The Lumberjacks Attack Little Mill Cr.

By: Fish Herring

Well, I didn't get to travel to the Tot, where the big water was on Sunday. But as a consolation prize, I did go chasing rain with Dog and Micah Adams. Ended up at Little Mill Cr. with it raining on us. We got there before water came down the creek. The time was 3:00 PM. Talked to the radar folks in Fayetteville, consulted with the Dog, and finally decided "what the hell". Set our shuttle at the takeout which was still obviously too low. Drove up to find a way to get to the creek. Drove in too high on the creek, then explored several roads until we found one that reached the creek. Didn't know exactly where we were on the creek. Again, decided "what the hell" and unloaded boats and got suited up. Much silliness and bad jokes - trying to not think about how dark it's getting. Drug/slid downhill to the creek. Jumped in and started paddling. Still raining on us, but not hard. Time was 4:15 PM. Sunset was predicted for 5:45 PM. Most important piece of gear: Petzl headlamps. Creek level could be described as somewhat bony. We paddle like crazy downstream. No time for eddies. Downed trees abound. Micah runs into the first tree, karate chops it (new martial arts class pays off) and clears the 6" diameter tree out of the way. He is given the choice of nicknames, "Lumberjack" or "The Beaver". Wisely chooses lumberjack option. Steve is now in front. Runs into another tree. Dispatches it with similar ease. A few choruses of "I'm a Lumberjack and I'm OK". Furious paddling. I'm whining and wailing all the way with glasses completely fogged. RK looking like a very good option. Steve finally meets a tree he can't whup. Tree whups Steve. Steve is rescued from the jaws of death, but soon tangles with another tree-beast. Trees are getting the best of us. We still don't know where we are. Time ceases to exist as darkness looms larger. Suddenly, we're out of the trees and into the "gorge" rapids at the end of the run! Much celebration ensues. Low water makes for some scraping in Slap Happy. Through Lacerator and The Gash. Micah gets out to look at Love Shack. The water is spread thin, and launching and landing are quite shallow. Micah boosts Steve off of the left side. "Wham-wham!" Steve lands alive. My turn. Micah says "aim left at the bottom". "Wham-WHAM!" I aim left and land hard on rock, flip in the hydraulic, almost too shallow to roll. Roll up. No major broken bones but some pain. Thumb turns blue a couple of hours later (?). 10 foot drop looks bigger to me now for some reason. Micah checks out the right side, lines up, and makes a good run. Falls 8 feet. "Wham!" Glances off rock and emerges unscathed. Twilight paddling out to the takeout. Time of arrival is about 5:45 PM. Creek has come up to cover the culverts. Lessons learned: - If you're determined and desperate enough to make it, you might just do it. - Ten feet is too far to fall onto rocks. - Glasses suck. - Steve is tree magnet. - That "Lumberjack" song isn't nearly as funny if you don't know the words. Ya'll be careful out there.