Maybe the third straight day of rain is a good day to talk about those contingency plans.
We will still go to the farm house on the Red River Friday night, no matter what. But if the Red is too high we will go to an alternate river nearby for the canoe trip on Saturday and Sunday.
The idea is that if we get on a small, shallow stream (which you normally would avoid in the fall), it won't matter how much rain we've had. If it rains more, we'll just find a smaller, shallower one. In theory we could accomplish the same thing on any river if we put in far enough upstream.
The problem with moving upstream, though, is that a lot of middle Tennessee (and Kentucky) rivers still have old mill dams across them on the upper stretches. And they are treacherous. We once almost drown Brother Jack and a perfectly good labrador retriever trying to portage around an 8-foot dam at flood stage. On the Red River we only have about twenty river miles above the farm house before we have to start dealing with mill dams. You also are likely to see blowdowns and sweepers all the way across the river if you start way up near the head waters. Nothing a two-man crosscut saw can't handle, but still a pain.
So if the Red River doesn't work out, the two most likely candidates will be the Gasper River and Yellow Creek.
The Red River (A) flows basically east to west from around Springfield to Clarksville, dipping in and out of Kentucky as it goes. The Gasper (B) is just on the other side of the state line, west of Bowling Green. And Yellow Creek (C) is west of Clarksville and flows due north into the Cumberland River at Cumberland City (near Land Between the Lakes). Both the Gasper and Yellow Creek are less than an hour from the farm house.
[Note: That issue of not being able to return to the main page after you click on something seems to have fixed itself. But if you want to enlarge something you can always right-click and "Open and in New Window" if it's still doing that].
Everything you need to know about the Red River you can find in the posts leading up to our aborted trips there in 2005 and 2006.
August 30, 2005 (watching for high water)
September 1, 2005 (the Bell Witch)
September 8, 2005 (the Red River and the Bell Witch)
October 13, 2005 (maps of the Red River)
November 4, 2005 (target campsite)
November 9, 2005 (understanding what the water levels mean on the Red)
May 1, 2006 (reprint of proposed campsite for Spring 2006)
May 2, 2006 (reprint of how to read the Red River gauges for Spring 2006)
Red River (fall)
The Gasper is characterized by rock ledges and has some really good riffles and faster water (between slow pools). It has steep hills and bluffs around it and would be pretty in the fall.
Gasper River (spring)
Yellow Creek is positively Piney-like. That means blue-green water and lots and lots of good gravel bars. Notes from a previous trip say "don't settle for a bad one." It qualifies as small and shallow, but not as small as the name suggests. One man's creek is another man's river.
Yellow Creek (summer)
Histocial footnote: In the 19th century, a group of idealists founded a utopian society on the banks of Yellow Creek in Ruskin, Tennessee. But ended up no different than the RRCC.