run is no secret, but I'll say this up front; Dry Meadow Creek might
just be the most over-rated creek. It's also one of the most
photogenic. For years stunning images have come out of dry meadow
creek, putting it high on everyone's list. Perhaps higher than it
should be. Don't get me wrong, it's worth doing, but for me, only once.
The amount of hiking required for seven drops (only three of which are
really quality) make it certainly not "ultra classic" or even
"classic". You best bet for figuring out logistics is to talk to Eric
Giddens at Kern River Brewing
Brasuell and Dianne Gaydos at
the start of the hour or so hike
Once getting to the river it's a straightforward
to scout the
six drops on river left. Putting in is another matter. If flows are
high enough you can boat the first rapid, although most the water goes
into and under a pothole. There is webbing wrapped on the arch over the
pot hole, which helps the situation a little. The other option is to
put in on the land bridge and seal launch, which is also a little
dubious because it requires either exposed friction climbing to reach,
or lowering boats to from above. In the name of safety we chose the
latter which ups the hassle factor even more.
the water there is no warm up as
the river falls over the first
small falls. Daniel goes for it.
Fearington on the second
third, and largest drop, is the
most notorious. It's a tight
twisting slot that spouts off a ten to fifteen foot falls. This is a
rather common experience.
up is the best rapid on Dry
Meadow Creek, a nice ten foot boof
followed by punching a hole on the left or a shallow slide on the
right. Taylor gets a nice golden stroke in for the boof.
Grünwald on the same.
There is only one more ledge before taking out is
required. It's a easy
hike back up, but the hassle of the put-in and hit from the pinch falls
had us limit our laps. Unfortunately, below the last good ledge an
extensive portage to the Kern River is required. We chose to rope our
boats down, but retrospectively the granite was very tacky and we could
have just walked down with our boats.
and Dianne lowing boats.
rope work we traversed, and then
continued to hike to the
confluence. Daniel on the last pitch of down climb.
The confluence slide is the highlight of Dry Meadow Creek. With
adequate flows it offers a stunning boof into the Kern River.
at the Kern it's a quick paddle
downstream, through some boogie
water and one large rapid, Carson Falls, which we chose to sneak on the
On the whole I thought dry meadow contained three
bland ones and one not so nice rapid (the pinch). For the amount of
hiking I thought the quality of the run on the whole was dubious.
Certainly worth doing, just don't go in expecting any world class
creeking, images make it look better than reality. With that warning
it's worth doing if you want some of said images.