Brown.The first gorge ends after roughly a mile and a half, or three
river miles total. From here we stayed in our kayaks for six miles. It
was mostly class II in these miles, yet interesting moves of blind
class II around huge boulders, it felt more like western Mexico than
Pizza Break as we're through the interesting whitewater around nine miles in. Ouch, eight miles of paddle out!
mile 10.5 is a city park in Rancho Tehama, which has seen considerable
development since the guidebook was written in 1972. We would take off
at this park in the future, as the following 6-7 miles is rather
painful and considerably less scenic, though we did see some wild boar.
As it happens, Ashley is from Red Bluff, the nearest "metropolitan"
area to Elder Creek. We just had to stop and take a photo when we saw
the hay bale in the river, because as she said; "this is just what you
think kayaking in Red Bluff would be".
the whole Elder Creek is a very nice II to easy III run if one were to
portage part of the first gorge. It has unusually pleasant scenery and
interesting rapids, while the length isn't too bad if you take out at
Rancho Tehema. We had flows of 600cfs and I'd consider that the
minimum, next time I'd be looking for around 1,000cfs and consider
2,000 to be the maximum (although if you walk the first gorge it could
be run very, very high). Elder Creek at Lowrey Road.
While doing this write-up I was pleasantly surprised to discover Dick
Schwind was kind enough to make his guidebook available to the general
public: West Coast River Touring at American Whitewater.
It's a worthwhile read and humbling to think that as it was written,
many of the roads we take for granted were just being put in.
Make sure you follow the shuttle directions in the link below. If you
just throw locations into your phone at take out, Google will take you
north on Paskenta Road, which fords a season stream. When Elder Creek
is flowing, it will be too high to ford and require some back tracking.
Instead make a right onto Dusty Way, or use the map below.