Information on Mormon Creek


Mormon Creek

	Rating: IV (IV+)
	TDCR: 7895
	Location: Drive north on Hwy 215 from I-40 (the Mulberry exit) about 
		five miles to the bridge over Mill Cr.  This is the takeout.
		To reach the put-in, go north from the Mill Cr. bridge
		on Hwy 215 approximately 3 miles.  There you will see an Ozark 
		National Forest sign on the right.  Go past this sign and look 
		for the first well-maintained road on the left (it should be 
		fairly obvious, since the others "roads" are old logging roads 
		and skitter trails).  Follow this road until it dead ends at a 
		berm. There is a trail that has been beat down to the left of
		the bern, and a big 4WD truck can make it down, but it is only 
		a 1/3 mile drag down to the creek, so why not park at the top.
	Topo Quad(s): Mountainburg SE
	Gradient: 330 fpm
	Length: 1.5 mi.
	Season: FLOOD
	Gauge: Mormon Cr. is tiny. It doesn't need much water to make 
		a good run, but the level will not hold long at all.  It 
		can generally be paddled for only a couple of hours follwing 
		heavy downpours of rain.  Look for 2+" in under 2 hours to
		pump the creek up.  The Mulberry should be flooded, probably
		8 feet or higher on the Mulberry gauge. A visual check should
		be made at the Mill Cr. bridge (the take-out). Mill Creek 
		should be bank-full or better, meaning ALL of the rocks in 
		the rapid above the bridge should be covered and the water 
		should be very muddy.  If you get to the put-in and there 
		looks like there's enough water to scrape down in a boat,
		it's probably a good level.  If you're not scraping down
		the first long slide, the level is extremely high and
		hazardous.
	Hazards: The 20+ foot drop of Mammer Jammer is certainly a 
		serious hazard! The entire creek is fast and shallow,
		so it is nowhere to be upside down in your boat! Trees 
		can be (and usually are) a serious threat.  Often, you 
		may not have any eddies to stop in for long distances, 
		and with the extremely narrow streambed, trees can 
		easily block the entire creek.  Scouting ahead from every 
		you can get in eddy is a very good idea, and be prepared
		to hit a tree somewhere on the run.
	Description: Mormon Creek was first run February 15, 2001, by
		Steve "Dog" Robertson and Micah "Nick" Adams.  Mormon creek
		does not have a name on any maps, but the closest landmark 
		is an old Latter Day Saints church, and thus the name.
		It begins as a small sandstone ditch that is almost
		laughable when one considers this a "runnable" creek,
		however it is not to be taken lightly. The put-in starts 
		one of the longest slides in the Ozarks, at least 
		1/2 mile long, with numerous 3 to 6 foot ledges to 
		generate interest. There aren't any major tributaries to 
		Mormon Cr., but hundreds of little creeks cascading down
		the sandstone/shale bluffs gradually contribute to
		the water level and volume picks up steadily as you go 
		downstream.  Several bigger ledges signal the beginning
		of the gorge, so when you encounter these, it's time
		to strap on your seat belt.  At high water, the creek
		will come at you incredibly fast with few eddies to
		stop in.  The first major drop, "UH", is a nice "sluice-
		with-rocks" type drop of about 6 to 8 feet. Pull out to
		scout this and the next rapids too, since it is followed 
		immediately by "OH", a 12-15' near vertical slide with a 
		shallow landing. Recover quickly because at the end of the 
		pool (25 yards) below OH is "Snake Eyes", a potentially 
		nasty class IV drop. This whole area is reminicent of a 
		tea-cup style series of drops, dropping a total of 15-20 
		feet onto a sandstone slide that ends in a pool. The rapid 
		gets its name from the large boulder that looks like a dice 
		(showing the number two) lodged in the left side of the 
		drop. At low water, the drop should be run from the left 
		at a 45 degree angle to the right; at high water run it 
		anyway you can! Now, you're in the heart of the gorge, 
		consisting of a narrow, winding closed in sandstone
		trough surrounded by undercut sandstone and shale walls.
		The big drops are surrounded by huge undercut bluffs 
		that look like a backdrop to an Anasazi village. After 
		Snake Eyes there is constant class III until the biggest
		drop is encountered: the Mammer Jammmer.  This class IV+
		monster is a 20-25' drop that begins as a vertical 10' 
		drop before landing on a 60 degree angle slide.  At 
		low water levels the majority of water flows over the 
		right side of the drop producing a vertical drop that 
		crashes onto a rock shelf.  The drop is not safely 
		runnable on the right line at any level! The optimal 
		route is the far left where the water has worn a "V" in 
		the lip of the drop, followed by a steep slide to the 
		bottom. No mater what line is used, boofing the drop is 
		not a good idea at all.  Mammer Jammer is follwed by one 
		a good class III drop called "Sycamore".  This one consists 
		of a double drop connected by a slide. Watch out for the 
		sycamore tree at the bottom of the first drop; the only
		route shoots you directly into the giant undercut roots 
		of the Sycmore.  If you don't get pinned on the roots 
		you're off to a nice ride down the slide/drop. This is 
		followed by one of the most beautiful corridors of 
		hanging plants/waterfalls in the Ozarks. The rapid under 
		this natural wonder is named "Bobsled", since it feels 
		like running a bobsled track through an ethereal setting. 
		After the big drops above, the rest of the run is cake,
		with lots of fast class III drops to paddle. When you
		get to Mill Cr., it will be big and bad, like a high 
		water run on the Hailstone with huge waves. There are
		also many surfing opportunities on the paddle out, with
		dozens of Lee Cr. style surfing holes and waves.  You'll
		probably be completely worn out when you reach the 
		take-out bridge.  Mormon is a tiny little creek that
		does some big things when it comes to slides and 
		waterfalls.  Like Horsehead Cr. and Rattlesnake Hollow, 
		the biggest challenge for a paddler will be stopping.  
		If the water level is very high at all, you may not 
		be able to stop if there is a tree down in the creek,
		or you may be swept over a drop you'd rather not run.
		Make sure you're comfortable paddling this type of
		sub-micro steep creek before you put on.

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