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By Clay Wright

Years ago, I would drive 2 hours for Jones Creek to meet Bo Eakens,
Brad Hines, or anyone I could find just about anytime Town Creek was
above 600. Then there was an ice storm, high winds, etc filling the
creek with wood and Brave Wave right here in my back it’s
been quite a while. And how nice it was to be back. Despite Town
Creek running near 800, the river was low but with temps in the 70’s
it’s hard to complain about getting back on an old favorite with
several solid Chattanooga boaters who have never seen this classic
Southeast creek.

I met Jeremy, Paul, and Taylor in Chattanooga and we hooked a shuttle
up with AL’s own Keith Yell. The Falls was pretty low but Keith’s
inspiring run got us fired up on it despite the shallow ledges in the
approach and the weird rooster-tail at the lip. I probably should
have scouted a bit closer because I ground to a stop on a sharp ledge
upstream then sampled the depth of the pool, thankfully right of the
piton rocks – just grazing the downward sloping back of the falls.
The slides were less than ideal at this level, but soon we boofing
into Pencil sharpener, walking Circleback due to the low water sieve,
and patting the Dog – 3 tricky boofs in a row – where the real action
picks up. Keith got 4 laps in while we scouted and picked our way
down, then led us through Lumberjack and Freight Train blind knowing
the wood was gone from a recent visit. Casey Jones has changed for
the worse.. not that it was great to begin with.. so the portage
there felt fine too once you get your skirt on on for the seal
launch. Just below, Slots o luck was feeling tighter than ever but
the A** Hole was just a fun boof at this level right where the nasty
hole usually waits.

The runout goes from class 4 to 3 to flatwater and soon we were
leaning into the waves and wind on the lake for the 2 mile paddle
out. We made 3 portages (Circleback, a tree right above the Dog, and
Casey) and had one real nice pin that required in-boat extraction.
But anyone who’s been there expects a little action. It’s just part
of the day’s work for boaters venturing down Alabama’s Jones Creek.


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