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Deer Creek CA

By Elaine Campbell

I finally got to experience some Cali rivers and creeks. It was everything I thought it was and more. Amazing scenery, great drops, and was so much fun! The best part of it all was I finally did my first self support overnighter on Deer Creek which is a class IV with maybe three V’s.

I was a little nervous about it at first being fully committed to a creek was a tad bit overwhelming for me at first. I’m so used to being close to a road so if something goes wrong or your not feeling it you can just walk out. I’m very confident in my abilities to paddle class V but I think too much about the consequences that come with it. Anyway, I manned up and packed up my Diesel 70 with 3 dry bags filled with food, a sleeping bag and pad, and some extra paddling clothes. I also had in the Diesel 70 a first aid kit and a break down paddle.

The put in to Deer Creek was an insane class IV highway with lots of mud and massive puddles (perfect road for dirt biking). It took about 2-3 hours to get to the put in and we took a wrong turn somewhere. We finally got there by 2pm and got on the water by 3pm. Mike ran it about two weeks prior so he lead followed by Lance, Matt, Sage, Anna, and I ran sweep.

Deer Creek starts with continuous class IV creeking pretty much right away. It was a little tough at first trying to paddle a boat for the first time stuffed with gear. It took me about a half hour to figure out how to paddle it. Once I got it sorted out it was easy to paddle. The Diesel 70 handled so well I was really impressed with the boat after the trip. I was toying with the idea to paddle my Habitat but I made the right choice with the Diesel 70 it worked great!

The run itself was 24 miles long. We paddled about 8 miles on day one with one portage that had some wood in it at the entrance. We camped upstream of Ishi Falls on a rocky beach. We tried to sleep in a field above the beach but we were swarmed by mosquito’s so went back down to the beach were the bugs weren’t as bad. We ate some food, drank some whisk, had a fire, talked, and went to bed under the stars. The next morning we got up and got back on the river around 9am. We had a long day ahead of us trying to bang out about 16 miles.

The scenery was nothing I had ever seen before. The rock was all lave rock which was pretty insane and you’d be paddling in these canyons that were so amazing with the coolest rock formations I had ever seen. We were surrounded by huge mountains, grassy fields, canyons and birds. The only other wildlife I saw was a turtle, a snake eating a fish, mosquito’s, and mountain lion prints.

This was probably one of the funnest creeks I have ever done with really fun drops. It should go on your list if you are ever in CA to go boating. The plan for next year an overnighter on Mill Creek.

Here are some photos form the trip.

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Photos by: Lance Petrack-Zunich

I’m in Grand Junction, CO going to pick up fellow Team Wave Sport member Taylor Cote and we are off to Buena Vista, CO for Paddle Fest next weekend.

Till next time,

Elaine Campbell



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