges just to do another body of water we had not yet paddled. But we really could not pass up Hall's when it was running at perfection. We needed to run the upper section, from Trow Lake to Garage Road, anyway in order to get some video and pictures for the website.
Getting to put-ins and take-outs always requires some coordination. In this case, we were going to run from Trow Lake to the Hall's Creek Canoe Landing at the Black River. We needed a vehicle at the canoe landing, needed to get up to Trow Lake with (6) kayaks and (6) peeps, and wanted a vehicle at Garage Road in case anyone wanted to bail out before the long paddle after Garage Road. But we got it done and were departing from below the Trow Lake Dam at approximately 11:20 AM.
Hall's Creek is such a beautiful paddle, and the upper section does not disappoint. The put-in at Trow Lake is right below the dam; here is the put-in location (this picture was from a few weeks back when the water was slightly lower):
The hike to the water is not hard, but not necessarily easy either. There is a worn trail through some tall grass down to the powerhouse, where you then have to traverse some softball-sized granite rocks placed for erosion control. But they are loose, so you want to be careful. A short hike along a cement wall through water and a bit of mud, and then a few steep steps down to the rock shelf below, which is actually an excellent put-in once you get to the water.
A little over one hour from Trow Lake to Garage Road. We all decided to continue on, but this is a decision not to gloss over. The next take-out is at Clearwater Dells, and we don't yet have the ability to easily, and safely, get kayaks up the bluffside. Minimum travel time from Garage Road to the canoe landing is probably three hours, so once you commit you are in it for the long haul.
We stopped by Wrightsville Creek to hike up to see the double waterfall. I had stopped here before but not hiked up to the double. The canyon on the way up is really pretty and has a lot of character, and the water is ice-cold.
We had no issues on the dam drop nor the second drop. On the third drop, as usual, I went bow-down into the hole and swamped my kayak. I had things under control enough to get out of the hole, but then the current grabbed the back of my kayak and spun me around, capsizing the water-filled kayak. A kayak with water in it has no stability at all. But only a few bumps and bruises were the result.
The waterfall near the canoe landing was flowing well, but we were too tired at that point to do anything other than enjoy the view.
Here is John's video of our trip; I am going to plug his business here.
Here is my video of the same trip: