Old Cow Creek III (IV) [Redding]
I didn’t know a thing about Old Cow Creek besides the fact that it flows into Cow Creek and eventually the Sacramento River to the southeast of Redding. Jon had scouted this one out previously and also had a Waterfalls West write-up about a small waterfall on the run that might be a go. Take-out had plenty of water and a downed log upstream wasn’t too surprising but didn’t slow us down and a quick shuttle had us at this cool old powerhouse that was releasing water back into the streambed giving it adequate flows.
Continuous is the very description of this run. From the start it was fast class II and some III with lots of willows on the riverbed. This carried on for a mile or two with some brush fighting, log ducking and one quick portage. The first horizon line was this little dam that unfortunately diverted water out of the Old Cow.
The run went downhill after this with a lack of water and rockier character, we bashed down rocks and got immensely frustrated. Thankfully after a mile of complete junk another stream doubled the flow of water, followed by another small tributary and release from another hydro project. To our amazement the run just kept going and going, with a few more log portages and miles of class II-III water with minimal eddies. Eventually, and gratefully we got to the takeout and Jon fired up his new shuttle rig.
I won’t be back for this run, and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone due to the hazard of logs without eddies and lack of any significant drops. We did find the aforementioned waterfall, about ¼ mile downstream of the takeout.