Joint BRV-CCA Trip: Hendrik & Alf coordinating.
Expecting an inch of rain in the west, we had put out a notice to the Sunday list, with Thornton and Hughes as the goal. Rain god did not deliver, and we found ourselves in what is left of the Wyndham Gardens parking place, now badly crimped by the latest widening of I-66. With a last check on our iPhones we found that Thornton/Hughes really wasn't going to rise to the occasion, but that Cedar Creek was shooting up past the 200 cfs minimum. - - Sold !
We - Gordy, Pam, Gary & Ginny, Anna, Hendrik and I - drove out to the end of I-66, where the take-out for this rare catch is located - only 100 sq mi - less than a third of Goose Creek's catchment. Performing an automotive crochet-hook to get to the take-out just off US 11, we left a couple of cars there and shuttled up to Stephens Fort, 10.5 miles upstream. There, on a householder's lawn sits the tiny 1746 structure. All four corners of the bridge were posted against boat launching. While a couple of us started to operate on the principle of better to ask forgiveness than have to ask permission, others went to ask the householder and got that permission. Great put-in.
We paddled up to see the narrow throat of the stream where water gushes out of a limestone layer into the stream - just around the corner is the Winchester gauge. We started at noon at 217 cfs and kept moving, for we had 10.5 miles to cover. Only 17 cfs above the paddler minimum, it was more than adequate to impel us downstream. Cold day, with temps reviving whenever the sun came out. Early Spring with pale green leaves on the trees, redbuds and bluebells - and a flowering columbine up on the cliff. A pair of us saw a small herd of deer crossing, a pair of nesting Canada geese with two chicks. Out of the creek by 3:30 - the shuttle is amazingly direct. Home by 6:00. Wonderful day. Beautiful stream. Good companions.