Turkey Creek

I don’t remember this run too well. John Foster and I were paddling the Saint around 5 feet. We were at Big Drop when we saw a boater coming towards us, it was Jason Bales. On our way down the river we decided to give Turkey Creek a try, the level was a little low for the creek, but none of us had done it before and we were all game.

I believe it was late January. It was cold and there was snow on the ground. All I had on my feet that day were some old socks, not even my holey neoprene socks, so needless to say, when we reached the put in my feet were cold! I couldn’t even bend my toes.

We almost put on too low. Luckily we checked upriver and found some nice rapids before we put on. There are few slow spots on this creek. I don’t remember any of the lines except in the rapid I think is named Stoy’s Joy. It has a complex lead in that finishes in a very narrow chute. In this chute you must first go through a sticky hole, then boof a triangular rock that wants to throw you into the rocky walls.

According to Tom Kennon’s Ozark Whitewater book there are 6 named rapids; Boulder Dance, Janney’s Jam, Turtle Slide, Sticky Wicket, Look Right, and Stoy’s Joy. In his book he gives a brief description on running each. I’ll let you look it up. John, Jason, and myself had no trouble reading the lines. Truthfully, half the fun in creeking is not knowing what the rapids are and having to explore each one on your own. I guess that is why it is so exciting to do a first descent.

I am truly surprised in how few people make this run. It is definitely worth the walk and since it is right along the river, it is a great way to finish off a day of surfing the flooded St. Francis.

Difficulty

Class IV. It drops 150′ in 2 miles with a section that drops 80′ in 1/2 mile.

Location

Madison County

Put-in/Take-out

Don’t put in at the hwy 72 crossing!! To put in, paddle down the Saint past Rickety Rack. When you come to the hole of water with the bluff on river right, paddle over to the rocky beach on river left. Get out here and hike directly away from the river to the trail only a short distance away. Turn left on the trail and follow it uphill. When you reach the top, the trail will turn to the left. Look straight up the hill and leave the trail going just to the right of where you are looking. The creek will be on your right side. When you reach the creek make sure you are far enough upriver before putting on or you’ll miss some good rapids.

The creek empties into the Saint, just paddle on down river to Silver Mines to take out.