Information on Hart Cr.


Hart Cr.

	Rating: III-IV (V)
	TDCR: 8785
	Location: The take-out is at the popular Hwy 220 bridge over Lee Cr.
		(the put-in for section 2 of Lee). To get to the put-in
		take Hwy 220 south (the paved side) until you almost reach
		the top of the hill. Turn off on the first major dirt road
		to the left. This is the road that goes from Hwy. 220 to
		Chester and Hwy. 71. Follow this road for approx. 4 mi. until
		it parallels the Hart Cr. drainage. There is a large clear
		cut on the left that is barely visible from the road. It is
		easiest to hike down to the creek on the west side of
		the clear cut (left if you are on the road facing the
		creek). There are a few small turnouts on the side of the
		road opposite the creek that are good for parking. Be
		careful not to block any of the small dirt roads. Make sure
		that you carry down near the clear cut area, because the
		land there is owned by the USFS. All surrounding land is
		private. Another way to determine the proper location is to
		drive all the way to the first four way intersection. When
		you get there, turn around and drive about a mile back
		toward Lee before carrying down. The carry is a short, steep
		brushwhack that will take about 15 min.
		Area Map
	Topo Quad(s): Rudy NE
	Gradient: 200 fpm (1/2 mile @ 300 fpm)
	Length: 4 mi. (counting 2.25 miles on Lee Cr.)
	Season: FLOOD
	Gauge: Recent (within a few hours) and heavy (2+ inches) rains are
		a must for a good run.  There are two ways to try to estimate
		the flow on Hart Cr.  Neither is particularly accurate. Lee
		Cr. should probably be reaching flood stage (about 12+ ft). 
		Also, Clear Cr. and its tributary McCaslin Br. near Chester
		should be very big and muddy. The only way to really be sure
		is to hike to the put-in. The put-in can look a little low and
		you'll still have a good run. If you can't boat at all at the
		put-in, the run will be too bony. 
	Hazards: barbed wire fence (2/3 mile into the run), severe undercuts,
		boulder sieves, dangerous rapids, trees, trees, and more trees
	Description: The creek was first run 2/27/97 by a small determined group
		of paddlers including Noah Fraiser, Kevin Fendley, and
		Bill Herring. The level for the first run was quite low,
		but all rapids were successfully completed (with much
		scooting and dragging in the first 1/2 mile). A second run
		at a much higher level was made in January of 1998 by Bill
		Herring and Noah Fraiser. The creek starts out as an
		extremely small stream, even by Ozark standards. The first
		3/4 mile consists of non-stop, straightforward class III-
		action in a 10 to 15 ft. stream bed. Much of this stretch
		is surprisingly clear of trees, but there are a few
		nasty strainers so stay alert. Many times the creek is
		tightly constricted (5 to 10 ft) for long stretches. This
		is fast, heads-up boating with little chance of catching
		eddies. Fortunately, the water is usually shallow and not
		very pushy. About 2/3 mile into the run you will drop into
		a very narrow bedrock sluice followed by a large island. Pull
		out at the top of this island to carry across the barbed
		wire strands at the end of the island. The current is fast
		under this fence, and the approach is devoid of good
		eddies, so be sure to get stopped in time. After this
		point you are on private land, so treat the land with
		respect (and please don't even think about cutting the
		fence!). A short distance past the fence, a large
		tributary enters from the right. The flow is doubled and
		begins to get quite pushy. The first big class III below
		this tributary (named Pacemaker) marks the start of the
		hard stuff. In the next 1/2 mile all hell breaks loose as
		the creek plunges continuously around, over, and through
		large boulders as it drops 150 ft. After a brief warm up
		you'll run into Hart Attack, a big class V jumble that
		blocks all downstream visibility. This rapid has been run,
		but the landing is extremely cluttered. If you choose to
		run it, try to angle from left to right to avoid a 
		vertical pin on the left. The current pushes to the right
		at the top of the drop, so use this to your advantage.
		If you choose to walk it, drag up and over the left bank.
		Hart Attack is immediately followed by a series of tricky
		ledges, nicknamed Defibrillator, that lead into a blind,
		class IV- sluice called Nitro. This one is impressive at
		almost any water level, but, if the water is high, it will
		be the most memorable rapid on the creek.  The creek is
		funneled down a narrow chute on the left until it plunges
		six feet into a shallow pool. It's hard to stay in control
		comming out of Nitro, but you need to regain your composure
		quickly because you'll be flushed through some class III
		ledges below it before the creek slows down. The next 1/2
		mile is non-stop class III+ action. You may find yourself
		moving too fast in the narrow stream with no way to slow
		down. Scout as frequently as you can to avoid getting
		buried under one of the undercuts or strainers that occur
		frequently in this stretch. The individual rapids are not
		too nasty, but with a lot of water, it's hard to slow down
		and run the complex class III drops one at a time.  After
		you come out of the hairy stuff, you still need to be on
		your toes for the 1/2 mile paddle to Lee Cr. The creek splits
		in a few places, but staying to the right should keep you
		in the clearer part of the stream. Once you hit Lee Cr., 
		you're in for some big water. Watch for some big hydraulics
		(particularly a class V river-wide ledge just below the 
		Hart Cr. confluence that can be skirted on the far left) and 
		one very bad willow jungle before you reach the 220 bridge. 
		Hart is a tough run, but it is mercifully short. Still, give
		yourself three or more hours to allow for a lot of time to
		be consumed by scouting, portaging, and unpinning boats.
		Also, take extra gear and a saw if you can. The gorge is
		extremely hard on equipment (a broken paddle resulted from
		the first run) as well as bodies. Obviously this is an
		experts-only creek run, and even the experts would be well
		advised to check it out on foot before attempting it in a
		boat.

See the Photo Gallery for photos.

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