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Lower Carberry Creek

*Road access to Applegate Lake*

Writing descriptions of rivers doesn't pay much.  Or doesn't pay anything.  As far as writing is concerned the big money is in advertising, which is why I've decided to write this description in the style of an advertisement.  Sure, I could just write a typical description and say that Carberry Creek is a pleasant class IV creek that suffers from the same drawback as many other class IV and V runs in Southern Oregon.  In other words it starts out with challenging rapids and ends up mostly class II by the middle of the run.  But instead I'm going to use this as an opportunity to promote this creek in the style of a hyped-up advertisement.

There are many approaches to written advertisements, but they all have the same objective.  To take some small piece of information and build so much B.S. on top of it that you don't even stop to notice what it's all about.  One of my favorite styles of advertising is what I call testosterone based.  It functions under the assumption that the only way to be cool or macho is to buy the product in question.  For our purposes the product will be this run on Carbery Creek.  The ad would look something like this.

Are you tired of Creeks that don't deliver the goods?  Well now's your chance to get off your butt and enjoy some of the most ass kicking whitewater you'll ever see.  Carberry Creek starts off with a little class two rapid, but before you know it you'll be going off a massive four foot drop into a seething cauldron of boiling fury, followed by a demanding and busy run-out.  This rapid is called Jackhammer of Death, but don't be misled by the benign sounding name.  The excitement keeps up for mile after mile after mile after mile, until you've gone almost two miles.  After that the whitewater mellows a little bit, but don't be fooled, because within a mile you'll be face to face with Big Bloody Brain Explosion SoftSurrender Rapid, Carberry Creek  This rapid is a single five foot drop, but its near vertical pitch will have you quaking in your booties with vertigo.  Once past this rapid you will be thrown into two final unrelenting miles of class II.  While the hydraulics may not be terribly demanding, keep in mind that the rocks are some of the hardest most solid rocks you are ever likely to encounter.  So don't even think of bashing your head on one of these rocks unless you think you've got what it takes to flip upside down in extremely shallow water and wait for one monster of an adrenaline surged thump.

Another way to write an advertisement is to target the emotional center of the reader's brain.  These ads tend to sell not so much the product as the emotion associated with the product.  For example:

Legend has it that Carberry Creek was originally called "Stream of the Soul" by the local Indians.  An invigorating yet relaxing trip down this lovely class IV creek won't disappoint your need for picturesque rapids and deep placid pools.  The first rapid occurs within the first ¼ mile of the put in and is called A Gentle Wind in the Willow Leaves.  It is a rapid filled with scenic wonder that will leave you feeling like you just made love to the goddess of whitewater.  Unless you get totally worked.  In that case you will feel more like - well, we won't talk about that.  The last big rapid, called Soft Surrender, is a single five foot drop.  It is to whitewater what Champagne is to all other beverages.  It is bubbly, dreamy and refreshing.  Unless you get totally worked, in which case it is more like Night Train or Thunderbird.  Everything about this run will delight you, from the brilliant snow capped mountains to the colorful locals, who are just as friendly when asking you for a cigarette as when they give you a weary look as if to say stay away from my crank lab.  And do not be alarmed or disappointed if they break into your car or steal the bicycle that you locked up at the take out for the shuttle.  For their ways are simple and may seem peculiar to us.  And who are we to judge them?  For they are living in a veritable paradise.

But seriously.  All you really need to know about this run is that it is pretty good and for the most part it is what I would call easy class IV at lower flows, in the 300 to 600 cfs range.  The water quality is good and the rapids are fun.  There are between 2 and 5 class IV rapids depending on water level and what you might call class IV, in addition to quite a few class III rapids.  With this much quality action the fun does really feel quite continuous.  And it really does start out with one of the best rapids on the run.  Everything is pretty straightforward, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't use your own good judgment when deciding whether to scout a rapid.  Since it is a rather small creek you may encounter a strainer or two, but if you don't you have Josh, Tim and Matt from the infamous Swim Team to thank.  They went in with a chainsaw and took out a lot of the wood.  So if you meet them buy them beer.  They need it.  Bear in mind that they did this in the winter of 2004 and that wood does accumulate quickly in creeks like this.


The shuttle is pretty straightforward.  From Highway 5 at Medford take Highway 238 through the town of Jackson towards Grants Pass.  At the town of Ruch go left on Applegate Rd. towards Applegate Lake.  Carberry Creek will be the first major creek to come into the lake on the right.  This is the take out.  To get to the put in drive about five miles upstream to where the road comes back down to the creek.  Put in before the road crosses the creek.

Narrative copyright 2004.  Contact Peter Gandesbery.  This page was last updated Jun 28, 2004.