Middle Fork of the Smith (Patrick's Creek)
|Stretch:||Patrick’s Creek to the North Fork|
|Flows:||500-?000. Current Dreamflows (est) gauge|
|Take-out:||North Fork Confluence|
|Shuttle:||8.5 miles, 10 minutes 1 way|
|Season:||Winter Spring (Natural)|
|Featured in Video Eight.|
This run is definitely the easiest that we got on up on the Smith. There were many class III- rapids with one class IV rapid which is the pinnacle of the run. If it were not for the class IV then I would even venture saying that I may not do this run again. The scenery is non-existent as the free way travels next to you the whole way, many rapids have the concrete embankment coming down into the water. There are a few nice water falls coming down from the other side of the river, but in all, it is far less beautiful than the other runs as well as less difficult. Still, there were some long rapids where swimming is not acceptable, so be solid to be on this run.
- Cal-Trans Rapid (IV). The class IV comes just downstream (100 yards) after the
Howard Griffin Bridge. This is the first bridge that the river goes under as you
are paddling the river. The rapid has numerous lines. The gist is to avoid the fan
rock on the left, further below avoid the hole on the right, and just below avoid
the fan rock on the left again. At higher water it was straightforward if run down
the center. At low water it is supposedly more difficult to pick a line.
Scout/Portage on the left.
There are many long class III- or class III wave trains that have a large hole here or there. Just keep your eyes open and read them from the river, none will sneak up on you as I remember it.
Take out: The North Fork Confluence is in the town of Gasquet. Take a road, just after “She She’s” restaurant on the left. Go over a small bridge and park on the right. Just after and to the left of the bridge is a trail that leads to the point at the confluence.
Put in: Drive up 199 until you get to Patrick’s Creek. On the left is a Lodge, on the right is a campsite. Both have parking and have a trail to the same river access (100 yards).
View Middle Smith, Patrick's Creek in a larger map
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