Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lower Mill Creek: a true gutter

Katrina Skarda thinks this run is a hoot.

Mill Creek is a stream that cuts through an ancient lava flow that spilled off the flank of Mount Lassen. This gives the river a surreal character, because you can imagine how the liquid rock flowed and formed as you float down the water which in turn carved and shaped the rock. While the whitewater itself is not spectacular (volcanic rock is better for removing foot calluses than slip-sliding kayaks), the river canyon is nothing short of wild. In many places Mill Creek is less than a boat-length wide because the water has made quick work of cutting down into the soft conglomerated rock. Trip highlights included: Seeing a bear lumbering along on the shuttle road, raw-dawging water from Brita-quality side-streams (river right= good to go, river left = cow town), 3 liters of chardonnay-in-a-bag stowed in my boat, and angry beavers whose tail-slaps told us to "recognize!" as we paddled into the outskirts of Las Molinas. Mill Creek!

Bryant Burkhardt used to be my boss! Now he runs the show @ paddlecalifornia.blogspot.com

Katrina, Bryant and Matt make like the blue angels, minus the sonic booms.

Try to guess which way the creek is flowing.

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