Pikes Peak River Runners 

Middle Fork of the Salmon 2007

Lake Creek Update

By Christina King

 May 29, 2007, Tuesday, Fire Island (3.6 feet):

Our trip started with the usual cold nights but unusually warm (HOT) daytime temps.  We enjoyed the first of many hotsprings soaks in Stanley at the Mountain Village Lodge

We fill out our River Shuttles paperwork and enjoyed a nice dinner at the lodge and buy some of our favorite granola at the Stanley Baking company for the road.  Boundary Creek road conditions and log jam rumors swirled before we left Colorado.  We rigged early the day before our launch after driving in on a bone dry  Boundary Creek road.  Jack and Wendy witnessed a vehicle drive off the perfectly good Boundary Creek dirt road and stopped to help.  A passing nurse in another vehicle took over and they were soon on the way to the put-in. 

We camped on our trailer after rigging and loading the boats down the ramp. 


Bill "rides" his boat down the ramp. 



The flow was moderate.  Krista the ranger enjoyed visiting with us in camp and warned us about Lake Creek.  Chigger and the rest of our group are ready to go boating. 

We visit Dagger Falls the night before we launch for a last look.  We launched about noon and quickly ran down to Velvet where Pete and I had good runs. I got a bit close to the lip of the Velvet Falls drop but pulled back into the left eddy just in the nick of time. The rest of the group had a mix of good and extra exciting runs - many had a hard time recognizing the rapid in time and pulled hard to run left.  Some ran the ledge hole.  All ran it right side up.  Trail Flat hotsprings was a nice soak/stop for lunch while Anne captured a friendly snake for Patti. Patti got lodged in the Chutes for a bit and Keith had a shark bite his cataract blade in Powerhouse. 

We camped at Fire Island and enjoyed a hike/soak up to Sheepeater hotsprings before dinner. 



Bill spies a huge puffball mushroom in our camp meadow.  Shelby bundles up for the cold night and swears he'll sleep in his Carhart coveralls if he can fit into his sleeping bag with them on. 


May 30, 2007, Wednesday, Marble Creek #2 (3.5 feet):

Pete's cat seat is frozen to his frame!  Very cold night last night.  Today is the big day to scout and run Lake Creek Rapid.  Lake Creek and Pistol Creek rapids have been discussed on a lot of river groups discussion sites (Idaho and pictures) this spring in regards to log jams.  A lot of river trips pull up behind us to scout.  The Lake Creek rapid scout is very intimidating.  Our group runs in two sub-groups with most of us running the lower left run, however, two in our group run the lower right.  The river runs up against trees in the river and it looks difficult to get left.  Turns out it's not hard to get left at the bottom at our river flow.  I've got some pictures included in this journal but it's such a long rapid it's hard to capture the entire run and layout of the rapid.  Lots of potential for problems and negative consequences to mistakes.  My explanation above is relatively simplistic but consider this a must scout rapid as conditions WILL change in the future.  The rapid itself is evolving with time.  It is a long rapid and requires individual judgement before you run it. 

We all run fine through Lake Creek rapid and slide through Pistol Creek rapid (no logs here) to enjoy our sunny lunch spot below .  We enjoy a rib feast tonight at our Marble Creek camp. 




May 31, 2007, Thursday, Big Loon (3.5 feet):

Sunflower Flat hotsprings is wonderful and the almost too hot air temps make it hard to enjoy (compared to the cold rainy days we tend to have). 



Big Loon is our hotsprings camp and it's really hot!  Air temp reaches 85oF today!  We stop for the pictographs viewing at Cameron and check out Whitie Cox hotsprings to look at the mites.  We don't get in Whitie Cox hotsprings.  Mark and Leslie carry their kayaks up to the Big Loon hotsprings and boat down to the Middle Fork.  Leslie says she shrunk a good inch lugging her kayak all the way up to the hotsprings. 

June 1, 2007, Friday, Wollard (3.5 feet):

The Hospital Bar hotsprings pool is underwater so we make it a short stop.  Tappan is exciting and fun.  Patti catches on the top rock on the left.  Rest of us run further right. 

Ticks are out thick this trip.  We enjoy lunch and Mark is ready to take a nap in the warm sun.  We see lots of Big Horn sheep today (rams, ewes and lambs). 



Haystack is a right side run again.  We stop at Rattlesnake cave for more pictographs and enjoy another great dinner of pork tenderloin at Wollard camp. 

June 2, 2007, Saturday, Otter Bar (3.5 feet):

River flows have remained fairly constant at 3.5 feet for most of the trip.  We see no otters today and Waterfall Creek is a moderate flow.  We stop at Veil Cave and run Redside/Weber with no problems.  Anne and I stop at Tombstone Rock and Stoddard Creek for more pictographs.  Anne's motto is that if they aren't photo documented, they don't exist. 

Patti and Dave have a rematch of river horseshoes and Patti concedes to Dave.  Dave must have practiced all winter after his defeat to Patti last year in the Grand.  Everyone enjoys a cool swim in the nice eddy at camp and the diving competition from the back of Ralph's boat commences.  I'm fairly certain Patti wins in this competition with Shelby a close second?!


 Anne is our designated snake vet of the trip and always manages to find the friendly reptiles (she doesn't pick up the venomous snakes).

June 3, 2007, Sunday, Takeout (3.5 feet):

Last day on the river, Rubber rapid is big and Mark (the kayaker) swims the rapid.  We leave camp early to ensure that Anne gets to Salt Lake in time to catch a flight home.  The rest of the rapids are straightforward.  The weather remains unseasonably hot!  We can't believe our good luck.  Kramer (Derigger) is HUGE!  Biggest rapid of the trip. 



We enjoy a lunch (and shower) at North Fork Cafe then drive on to Provo for the night.  Home in Woodland Park on Monday, back to work on Tuesday.  Seems hard to believe that the trip is already over.