Little Clear Creek
|Stretch:||Highway 63 to Lily|
|Difficulty:||Class IV (IV+)|
|Flows:||~1.7' to 3' (some people cut off around 2.3', 2.0' felt low side of good to me). The gauge is located upstream of the put-in bridge on the river left bank (to your right as you look up). It is easiest to view it from the river right side of the bridge, it is ~100 upstream. Look for 2 inches of rain in the previous day.|
|Gradient:||69 fpm average (lots of flat water near the top)|
|Take-out:||Lily Bridge on Clear Creek|
|Shuttle:||5.2 miles (10 minutes one-way)|
|Season:||Winter/Spring from rain...|
|Featured in A Wet State #103|
Norway 2015 – Day 15 Afternoon
After our Island Creek laps we headed over for a quick lap on Little Clear Creek. Nate Helms and David Finney were game, and Diane and I were on autopilot, barely functioning even with the help of caffeine. But, I hadn't done the run, I really wanted it, and it was summer and the boating situation was going to be getting slim to none in the region really quickly.
I have to say though, I was actually a little disappointed with this creek. I had expected more rapids. Instead, after quite a ways of flat water, it gave way into congested willow and wood filled rapids that although always ended up going just find, added some stress to a section that didn't warrant that stress level. Finally, we got to the good rapids, Triple Drop and the nice ledges below. But just like that we were done. It was fun certainly. It has water fairly often during the rainy season. But I was just expecting something more from it after all I had heard. And with that impression I was thinking that the next day when we shoved off for Crooked Fork I would be similarly disappointed as I had heard less positive things about that river... but that river was full of fun rapids to my surprise, but that story is for its write-up.
I had 2.0' on this lap. I thought it was on the low side of good. Didn't feel low, but didn't feel medium either. This winter we went to check this creek and saw 2.7'. The friends we were with were not interested in the higher flow, and since Diane and I knew literally nothing about the creek we opted to not put on just the two of us. Boaters do enjoy this flow, but I think for the group we had on that day not putting on was probably the right call. Safety before pride!
Last: Norway 2015: Day 15 Morning - Island Creek (TN)
Next: Norway 2015: Day 16 - Crooked Fork (TN)
- The first bit is mostly flat with occasional class II. During the summer months there is a lot of growth coming from the banks that makes the channels hard to see through.
- Pick's Up (II). Rapids pick up and you get your first bit of bluff line along the left shore. It then opens back out until it leads to the next bluff line on the left shore, this is the start of the rapids.
- Lead In (III to IV-). The lead in to trip drop seems to have changed (2021) as before the initial slide had a 3 foot ledge into a caldron. However now that ledge was just a ramp with no hole to speak of on my descent yesterday. Below are low angle slides that lead directly to the lip of Triple Drop, there are two good eddies on the right, one at the lip, and one just above the lip. Run the slides center down to those eddies.
- Triple Drop (IV to IV+). This is a really fun drop, and I would love to see it with some juice. We entered and boofed left of center onto the slide which then ramps down through a wave hole. 15 feet downriver is another small ledge which you want to straighten up for.
- Junky (III to IV). Below Triple Drop it gets a little junky. The first rapid is mellow and takes you left to right. The second one the main line is on the left side. It goes better with more water. It is an s-turn that has a badly undercut (but relatively small, and not actually danger -I think- rock) on the left. At low flows it is hard to avoid a hip check into that rock. At 2.2 it is easy to avoid. Immedaitly below is a small ledge that I am sure at high flows can pack a punch, but at normal flows is mellow. Just plop off it straight. Then, eddy out as Novacain is immediatly downstream. You can see it barely in the first picture in the Novacaine section.
Novocaine (IV+). The rapid is easy enough, but it isn't clear and in 2015 there was a log to get stuffed behind just below. Scout from the right. The line is to sweep around the left and back into the main current, avoid pitoning the rocks in the ramp, avoid getting stuff into the undercut on the left, and then to avoid the right wall. The log in 2015 was against the wall creating a pocket to pin you. You can seal launch into the exit on the right very easily. At higher flows you can also sneak far left.
Exit (III+). The exit of Novacaine is immedaitly downstream and is a river wide ledge. Far right has a nice boof to easily clear the hole.
- Boofaclicious (IV). On the other side of the pool from above, there is this tall drop. Run it down the middle and boof the hole that forms at higher flow. Super picturesque spot.
Oh Yea (IV-). This is a great boof and is noticeable from above. The river drops down to the left a little on a left bend. Stay right and boof the slab off the right shore.
Last One (III). There was one last rapid of note that was a little blind from above. We entered right and worked back left to deeper water.
- Bridge Rapid (III). At the bridge is one last fun rapid with a few holes that depending on the flow are either fun or can get spicey. Just stay middle if in doubt. Eddy out on the left below to walk up to your car... or continue down through Clear Creek.
Take-out: From Wartburg on Highway 27, continue north for 2.7 miles before turning left onto TN-62 W. Follow this for 4.3 miles before turning left onto Ridge Rd (if you are unsure about the flow, stay straight for 2.0 miles and check the gauge at put-in). Follow Ridge Rd for 3.2 miles down to the parking at the bridge.
Put-in: Go back out to TN-62 and turn left. Follow TN-62 for 2.0 miles to the bridge over Little Clear Creek. Most park before the bridge.
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