Information on Mystery Cr. (aka Sandy Springs Hollow)

Mystery Cr. (aka Sandy Springs Hollow)

	Rating: IV+ (V) *
	TDCR: ????
	Location:  Newton Co.; To reach the put-in go south from
		Deer on Hwy 16 then turn right just past Deer Church on
		outskirts of town.  After about 2 miles, turn right again on
		smaller dirt road descending a hill. Go straight to hit 
		creek directly, or turn left and follow road that parallels
		creek until it ends.  For directions to take-out, see EFLB
		Area Map
	Topo Quad(s): Deer, Swain, Murray
	Gradient: 190 fpm  (1/2 mi @ 320 fpm)
	Length: 9.8 mi. (this includes 8 miles on normal EFLB run)
	Season: FLOOD
	Gauge: Must have mucho big rains for this one.  The EFLB takeout
		should be roaring.
	Hazards: difficult rapids, strainers, waterfalls
	Description: The designation "Mystery Creek" for this extreme upper
		section of the EFLB began as an inside joke because when this
		run was first being considered, the name of the creek was not
		divulged even to close friends until the day of the run.
		It is often called "Sandy Springs Hollow" these days,
		since that's the name of the small hollow at the put-in.
		It is believed that the first run putting in at 
		elevation 1840 ft occurred on November 14, 1993.  The 
		first descent party included David Bibbs, Don Calaway, 
		Cowper Chadbourn, Charles Chevaillier, Bill Keathley,
		Jim McDaniel, Ted Smethers, and Gil Wooten, all in kayaks.
		An early put in is strongly advised.  The first descent
		ended well after dark, leading to interesting conversations
		with locals and forcing some late night hiking along the roads
		that parallel the lower portion of the EFLB run. Due to 
		the gradient and tiny watershed, water levels can fall before 
		you complete the upper section.  The creek starts out with 
		some fast but easy slides.  A class III ledge adds some 
		excitement before the creek is choked by boulders into 
		a much more serious rapid. At lower water, pins are 
		likely here and for the next half mile or so.  At higher 
		water, a downed tree will be life threatening in the 
		extremely high gradient. The highlight of the run 
		is "Rooster's Two Step", named for the 3 ft step above 
		the 12 ft waterfall, first run by David Bibbs, AKA "The Rooster".  
		The approach is a blind curve to the left with one potential
		eddy on the right side of the curve.  If you boat around the 
		corner, hang on tight!  After the "Rooster" the gradient is
		serious and the rocks are big and often ugly.  Several
		bad sieves appear at low levels, making for mandatory
		portages.  Higher water opens things up, but it can be
		hard to slow down and a flip will result in a serious
		beating.  When the main EFLB stem comes in from the right,
		the gradient backs off, but with the added flow, there
		are several spots with sycamores that present serious
		hazards.  Scout anything you can't see until you reach
		the normal EFLB put in.  The EFLB will be big and brawny
		at these levels - possibly the wildest part of your day!
		Sandy Springs is as difficult a steep creek as the Ozarks 
		has to offer and it requires a much greater skill level 
		than the EFLB run itself does.  It rates right up there 
		with the hardest Ozark hair runs.  If there's any doubt
		put in on the EFLB.  Thanks go to Cowper Chadbourn for 
		information on the creek!

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