Information on Osage Cr.

Osage Cr.

	Rating: III-IV
	TDCR: 7666
	Location: The put-in is located just north of Compton, AR in the
		northwest corner of Newton Co. Take Hwy. 43 north from
		Compton about 1/2 mile and take the first dirt road to the
		left. There is a sign for an iron works place at the turn
		off. The put-in bridge is about 1/2 mile down this. ASK FOR
		PERMISSION to park near the bridge. The owners of the house
		near the bridge are extremely nice, and they generally don't 
		mind boaters parking there if they ask to do so. To reach the 
		take-out bridge, go across the creek and take a right. 
		You'll climb a hill and go about 2 miles before taking 
		another right. Go about 3 miles to the small burg of Delmar 
		and take another right at the intersection. You'll cross 
		a small low water slab and go about one more mile to a 
		small bridge across Osage. Park near the bridge and don't 
		block the road. 
		Area Map
	Topo Quad(s): Ponca, Osage NE
	Gradient: 80 fpm (first 2 miles @ 130 fpm)
	Length: 6 mi.
	Season: FLOOD
	Gauge: Osage is probably runnable when the Buffalo R. is about six
		inches or more over the Ponca low water bridge, but the watersheds
		are not very close, so Osage can be up when the upper Buffalo isn't
		that high. The best place to gauge the stream is at the put-in. 
		If the first ledge below the bridge has water across most of the
		ledge (between the big bush and the left bank) then the run is
		good to go. If the first ledge is wall-to-wall muddy water and 
		the hole there looks really bad, the run through the gorge will 
		be extremely dangerous, sporting some of the worst keepers in 
		the state. You can also predict the levels using the Buffalo R. 
		river and rain gauges which are linked below.  The Compton rain
		gauge is in the Osage Cr. watershed, and it will usually
		take an inch-an-hour rate of rain to bring the creek up.
	Hazards: big drops, undercuts, boulder sieves, hydraulics,
		strainers, a fence in the last two miles
	Description: Osage Cr. is a gem of an Ozark creek run. With a
		short shuttle, easy access, a good watershed, A+ scenery, and
		a 2 mile gorge boxed in by bluffs and chock full of class
		III+ rapids, what's not to love? The first attempts
		at running the creek were made in the late 1970's
		by some of the BOC crew who were bored with the
		Hailstone, and it was re-explored in April of 1997 by Bill 
		Herring, Howell Cox, and Jim Jernigan when all rapids were 
		run. This run is tougher than the average gradient would seem
		to indicate. You know you're not dealing with the average
		Ozark creek when you see the put-in. The run starts off
		with a bang by dropping over a big rapid called Starting
		Gun 15 yards below the bridge. This seven foot class III
		fall will give you some idea of what is comming up
		downstream. If this rapid gives you pause, don't venture
		into the gorge below. It only gets tougher as you go down.
		Another 40 yards brings you to Old Mill Falls, an eight
		foot sheer plunge over an old dam. The landing is fairly
		shallow, but it is easy to boof the drop on the right. For
		the next 1/8 mile the creek tries to lull you to sleep
		with some tight class II+ drops. When the drops start
		picking up steam a little, the first class IV drop comes
		into view. Bottleneck is a straight shot down the middle
		of a churning sluice. The entrance rapid is class III, and
		there is little room to stop before you go into the
		maelstrom below. The line is obvious and not too hard to
		make, just don't get upside down - there are several nasty
		rocks under the surface. A very blind and tight class III+ 
		drop follows Bottleneck and then the next class IV is reached.
		Howler is a complex drop which requires some tricky
		maneuvering to reach the final slot drops. The bottom drop
		is split: the right has a rooster tail in the middle and
		the left has a chance for a vertical pin. Howler
		definitely warrants some careful scouting or maybe a
		portage, both of which are best done on river right. After
		several back to back class III to III+ drops, you come to
		a long rapid that looks like a good place for a scout. Get
		out on the right bank and walk down to take a look at the
		biggest rapid on the run, Magic Mushroom (aka Moon Landing). 
		The Mushroom starts off with a long class III+ entrance which 
		dumps out onto a sloping shelf. With few good eddies to
		catch, the creek screams down the shelf for about 30 yards. 
		At the end of this shelf the creek is confined between sheer
		rock walls on either side and it drops about seven feet onto
		another shelf. At moderate levels, most of the water is
		channeled over a sloping ledge to the left. The water
		banks off the left wall and pushes to the right below the
		drop into a huge, slightly undercut boulder. The slide below
		the big drop continues for over 50 yards around the corner. A
		huge mushroom shaped rock overhangs the stream on the left
		below the drop, providing for some of the strangest
		scenery in the Ozarks. At most levels the Mushroom is a
		long class IV drop, but at really high levels the combination 
		of the tricky entrance and the thundering main falls may 
		push it to class V difficulty. Scouting and portaging here 
		can be very difficult, but a scout is needed. It is
		best scouted on the right, but the best portage route is
		on the left, up and over the bluff and back down at the
		end of the rapid. After the Mushroom, the creek drops
		through myriad class III and III+ drops. At least two of 
		these cannot be navigated completely at lower levels. One has 
		a good looking entrance only to wash out into a boulder
		sieve. Scout anything that you can't clearly see in this 
		section. Another nice class III+ drop is encountered near a 
		dramatic double cascade comming in on river right. Several more 
		class III's lead up to the final class IV drop. Switchback is 
		a powerful "S" turn compressed into the space of just a few
		yards. It may not be as bad as it first appears, but a mistake
		can result in a dangerous pin on the numerous rocks. Be confident
		of making the required move or take the easy portage to the 
		left. Below Switchback the action slows down a bit, but several 
		good class III's remain. With the added flow from dozens of 
		tributaries, some of these contain some fairly sticky hydraulics, 
		so don't become too complacent. Finally the gorge recedes and 
		the rapids moderate to continuous class II+ for the last few miles. 
		There are still many bad strainers and one badly placed
		wire fence to negotiate, so stay on your toes until you get 
		to the takeout bridge. If you tackle Osage Cr., be sure that 
		you have solid class IV boating skills. Even at lower levels, 
		the creek can be pushy and it is incredibly blind from the 
		cockpit of a kayak. The rapids are fast, powerful, and very 
		rocky, making the penalties for mistakes quite high. At higher 
		levels the rapids grow exponentially in power and danger. With 
		enough water to make the first hydraulic really bad, the gorge 
		is transformed into a very pushy, blind class IV+ run. Runs
		of the creek often produce broken paddles, side pins, vertical 
		pins, lost skin, and bruised egos.

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