4 August 2018
We were lured west by the promise of Sideling Hill Creek at a moderate level (435 cfs at put-in time) on a long, warm, and sunny day. Barbara Brown, Kathleen Sengstock, Ron Shanholtz, Gordon Lang, Cindy Rogers, Roger Blake, Dana Verkouteren, Kerrie Kyde, and John Snitzer paddled the intermediate length trip starting from the old Rt 40 bridge. The mid 400s is a nice level on SH Creek with steady current, fluffy little wave trains and a few moderate ledge drops. There were comments that a slightly higher water level on an earlier trip this year washed out much of the stream. This is a prototype beginner’s run with spectacular scenery of forest and cliffs. All paddled exceptionally well.
Woodland sunflowers were in flower and Joe Pye weed towered over us. The ferns were particularly lush after the wet summer. Recent high water (4440 cfs on 1 Aug) flattened streamside vegetation and uprooted several trees that fell into the river. They required caution but not carries. There were debris piles and wrack lines 4-5’ above current water level.
Many people made this trip work out. Alf Cooley sent out the call to the river last night at a late hour, overcoming the handicap of a broken wrist from a Seneca Creek cleanup trip. Barb stepped up as safety mentor. We benefited from the recent experience on this stream and the leadership of Ron and Kathleen who herded us downstream and found the proper take out spot.
We found Grant Rd, the access road to the intermediate takeout, to be degraded by recent rains with scoured ruts and a partially washed out culvert. We could lose that access point if the road is not maintained.
The nine-mile trip took 3:35 with a lunch stop. We drove home through a rain storm near Hancock. With the sun behind us we enjoyed a brilliant rainbow to end the day. Trip was rated 10/10.