Monday, July 11, 2011

#8 Report: Canoe Creek Continued

Doing map study at the motel Friday night, I went back over todays maps again and claimants info provided for canoe guide book.Beaver Creek is too small at 1.7 mile mark up from Clarion River. This is the first bridge downstream of Blairs Mills. I never went to the 5.6 mile point. Too small is too small. On Canoe Creek, the next accessible bridge is 6.2 miles up from the mouth, not 5.2 as claimed. It could never be any bigger than 12 feet wide 3.4 miles closer to headwaters. The writings state that there are "undercuts" below I-80 on both creeks. A map count of eleven slight bends in 1.7 miles could give some idea of what to expect to traverse Beaver Creek.
Saturday March 19th, Up at 5:00AM. Catch the news, breakfast at 6:00AM at Eatin Park Restaurant. Do the routine and get on the road for Canoe Creek at 6:45AM. Arrive early. Check maps again. Drop MC at area named Canoe Ripple just up from the bridge over Clarion River. There is a barricade blocking an abandoned road here. The bridge over Canoe Creek went out years ago.It is about 150 yard walk down this road to the creek. The topo map shows a closer way into the creek on the other side, but without checking it out, it appears to go right by someones house, and it is too early in the morning to attempt a road nobody uses anymore. It could possibly be barricaded beyond that persons driveway. A little walk up out of this creek won't hurt me.
Went to the first bridge across the creek, which is 1.3 mile point. Water is at M level today which is probably too low for a degree III run. At the last minute I decided to walk the creek to get a feel for it. I had in mind that I may return in the future and run it from 2.8 mile point under I-80. More than one claim was made on this piece which gives it some credibility. I sometimes walked steeper sections of degree IV first to learn the course before running it. I have never done this on degree III, but the narrow width makes me think this is a wise decision. Started at 7:20AM. It is 34 degrees this morning, no wind. I had to cross the creek three times by picking a shallower section in order to avoid near vertical banks on outside of bends. Water is knee-deep. One must be careful of leg entrapment doing this. I am using my single blade w.w. paddle as a hiking stick. Came to a 2.5 inch thick telephone cable suspended across the creek. There is enough clearance to get under it if the water was H-H. Nice to know. Saw two white disk that had washed down here. Don't know what they are. Both at different locations. Minor boat scratchers, but not serious to travels. Only saw two undercuts, but there could have been another as growth on banks was dense in a few places preventing under bank checking. Some pieces of tree in places easily visible. Came upon a major tree jam creek-wide in the last rapids. Two trees about 24 inches in diameter completely block the creek. The water has found its way through near both banks, creating an island just upstream of the abandoned bridge pilings mentioned earlier. All manner of debris is collected here. No passage for canoe or kayak here. While walking on creek right, noticed a farm tractor wheel on the bank. A sign of civilizaton. From here, a house is visible high up on the mountain across the Clarion River. Finished the hike at 7:55AM. Run the MC back for the truck.I wanted to take everything back so that I would not have to return to this point. Chain and lock went into MC compartment and I stuck the blade of the paddle down into the back of my PFD. I'm glad nobody went by to see this. Upon returning I had to do a 180 degree turn to approach and load the MC on the rack.While making the turn the front tire skidded on the gravel road even though I was going slow.
My concerns about these smooth street tires proved to be real.I quickly got a foot out and prevented a fall. It is a good thing this MC is small. Load up and head for Maple Creek near Cook Forest.
This creek is near Clarington on the Clarion River. Bridge over creek mouth is guard railed in on both sides making it tricky to exit the water.Found a gap in the railings with a path leading down to the Clarion River. This point is just downstream of the mouth of the creek. Chained the MC to railing here and put a return note on it. I hook this onto the handle bar incase it is anybodys business.
Property owner has creek left side fenced in with six foot high chainlink fence toped with 30 degree angle brackets with barbed wire. This is too close to water to think about exiting there. Water is running a good M level. This expensive fence runs along the road for about 500 feet before turning and going up through the forest beyond where one could see the end of it. I wondered what justifies that kind of security a way out here. A sign on one gate says that it is an electric type. There is a German Shepherd running around in there barking its head off. Looks like new structural steel pieces of various sizes inside of fence. MEC is the name on the "no trespassing" signs.
Head north on Rt.899 to Redclydie and turn left onto Bear Run Road. this is in bad condition. Could really use repaving. Round a bend and see a beautiful multi millon dollar cement bridge across the Maple Creek. Wide shoulders and guard rails both sides. Big PennDOT "no parking" signs on both sides for a good ways from the creek. These are the symbol signs with the big letter "P" with a slash-line through it. I wondered if my tax dollars paid for this extravagance? Noticed that property owner has "posted and patrolled" signs on both sides of the road for a long distance. The shoulders are very good and wide for a long distance. This must be a hunting,fishing,dirt biker problem. Stopped on the bridge and checked the water. It is at M level, and passable. I could chance this but someone would see an empty MC rack on my truck. They might not observe that a second canoe is missing from the roof rack. This issue is easy for anyone patrolling. They don't even have to find me. They can report the violation of a state issue parking sign and I get a ticket. This creek could be run if a paddler was dropped and the shuttle vehicle driven away. The creeping Pocono disease has arrived here. Took pictures and continued around on the west side on the creek to check out a dotted line road showing on the atlas.
Make a left turn on a road posted "no winter maintenance". I know what that means. A little ways further a second sign warns "heavy truck traffic".Have never seen that one before. Road got progressively worst. I was lucky to make it to the top of the elevation in this muddy quackmire. I stopped at the top and could see that the downhill side towards the creek was real bad. On my right, a cable across the side road is down and I can see that major work is going on up there. A sight is being cleared, most likely for gas drilling. Turned round on this side road and left the area. Continued south-downstream. Pulled over near mouth of the creek to check the map. Looked at the water on my left and saw another sign on a tree. "Private, no parking. Vehicles will be towed at owners expense" Noticed the name on the sign is MEC. Friendly people. They control both sides of the creek. All of this is in rural area west of Cook State Forest. So, both ends of this small creek are too private and there is no way into the middle of it. Write it off. Someone must have run this years ago before gas exploration came in. Load MC and drive to wide pull-off area on Rt.899 to get out of wetsuit. End of this venture. Head home for brother-in-laws party tomorrow. -Bill

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