Monday, August 8, 2011

#12 Report: Coon Creek on Sunday

After a good breakfast at Jet Sky Restaurant, I decided to back the truck over by a grove of pine trees to have some privacy changing into my wetsuit.This is as good a place as any. Head east on Rt.36 and turn left on S.R.2006. There is an inch and a half of snow on this road. I see one down grade ahead of me, so I stopped the truck and walked down to check out the hill. I reached the point where I could see to the bottom of the slope. It is OK. One truck has been through here before me this morning and left a wide tire track. I have never forgotten that uncontrolled slide down an icy hill entering Sandy Creek years ago. Back to the truck and drove slowly in first gear incase things get out of hand. Made it to the bottom and a ways further I turned left around the barricade to descend to Nebraska Bridge. I hope this snow melts before I have to ride the MC on it.
Chain the MC to the sign post and continue back up out of there to turn left on Golinza Road. Arrive at the previously mentioned put-in at Golinza Bridge. Park the truck facing up-slope on the state game lands road. Unload the Mohawk and slide it through a gap in the guard rails and line it down a steep bank through briars to the waters edge. This is the upstream-creek left side of the bridge, which seemed to be the best launch point. Take a moment to reflect in the beauty of nature and to compose myself. Shove off and the creek carries the boat forward. This is remote wilderness. No trees to climb over this morning. Water level is M-H, into average grass line. Again, I did not see any wildlife. That is strange in a place like this. No difficulties to mention. Paddle out of the forest onto an open lake. Round a bend to the left and take out on a mud bank 100 yards before the bridge. This was 6.0 miles of good canoe water. Drag the canoe up to the brush area, then shoulder it another 200 yards to chain it to a guard rail along a rill which drains water to the lake. From here I walk up another 150 yards to the MC. I have a knit hat to wear and gloves. It looks like the snow has melted off of the road.
It was a cold ride back for the truck. I miss that helmet. Got back OK and loaded the MC on the rack. Head back for the canoe. Compete that, then head back over Golinza Road. Cross over the bridge where I started this morning and continue to check out the claimed headwater point of Coon Creek. Claimant says to launch from S.R.2007 bridge, which is Muzette Road, and launch onto a private pond . Paddle down the pond, portage the dam, launch again onto Elsworth Run which leads to Coon Creek. Obviously this is too far into the headwaters, with a trespassing risk as well.The public cannot be directed to cross private property in any reports to be published about canoeing.
Watching each bend on the atlas as I am driving, I near Muzette Road. Pass a road that should be it, but it is called Wards Ranch Road. Continue on and notice elevation changes among other things which are differernt from the atlas. Stop, turn around and head back. Wards Ranch Road must be it. Turn left and topagraphy looks OK. After a ways I see Elsworth Run down the slope on my right through the forest. Arrive at S.R.2007 bridge. The pond had been drained probably three or four years ago. Brush is growing in the bed of it. The rill flowing under this bridge is 5 or 6 feet wide and lacks sufficent water to attempt a float out of here. I can see the land owners beautiful house on a bluff over looking this area from about a quarter of a mile away. It is pure speculation as to why the pond had been drained. Maybe the state said the dam was old, or maybe the owner had no further use for it. This is no place to launch a canoe, so I get my pictures to back up my accessment. Drive back out of here. This is a two lane wide clay road. Gas company work for sure. Could see areas where possible development was in process. Clay roads are very smooth and can be very slick if you attempt to stop in a hurry. Turn right on Oak Woods Road and continue east to Marienville on Rt.66.
Drive out to Shefield to East Branch of Tionesta Creek. Turn off of Rt.666 onto Rt.948 and drive about one mile to Donaldson where East Branch joins the larger South Branch of Tionesta Creek. The East Branch is small, but passable at its mouth. It is 25 feet wide here. The road I was hoping to use along it is private and heavily posted. Someone has attempted to destroy the main posted sign and other signs have been added around it. This is not good. I checked the topo map of this area. There are 21 oil wells showing on this piece of road which loops around through the forest. There must be more of them on the "Ludlow" topo map which I do not have. I had hoped to drive up to the three mile point and paddle down. The next public road access is nine miles by creek from here on Forest Hwy#133. Nine miles further up this branch would be too small. Hemlocks are a fifty fifty mix among the hardwoods here. I don't like that either. Took pictures of the damaged signs. I'm out of here.
Head north on Rt.948 to Shefield. Two Mile Creek enters South Branch of Tionesta Creek on the south side of town. Stopped to look at the mouth. It is small and splits into two channels five feet wide at this bridge. Continued checking it at a few places east of town. It flows in a corrected channel through town.Basically straight forward to accomodate industry. Brushy, but not meeting in the middle of its fifteen foot width.Checked it a few more times before I got to the three mile minimum length point. It has numerous fallen trees down. From the three mile vantage point, I can see three fallen trees and debris piles that would have to be portaged in the 200 feet of stream visible. The channeled area extends up one mile from the mouth at which point the creek becomes a natural flowing brook. If I can't justify three miles, I certainly would not attempt it from a long ways further up. Got more pictures of all areas and I am on the road for Kinzua Lake. These two creeks have been run from a point too close to the source. If you would ask those paddlers if they would do it again, the answer would be "no". I am sure that three miles could be done on East Branch of Tionesta Creek if one could obtain permission to use that private road. It would take half a day to locate that person, so it is best not to trespass against that many signs. -Bill

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