Jett Bridge to Nemo Bridge (Tenneseee)

Expeditioners:
Brian Swafford, Chris Selby, Stacy Stone, Augie Westerfield, Besty Westerfield, Kenny Warwick, Hal Tutor, Mike Pratt

Level ~350 cfs

After
a vote of 5 to 4, we launched at the Jett Bridge access point to allow
for a 2.5 mile class II+ warm-up on Clear Creek. This meant that the
length of the run was stretched to 10 miles, quite a long paddle for a
winter day. We would have to keep up a lively pace.

The section
between Jett and the normal put-in at Lilly bridge is a lively class II
run with a couple of II+ rapids, The Grunch, and Lilly rapid. We really
moved along quite well with the swift current of the creek in this
section. We were at Lilly in about 45 minutes, which is fairly amazing
as it implies we were averaging over 3 miles per hour.

At Lilly
we caught an eddy and discussed the need to scout the first major
rapid, Jack’s Rock Falls. This was an obvious big horizon line and we
could see another group getting out to scout on river right. We all
carefully descended to a good spot and took a look at it. It’s a
sliding drop with a nice tongue that ends in an auto-boof flake in the
middle with a terrible looking hole on river left right next to a
boulder. The right side drops onto a shelf and some other rock. The key
to running the rapid is to identify the correct approach path over a
hump of water in the approach, because you cannot see the bottom of the
rapid from the entrance. If you hit it correctly you will auto-boof
over the hole and everything ends well. If you go too far right there
is some rock slamming and if you go too far left you will get trashed
in the hole.

Below this we ran a very tight right slot followed
by a left 90 degree turn at Camel Rock with no problems. Then we
approached the big named rapid of the run: Wooten’s Folly. Wooten’s is
a somewhat more complicated rapid at the level we experienced. The best
line was to run the first ledge on the right, punching a small
wave-hole, then dodge to the left of an exposed slab in the middle of
the rapid before executing an S-turn back to the right, dropping into a
somewhat nasty-looking curler hole of a 3 or 4 foot drop that pretty
much shoves you into an eddy in the middle of the creek. This is
followed by a nearly river wide hole below that I punched on river left.

Here is a short video showing Jack’s Rock and Wooten’s Folly.
http://vimeo. com/3153715

Unfortunately the video does not show the entire sequence of running Wooten’s all the way from the top, as the paddlers in the video elected to eddy out on river right, before I could get positioned. I had a pretty good run through there, all the way from the top to below the second ledge without eddying out. Making the S-turn around the rock in the middle of the rapid was a little harder than it looked from the scouting rocks.

After this there was some nice class II and II+ before we reached the bigger water of the Obed River. We had difficulty identifying all of the rapids, although at one point we punched through a weak point in a large hole that Augie identified as Canoe Hole. There were frequent class II and II+ drops with possible a couple of easy IIIs thrown in for good measure. Here were also some long flat pools that required fighting against a bit of a head wind. Finally we reached the confluence with the Emory and I knew for sure that we would make it to the takeout before dark, a good thing under any circumstances and especially on the first day of February.

By Allen Pouge,
February 1, 2009