Monday, April 07, 2014

More on Plan B (and Plan A)

So far it has not rained as much as expected, but it might not take much to push the Red River up.   It may be a game time decision.  If you want to play along, here are the gauges we're watching:

Red River at Port Royal:,00060

For the Red you should only  read the SECOND graph called "Gage [sic] height, feet."  We're hoping for something under 8.0 feet.  We'd consider going if it's at 10.0 feet if we have a chance to eyeball it from a bridge first.

Clear Fork near Robbins, TN:,00060

Only read the FIRST graph called "Discharge, cubic feet per second."    We're looking for something around 1,000 cfs, but there is a wide range that would be acceptable. 

I will explain why I'm looking at different gauges for different rivers when we're standing around the fire next to one.   For purposes of RELATIVE height though (i.e. whether a river is going up or going down) both graphs are always useful. 

I actually did find my notes on the Clear Fork.   Was not made for publication but here you go.  Note that I have only paddled the second half from Peters Ford to Brewster Bridge, so the first section (including the first night camping) will be completley new to me too:

Clear Fork (Fentress/Morgan Counties)
April 2009

Note: there are only three section to float on the Clear Fork.

Section I: Gatewood Bridge to Peters Ford (6 miles; second most difficult)
Section II: Peters Ford to Brewster Bridge (6 miles; least difficult)
Section III:   Brewster Bridge to Burnt Mill Bridge (10 miles; most difficult)

Section II:   Peters Ford (AB@) to Brewster Bridge (AC@), April 23, 2009.  Solo.  (6.0 miles).

Water level 800 cfs (3.6 ft?) at Anear Robbins@ gauge and falling.  This is a good level.  Never touched and moved quickly.  Riffles fun and exciting but no problem.   Decided (guessed) that ideal range is 800 - 1,000 with 600 - 1,200 acceptable but pushing it.  1,000 would be best case.   For upstream (Section I/Gatewood Ford) probably need 1,000.   Two hours and fifteen minutes from Nashville.

This river is gorgeous. Scenery and flora more like a Canadian river than middle Tennessee (rock outcroppings, boulders in river, spruce, cedar, mountain laurel).   Just beautiful.   Plus really fun, low-risk rapids.   Requires a little maneuvering but not hard at all and mostly standing waves at this water level.  Float time 2.5 hours with a lunch stop. 
Accesses are 100% public and easy (developed and marked by Park Service).  With backcountry permit could camp along river legally.  Camping opportunities not obvious but several spots worth exploring on next trip around Still Camp Branch and Short Creek (highly scenic) and second half of float (more open spaces).  Also big cave on river right above Indian Creek.   No real gravel bars though. 

Note: several Ser/Sta/Gro in the area.  AGlade=s Grocery/Willie Mart@ at Gatewood Ford Rd and Burrville Rd. has deli and general store.   Also good one with porch on the shuttle of this section (Hwy. 52) with deli sandwiches.  Monterey is a neat town.  Old railroad hotel, plus a great diner AThe Cup and Saucer@ on Main Street, a good BBQ across from the high school, and a classic road house bar just east of town called the Monterey Sports Bar with a drive thru beer window. 

I also found a good write-up on-line of the exact trip we would do (12 miles Gatewood Bridge - Peter's Ford - Brewster Bridge):

And a couple more pictures of Clear Fork:

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