Information on Rattlesnake Hollow
Rating: IV (V)
Location: The put-in is reached by crossing Hurricane Cr. 8 miles
upstream from Shores Lake on NFR 1003 heading toward
White Rock Mtn. Dockery's Gap is fairly close to this crossing.
After you cross Hurricane (which should be huge and muddy),
go uphill about one mile until you see a good dirt road
angling down to the right (this road is not on USGS maps).
Follow this small, rough road about a half mile or so
until it crosses Rattlesnake Hollow (4WD is a very good idea).
The best idea in my opinion is to run the creek down to
where it crosses an old logging road right before it runs
into Hurricane Cr. From here, brushwhack up on the left
side of the creek (the left facing downstream on Rattlesnake),
angling away from the creek gorge as you go up. The slope is
not too bad. After about 150 to 200 yards (or so) you should
run into a good dirt road. Follow this back to the left (back
toward the creek) and stay on it as it paralells the creek
gorge and climbs back up to the put-in. If you don't stop and
rest too much, you can make it back up in less than 30 minutes
of easy boat dragging. If you really want to, set shuttle
on Hurricane Cr. down near Shores Lake and paddle down the
8 miles of class II water and trees. If you take the hiking
option, Rattlesnake can be run and shuttled in less than
1.5 hours, giving you time for a second run, either on
Rattlesnake or on one of the other local creeks.
Topo Quad(s): Fern
Gradient: 400 fpm
Length: 0.6 mi
Gauge: This creek only runs when everything else is in flood. Putting
in an no more than an hour after a hard, fast rain (2+" in less
than 2 hours) is a must to catch it up. The good news is that
you can gauge it by driving to the put-in. The bedrock slide
just upstream of the put-in road should have water spreading
across it for a good solid run. Everything but the first
waterfall can be gotten down with even less water. If there's not
quite enough water, simply drive over to nearby Little Mill
or Spirits creek for a good run on one of those.
Hazards: one big waterfall, downed trees, and continuous water
Description: This strange little creek would probably have never been run
if the USFS had not made its rather unpopular decision to sell off
some timber around Hurricane Cr. and Whiterock Mtn. in 1998.
When they did this, they cut a road into this previously
inaccessible hollow. As if they had consulted a group of
paddlers when they did it, they chose to cross the hollow
about a half mile above Hurricane Cr., right above a 25+ foot
waterfall. As a result, it was run by Bill Herring and Trey
Marley in June of 2000. The short run is easy to describe: about
100 feet of fast water leads to a 25 foot sheer plunge into a
small 6 foot deep pool after which a rapid starts and doesn't stop
for about 1/2 mile. Then you pull out and carry back up a gentle
slope for about 150 yards to the road where you can drag
back up to the put-in in less than 30 minutes. The waterfall is
potentially the highlight of the run, but like all big falls, it
can be dangerous as hell. The first (and to date the only) attempt
to run it resulted in a piton into the gravel at the bottom.
This author can attest that the impact can be severe. The
problem with this fall is that water is spread out thinly over
the uneven lip of the drop. It's very easy to hang up on the
take-off resulting in a vertical landing in shallow water.
If your boat is longer than 5 feet, you're gonna stop very, very
abruptly! At very high levels, the fall may be more cleanly
runnable, but you're guinea-pigging it if you try. Obviuosly
this fall should be scouted carefully both from the top and bottom
before any future attempts. The pool below the fall is small and
it's washout is blocked by a tree, so you'll probably need to
portage at the bottom whether or not you run the fall. From here
the creek starts dropping and doesn't stop. If you can pick out
individual drops, all but one of them are probably class III.
But a severe shortage of boat sized eddys makes everything just
blend into one long class IV rapid. If a tree is down (very
likely) stopping before you hit it will be very interesting
(the creekbed is so narrow that grabbing a rock or tree on the
bank is probably the best way to slow down). The crux of the
run is a solid class IV drop over multiple ledges about halfway
down. This one pinned a boater on the first descent as his
boat disapeared completely into a crevice in the rocks.
Really, it's pointless to describe any of the drops. If
you are really sure you want to run it, strap your
seatbelt on below the big fall and just hang on until you
reach the bottom! Depending on your sense of adventure
and the water level, you'll either be completely exhilarated
or terrified by the time Hurricane Cr. comes into view.
If the water is high, hiking it on foot first is probably
the best way to stay out of serious trouble (it's a terrific
short hike when it's dry). Rattlesnake is a crazy, tiny little
creek that only a crazy creek boater can appreciate. If that
describes you, enjoy!
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