Information on Ben Doodle Cr.

Ben Doodle Cr.

	Rating: IV-V
	TDCR: 9895
	Location: The take-out is at the popular Hwy 220 bridge over Lee Cr.
		(the put-in for section 2 of Lee). To get to the put-in
		take Hwy 220 south from Lee Cr. (the paved side) until you
		almost reach the top of the hill. Turn off on the first
		major dirt road to the left. This is the road that goes
		from Hwy. 220 to Chester and Hwy. 71. Follow this road for
		approx. 5 miles until you reach a four-way intersection
		(there is a house with a large cedar fence at the
		intersection). Take a left (a 120 degree switchback) and
		drive about 2 miles. You'll eventually see a private RV
		hookup on the right. Just past this RV hookup, a road turns
		left and immediately forks in two directions. (If you get to
		a small chruch and cemetery on the left you've gone too far.)
		Take the right fork down the hill if you have a 4WD or park
		at the camping spot on the left fork and hike down 1/8 mile
		to the creek. The first tiny creek that the road crosses is
		Ben Doodle Cr.
	Topo Quad(s): Rudy NE
	Gradient: 350 fpm (1/2 mi @ 550 fpm)
	Length: 7.5 mi (counting 5.75 miles on Blackburn Cr. and Lee Cr.)
	Season: FLOOD
	Gauge: The best way to gauge it is to inspect the put-in. Water
		should be filling the streambed and the creek should look
		easily boatable where the road crosses it. The big
		slide just downstream of the road should be able to be
		run without slowing the boat down much on the way down.
		Keep in mind that the water you see at the put-in is
		basically all of the water you have in the gorge. If
		Lee Cr. is at 15+ feet and Clear Cr. at Chester is in
		flood you MIGHT have enough water to run Ben Doodle.
		Ben Doodle has a much smaller watershed than Hart Cr., 
		and it takes a very heavy rain (2.5+ inches) in a very
		short time to bring it up.
	Hazards: waterfalls, undercut rocks, trees, barbed wire (at the
		first rapid), and continous, heavy rapids 
	Description: Ben Doodle Cr. may be the fastest and most difficult 
		creek run in Crawford Co.  It's certainly the steepest run I
		I know of that you can drive to!  This tiny creek was first run
		at very low levels on April, 5 1999 by Steve "Dog" Robertson, 
		Zack Smith, Rob Pollan, Mike Echols, and Bill Herring. Quite a 
		few rapids were not run on the first descent due to the water 
		level, and those that were run were not at full speed -
		much of the creek was shallow class III+ water at the first
		descent level.  It was attempted again about two years later at 
		a very high level by Mikle and Rob, but that time high water
		made several rapids extremely hazardous.  As a result, there 
		are several rapids in the gorge that have yet to be run.
		This tiny creek needs a lot of rainfall to reach runnable
		levels, and once it gets there, it doesn't stay there 
		long. When you get to the put-in, don't put on the creek
		at the road crossing. A barbed wire fence hangs into
		the creek just around the corner. Carry your boat down 30
		yards or so and put in just past the fences if you want
		to run the 18+ foot "Doodle Slide" to start off
		the run. Be careful to not get washed downstream at
		the bottom the the slide because another barbed wire
		strand hangs at the lip of the next small fall that
		immediately follows the slide. Portage from the base of
		Doodle Slide around this next fence.  After this portage,
		the creek drops over back-to-back class III+ drops 
		through trees. This is the warmup stretch for the gorge, so 
		if you have trouble here, it's a good idea to hike out 
		before you reach the more intense rapids below. About 
		1/4 mile down you'll run into a brutal drop of twelve feet
		nicknamed "The Midget Maker".  This rapid has a completely
		blind approach - by the time you see the horizon line you 
		are committed to the drop.  There is however a good eddy 
		that can be used to stop and portage the drop just
		above it.  Scout ahead dilligently until you get past
		this drop!  The drop lands on solid rock - a probe 
		boat dropped over on the first run slammed into the 
		streambed only one foot under the surface!  Portage
		Midget Maker on the right. You're now in the gorge and the
		intensity just keeps increasing from here down. After
		another 100 yards of complex drops, you'll stumble
		into "Atom Smasher". Scout ahead at every turn
		after Midget Maker to keep from being swept into this huge
		drop against your will. This rapid starts as an simple
		rock jumble, goes around a corner, drops through some
		large twisting drops and then finishes with a big slide.
		The total vertical drop between starting and stopping is
		over 40 feet. If you come around the first innocent
		looking corner, you'll probably be running the entire
		rapid, so approach this one with care. Several complex
		class III+ to IV drops follow Atom Smasher. There are few
		places to stop, so when you do get stopped scout ahead to
		the next pool or eddy. The gradient in this stretch 
		approaches pegs out at over 500 fpm. When you see a 
		house-sized rock on the left ahead of you, get out to portage
		a large deadfall just around the corner. Take this oppoutunity
		to scout the next 150 yards. Somewhere in that distance the
		creek goes from moderately crazy to completely insane as
		it enters the 700+ fpm gradient around Tenderizer and
		Masticator. Where Tenderizer actually begins is debatable
		It is simply the name for the multiple class IV to IV+
		drops that proceed the 18 foot class V drop of Masticator.
		Scout this stretch very carefully, as there are many hidden
		hazards. If you decide to run it, set plenty of bank support
		in strategic places along the way. A blown line here could
		result in serious problems. If you make the decision to 
		portage Masticator, either bank will work well. After
		Masticator, you'll get 1/3 mile of more class III to IV drops.
		This is not as intense as the section just above, but don't
		let your gaurd down too quickly. After that, the creek mellows
		to continous class II-III with lots of trees until it
		merges into a flooded Blackburn Cr. At these extremely
		high levels Blackburn and Lee Cr. can present some serious
		hazards as well. Don't play around with these creeks at
		these levels. After you merge with Lee Cr. watch for Hart
		Cr. to come in on the left. When it does, get to the far
		left side of the creek to skirt a huge, deadly hydraulic
		that forms across Lee Cr. just below the Hart Cr. confluence.
		At floodstage, the 6 mile trip down Blackburn and Lee to
		the Hwy. 220 bridge should only take 1.5 hours or so.
		Dispite the rather silly name, Ben Doodle is a serious 
		Ozark creek run. As is typicall of Crawford Co. the rapids
		are generally ugly boulder piles often with no really
		good routes.  The creek is tiny, but that actually works
		against a paddler when there is sufficient water, providing
		little or no maneuvering room.  A pre-run hike is an
		excellent idea, but nothing will eliminate the need for
		almost continuous bank scouting in the gorge.  As a result
		it's a good idea to plan on taking three to four hours
		to navigate the half mile long gorge.  Ben Doodle is a
		big step up from its sister creek, Hart Cr. If there is any
		doubt, run Hart Cr., which features class III+ to IV+
		rapids in a less threatening environment. Both of these are 
		no place for those who are not absolutely confident of 
		their abilities on fast, tight Ozark creeks and class IV+ 

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