Cheating Death on Harrods Creek

Posted by Spalding Hurst

May 27, 2004

1400cfs (6 feet)

Little Goose Creek was at 89cfs

Last night John and I ran Harrods Creek.  We have been getting lots of rain and to go with it lots of storms.  Harrods Creek isn’t bad to run at this high level.  It’s all easy class II, but you have to watch for downed trees.  The thing is we bumped it up a level last night because we got caught in a storm while on the water.  Tornados were in the area and it was hell on the water.

It starts off fine.  I can see the storm in the distance but figure we will be off the water before it gets bad.  Not long after paddling through muddy class II drops, the storm catches up with us.  Lightening is striking every where.  That was the worst part.  The Lightening.  We keep going hoping it will pass.  We come to a tree laying across the river.  We have to portage.  I am the first to re-enter my boat after the portage.  I go downstream a bit around the bend and stop and wait… and wait.  Then bam!  Lightening strikes very close.  It was incredibly loud.  I wait another second.  John still hasn’t come around the corner.  I start to think he has been struck by lightening.  I jump out of my boat and run around the bend.  He hasn’t been struck, but it is almost worse.  The canoe is flipped, broached and swamped.  And there is John in the water pulling on it every which way trying to get it free.  To make a long story short it didn’t look like we could get it free.  But we did, using my throw rope and John’s strength we got that thing out.  I’m glad we did, I don’t know what we would have done otherwise.

Now the rain is coming harder.  We can’t see shit.  It is dark as well.  Don’t go kayaking at night kids.  And don’t go kayaking in storms.  But we make to the end and don’t get hit by lightening once.  Thank you Jesus!  It would seem that all the madness is over now that we are out of the water, but it is not.

Now it’s raining harder, trees are falling down everywhere.  John can’t see out of his car window for shit.  We head back but are blocked by a tree that has fallen across the road.  We turn around and go the long way.  The way that has little trees spread all over the roads.  Every ¼ mile we have to stop, get out, get soaked again and move trees out of the way.  We do this for an hour until we finally reach my car.  But right before we do John’s headlights go out.  So now he has no headlights, and today he has no car cause thing wouldn’t start this morning.

So we begin putting the boats on my car and the damn roof rack slides apart into four pieces.  So in the rain, in the dark we have to take the boats off, reconstruct the roof rack and put the boats back on.  The we slowly drove home as the storm finally began to pass.  John had to follow me closely because he had no lights.

It was a good trip, scary but good.  It was stupid to be out in the storm, but I don’t watch the weather channel so how could I know that shit was coming.

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