Shirttail Creek V+ [North Fork American]
Going into this run I knew nothing at all about Shirttail Creek, but read the brief write-up at Caliproduct on the way to the take-out. With a quote like this, how could anyone not want this run? “Shirttail Creek is one of the best one day runs in California.” We were still kayaking with Karl and Chad from Colorado, and feeling pretty good after the previous day on the Loves Falls run of the NF Yuba.
We found the take-out and put-in quite easily and were on the water fairly early in the morning, and guessing we had 300-400cfs. Note here that we were really optimistic about the right water level for Shirttail. After a ½ mile of class II water we knew it was going to start dropping fast, and the first rapid was large. Jon was eddy hopping and got blown down the initial move of the rapid but was able to eddy out on the right while we scouted. Chad wasn’t feeling it at this point and hiked out, while Karl was and went down the first drop.
Karl had a fine run and I followed shortly after and ran the next drop below it where we all collected in an eddy and went downstream to the next scout on the corner. We scouted through the poison oak and the run dropped out of sight, with tons of water in it.
This big munchy hole didn’t look friendly and pushed into a big boulder mess downstream. Karl with the munchy hand motions.
After a little deliberation we all hiked out, deeming flows to be way too high. How high, I’m still not sure, but a group that has the run dialed ran it the previous day and reported it and the top end, and flows increased overnight. So after a ego boosting day on Loves Falls, we humbly hiked up a short, steep, poison oak infested hillside to the road and called it quits. Here is a shot of the run just around the corner from our hike out, I think we managed to find the best hike-out before the run disappeared at 400fpm.
The West Virginia reference, or perhaps South America judging by the condition of this old bridge that one wouldn’t assume is near the foothills of Sacramento.