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Horserpasture River 2006 Trip Report

Saturday, December 2nd was an awesome day on the water! Warm temperature and good water levels were well under way. Jerry Jascomb and I met up for some good old fashion Jocassee Fun! We get to the put in/take out at about 12:00 and start our day. Gear up and head out. The hike down to the put in is probably about a mile or so and definitely not on the short side. Finally we make it to Turtle Back Falls and are greeted by blue skies and perfect levels. We wait a minute to cool down before putting on the rest of our gear. After cooling off we get in our boats and head downstream. The first rapid is Turtleback falls and it is just pure joy. Just point your bow downstream and go! It's a 5 foot slide that ends in a 10 foot drop into a nice foamy pool downstream. Around the next bend is Rainbow Falls, so we get out and portage around.

You put back in at the base of the waterfall in what feels like a hurricane. It is a bit challenging to shoulder your boat through the mist and probably almost 15-20 mph winds at the base of the falls on top of slippery rocks. Well, I was officially soaked by the time I put in and began the descent downstream. Some boogie/rock gardens approach Ugly Stuff which is a bit tricky but cleans up at higher levels. In the interest of safety because there was only the two of us, we ignorantly decided to walk around the top drop without looking at it, but once below found there was no need for a portage at this level because it really cleans up. OH WELL! The bottom drop is a ton of fun, just a nice big fast slide and some little holes to punch. The next drop was a waterfall, and Jerry says, oh this is just a nice 12 footer head down the center well I wouldn't call it so nice. Little did he tell me it landed on rocks, needless to say as I headed over the lip with a nice 45 degree angle I landed a bit hard and made some contact with the shelf below. As the entire drop lands 12 feet onto a rock shelf, it's that simple. Pretty big hit, but taken and continued on.

Jerry on Stairstep

Nothing of mention until Stair step which is a ton of fun! What a great drop! Point your bow downstream, and stay straight through the many tiers. I dont know how much gradient you lose at the end, but its a whole lot.

We keep on until we hit Corner Pocket, where Jerry opts for first and I look on. His line wasn't the cleanest, so it only confirmed exactly where I wanted to go just a hair farther right on the top drop. It enters with a nice boof landing on a slide which you continue down on until reaching a 70 degree right turn in which you promptly must turn left before slamming into a cave/undercut straight ahead. Paddle the rest of the boogie on out for the ending drop and your finished! Its a great rapid because you have to link different moves together and you better do it right or you will pay the price and who knows maybe land in the Corner Pocket!

Jerry entering Corner Pocket

The other rapids are big and awesome. Exit Ramp A big hit if you head left too early.

Top of Exit Ramp A

Bottom of Exit Ramp A

And Exit Ramp B is a big hit, no matter where you land. In the pictures these drops are easy to spot the hard hits, hell they all land on ROCK!

Sean in Exit Ramp B

Next Highway to Heaven is the bomb diggity with big fast slides and in our case plenty of water to skip right along. We had a great experience at the eddy below one of the slides though. Be careful! You try to stay right, but I was too far right and pitoned into the wall enough to slow my momentum and get caught in a swirling eddy with Jerry! We just went round and round trying to get out and I only had success. I just got out of my boat and walked up to give Jerry a hand, its no big deal just a big swirling eddy that is really really difficult to get out of. But hanging out in a kayak isn't so bad for a few minutes swimming would really really suck though because the bedrock is slick and would be really hard to climb out of.

Jerry Putting back in after getting pulled out of the eddy

Random Tweener above Windy

Well that pretty much sums it up, a few more awesome rapids downstream and then you reach windy falls and have to get the hell out of the canyon?4 mile hike straight F&$$&*# up hill and your back at the car!

Windy Falls from the top...the takeout

The hike gains about 1000 feet in elevation from what I have heard. It is pretty much awful, but worth such an awesome run. Better hike it fast too or get your car locked into the Forest Service Parking lot (closes after 6!) Jerry got lucky at the end because the nice ranger lady saw that we were kayakers and came back to get us when it got dark, she picked Jerry up so he didn't have to walk the last .75 of a mile I only got about a 400 yard trip but hell it was better than walking!

View on the Hike out

I was pretty sore the next day from the hits and the hiking, and if I wasn't then I'd be pissed! Just means I paddled hard enough! Until next time. Peace!
- Sean