South Fork Trinity is close to Hayfork Creek, which means
it’s a long drive from anywhere. Because of that we got a
early start, and were flying down the winding turns of highway 36,
surprised to see some snow dusting still in the road and on the trees.
Small rocks were all over the road from melting snow, and soon enough
we had a flat tire. We had no tools at all but thankfully our shuttle
partner Tommy pulled
through with a jack and tools from his truck, and we had the small
dough nut spare on, and still made fairly quick work of the next 25
miles to the put-in. We arrived at the put in around ten and unloaded
all our gear to make the shuttle easier.
Shuttle sounded straightforward in The Best
were off looking for Klondike Mine Road. We passed on marked Forest
Service road around 2.5 miles because it lacked a sign for the mine.
1.5 Miles later we turned down another side road that was initially
paved but had no Klondike Mine sign. After a mile or so down this road
it was completely abandoned and very overgrown. For some reason part of
our group spent about twenty minutes hiking down a road that had about
twenty years of overgrowth on it. When they came back up they said it
just fizzled out. We hopped in the cars and drove back up to the first
road we saw going down. This road seemed like it was going the right
direction (down) and was in fairly good shape. A half-mile later the
road ended with a huge embankment and ditch combo to close the road. We
hiked a few hundred yards down the road and it seemed to be going the
right direction. None of us wanted to hike all the way down it, but the
guide recommended checking out the takeout so it wouldn’t be
missed, not something that is done a lot in the book. Jon elected to
bushwhack down to the river and check things out. We stood around at
the top for longer than expected, and eventually Jon returned claiming
it to be 100 yards and that he spent some time checking out scenery.
piled into the truck and went back to the put-in, with time running a
little short with us getting there about 1:00. I was a bit concerned
with a 4.5 mile IV-V- run with two portages and a hiking take-out ahead
we are putting in to a good
1500cfs or so.
The swift moving water helped us make good time through a bunch
class II-III right off the bat, with maybe one class IV that was
similar to the long class IV rapids on the Scott River.
first scout of the day was this
big boulder garden.
and Tommy enjoying some of the
great scenery. Moss and lush
vegetation was everywhere.
Another mile or so of intermixed rapids and we ran
Hit” with no elbow hits due to fairly high water. We knew
that shortly up after this was one of the portages and indeed it was.
The portage had a long lead in, with the majority of water flowing over
a rock pile in the center. Here is Jon going for it on the right
The water was pushing a lot harder down the center than it
Jon had a bit of a scary moment sliding up over a barley covered rock
in the center, but thankfully there was a small hole on the downstream
side of the rock, and he used it to surf back out the right side and
cleaned the bottom drop.
I was up next, and while not liking the look of it (hey it
felt like it was a go. I walked back up making sure to stop by at eddy
that is right above the crux move and getting a river level view of my
move. Even after seeing Jon paddle it I was surprised at how hard it
pulled down the center. That sieve in the bottom center is really
The next rapid up is “Nickards Delight” a fun
The time was now 3:30 and I was stoked to be off this run in the short
winter daylight hours. The bottom of this rapid is where Jon hiked down
to, so we got out on the shore and started heading up the hill. I felt
like we were in Oregon Kayaking
we are about 100 yards off the
river, having to rope the boats up
a steep section. You can see Jon’s blue boat in the woods,
and Joel roping up his boat as well.
I thought it was going to be over pretty quick after this.
Boy was I
wrong. The carry continued on up the steep, overgrown hillside with us
crawling up areas alternating between thick underbrush, moss covered
rocks and muddy slides. The whole time I kept thinking “that
must be the road” and yet it never was, for quite a while.
Eventually after struggling up the hill, alternating climbing with
throwing my boat down on the ledge and collapsing next to it, I emerged
on the road at 4:30 with the rest of the group scattered on the hill
somewhere. I’d estimate we hiked out about a mile up the
steep banks of the South Fork Trinity. It would probably be a lot
easier to hike 2 miles up the closed road, but you would also have to
hike two miles before the run to make sure where your takeout was.
Everyone else showed up about ten minutes later, and we changed and
completed shuttle with darkness closing in. So for future reference,
the takeout is more or less gone from this run, and it would be a great
run to do a long multi-day trip on. Scenery is first rate, rapids are
good, and the road is a long ways away.