water wacko's Submission - Entered on 3/9/2012 6:51:00 PM
Gauge Information (Last updated with USGS at 9/1/2015 4:40:32 PM)
Hike in near Lake Cavanaugh through a maze of logging roads- be careful if you find an open gate that you don't get your rig locked in there. Especially on the weekends. Active logging going on up in there and those boys lock it up every night. And if you're going in on a Sat, get an early start. You've been warned.
From the take out, turn left, then right on Lake Cavanaugh Rd. You'll be driving up the river right side. Shortly the pavement will end. Stay on the main road, continuing on the river right side. Eventually you'll come to a T intersection at Lake Cavanaugh, turn right. In half a mile make a right at the first gravel road and proceed approximately 2.7 miles to a freshly decommissioned logging road on your right that goes off into a clear cut. Begin walking down the road and in a couple hundred yards start making your way left, off the road and across the clear cut to the edge of the hillside. Descend the hillside down to the river.
From I-5 go to Hwy 530 and head east to the small town of Oso. There, on the shores of Deek Creek you will find a general store. Park around back near the beer garden. Make sure and ask to leave your vehicle in back. We've been asking, then telling them we're kayaking on Deer Creek.
DOE had a real time gauge for this run: June 2011 gauge permanently disabled. The NF Stilly gauge is located near Alington, significantly downstream of the Deer Creek confluence. It's a rough correlation. Also, look for flows on the SF Stilly gauge to be at least 7' and rising, an even rougher correlation, since it's one more drainage further south, therefore much less accurate...
*note observed Oct/12/11 NF Stilly - NOAA stick gauge @ 4.3' = USGS 4100cfs
NOAA stick gauge @ 2.9' = USGS 2100cfs
Suggested levels are 700-1500 (on Deer Creek itself). On 1/21/11, putting on we had around 1600 falling to 1300 at the take out. 3 to 3-1/2 hours on water. Once familiar to the run, boaters might find higher levels exciting, but not recommended over 2000 until you know the run.
-- Submitted by JP --
I got to pick the brain of quiet local legend Jim Good, who got the 1st descent on it "back in the day" with Rick Williams and others, before it was publicized in the guidebook. He had some tales of high adventure regarding the run. Mostly remarking on how the 11 mile distance wore them down by the time they got to the action. They named the rapids, but Jim does not remember them. Rick Williams ran this one a bunch and would be the guy to contact to determine the names of the rapids.
Run Description [Season: winter rains and spring melt]
-- Submitted by JP --
When I read the description for Deer Creek in the "Other Runs and Adventures" section of the Bennett Book (-just the title of that chapter is alluring, is it not?), an entirely different picture was painted in my mind's eye than what I actually found when I ran it w/ Ben in may of 2009. Our trip must have at least been cut in half from the original length described in the Bennett Book: we had some brief pushy class III that built up into class IV pretty abruptly before the first significant scout.
We may talk semantics about the difference between a creek and a river, but I assure you: what we discovered was no creek. It was a full blown river. It has quite similar genetics to Robe Canyon, and is every bit as powerful, if not more intricate. Plenty of large boulders, some big chunky drops, and the same silty Yoo-Hoo colored water masking the same kinds of manky subsurface rock found in Robe. And holes. Big trashy holes. Maybe this is where the Robe Gnomes come to court their significant others.
This run is best left to the intrepid local class V explorer. But come back to this page, and it is likely that this description will get fleshed out more, as more and more people re discover this overlooked run...
-- Submitted by WaterWacko 1/22/2011--
Finally got on this one. JP's description is a good one. It is a great class V run and in some ways I would say is better than Robe. Now, Robe is a fine run, don't get me wrong. That said, I would recommend running Robe before getting on this one. The crux's of the biggest drops can be portaged or skirted, BUT this run, in some ways is more dangerous than Robe. Deer Creek is a little more continuous in places and the bigger drops just go on longer. Lots of rapids. LOTS of boofs. Lots of holes, too. Big ones. I hope this run gets paddled more, I'd love to see the rapids get named. All in all I think the rapids last for 5 or 6 miles and you spend more time on the stroll in than you do on the flat water. Sweet.
-- Submitted by Kurle 3/26/11 --