Information on Left Hand Prong (N. Fork Illinois Bayou)

Left Hand Prong (N. Fork Illinois Bayou)

        Rating: II-IV *
        TDCR: ????
        Location: Put-in: Take Hwy 16 East from Pelsor appox. 1.5 miles and 
                take an old logging road to the right (South). Follow the road 
                as far as possible and drag down the hill the confluence of
                the first two forks (Elevation 1500). Reach the take-out at
                the Victor bridge over the North Fork of the Illinois Bayou
                by taking Victor Road from Hwy 7 near the Freeman Springs
        Topo Quad(s): Sand Gap
        Gradient: 140 fpm (300+ fpm max)
        Length: 8 mi. (2 mi. on LHP)
        Season: FLOOD
        Gauge: Gage at Richland Campground should to be above 6 or headed
                that way. Look for 1.5" or more rain at the Deer and Ben
                Hur rain gages, at the BNR Data Page. Rain must have fallen
                within the last 6 to 12 hours. 
        Hazards:  Undercut ledges and rocks, overhanging branches,
                strainers, waterfalls. 
        Description: First known descent was November 1, 1996. By Cowper
                Chadbourn, Chris Anderson, Robin Booth, Walter & Gayle
                Felton (OC-2), Lane Gorman, Lance Jones, Nate Kline and
                Robert Orr. The creek starts out small until joining with
                the Right Hand Prong and Cedar Creek. Most drops are tight
                continuous class II-III in nature, but a few IVs are
                scattered in for good measure. Scenery is very excellent!
                Shortly below the put-in is a tight complex slot drop with
                some pin potential. About 0.5 miles downstream is a poorly
                padded 5-6 ft ledge with a piton rock waiting. A hard
                landing is likely even with a good boof.  The highlight of 
                the creek comes shortly when the creek narrows to 3-4 feet 
                on a shallow bedrock slide. The slide ends in an 8 ft drop
                known as "The Spout" into a horseshoe shaped pool. The
                Right Hand Prong doubles the flow and some fun shoals and
                slides await near the confluence with Cedar Creek. There
                is a 4wd road to the right at Boyd Cemetery, if needed.
                But fun class II-III water with lots of surfing lasts for
                the next 3 miles to the Victor bridge. Like other
                micro-volume creeks, meaningful ratings are difficult to
                establish on the accepted International scale. At lower
                levels, the creek may seem like a very technical class
                III, with much rock bashing, scraping, and some portages.
                At higher levels, several rapids are expected to become
                solid class V.  Be familiar with the particular hazards
                of small Ozark creeks before attempting this run.  Thanks
                to Lance Jones for information on this creek!

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