Information on Rattlesnake Hollow


Rattlesnake Hollow

	Rating: IV (V)
	TDCR: 7794
	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
	Season: FLOOD
	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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