Words By: Brandon Willms
My anticipation was building with every bend in the river. I was beginning to expect that we had stumbled upon something special. In a moment, we would find ourselves above a stacked set of rapids that were ready to deliver fleeting Joyrides, which had us whooping and hollering all the way to the bottom.
Each bend seemed to be part of a greater tale the river was telling us. A tale of the adventures that lay in store. A tale of the journey the water had taken on its relentless quest travelling downhill to the ocean. A tale of the rapids and waterfalls that marked the landscape and would soon challenge our passage through the rolling valley. Nature is a brilliant story teller. As an Author of a novel carefully scripts a plot to ebb and flow, so too does the river, strategically building and easing tension, creating suspense to the high point when everything seems to make sense.
The river met us with lovely stretches of glassy water that lazily drifted around the lightly treed shorelines. Views of the surrounding thundering mountains and the soft looking evergreen forests were momentarily unveiled to us. We would then turn a corner to find a stark contrast as the water quickly accelerated and tumbled down a series of rocks and boulders forming a rapid that always seemed, ever so slightly, steeper than the last. My attention shifted from the wider environment to the water directly downstream of me as I scoped out what looked like the cleanest and most exhilarating route to follow. Typically this meant jumping off as many boulder boofs as possible. As quickly as the rapid appeared, it would fade into the background, becoming a gentle rumble behind me. Once again I could focus my attention outward to the beauty that surrounded me.
"Frodo drop" a highlight of Isengard.
Forgetmenot Creek delivered a fantastic first descent to our crew Danny Leavitt, Benny Clark and myself last summer, while we were on the mission up in Central, BC. Unlike most of the exploratory paddling these days, the access to this creek was fairly easy and could be found along well maintained forestry roads. Its overall location is far from most hubs, but it is still a worthwhile trip as the creek delivered two days of solid paddling with more exciting sections left to explore. I can’t wait to get back in there, and I would recommend anyone who finds themselves in the area to check this creek out!
One of the many good rapids in the "Perennial Gardens".
The River Report – Forgetmenot Creek
Location: Crescent Spur, BC
Our water level: Just under “I” on the visual painted rock gauge; Morkill below Hellroaring Creek was running around 55-60cms
Grade (at this level):
Section A "Isengard": IV(V-)
Section B "Upper Middle Middle": V-(V+)
Section C "Balrog": V(VI)
Section D "Perennial Gardens": IV+
Character (at this level):
Section A: Grade I floats broken up by long rock gardens and boulder rapids; Incremental building difficulty of rapids up to IV+; Stacked drops with mixed bedrock and XL sized boulders; Siphon below Frodo drop (V-); Technical waterfall "The White Wizard" (V-); Scouting and portaging rapids is simple; Wide open river valley containing mix of forest and wetland shrubs.
Section B: Rapids are on average steeper and closer together then through Isengard; Bedrock rapids, some with slide character; Steep cliffed out river banks in some spots; Two, large, technical and interesting waterfalls (V+) that may be runnable, but we walked around;
Section C: This part of the run is the steepest on the river and passes through a canyon. We scouted the entrance, which is a steep stack of drops (V) in a mix of large boulders and bedrock river bed. We scouted the exit of the section from a distance downstream and it contains a very large and technical 10+ meter waterfall "The Balrog", portaging looks to be potentially cliffed out and difficult. Further inspection will be necessary before this section can be run.
Section D: The last stretch of whitewater before the Morkill FSR bridge. This section is the most consistent. It has a continuous boulder bed character and sustains rapids at a IV+ difficulty. Numerous stacked boulder drops and boofs; Fairly deep river valley, with some old growth surroundings.
"The White Wizard" notes the end of Isengard.