First Descent of Turkey Creek back in 1980-82

By Herm Smith

“I also lead the first descent of Turkey. It is written up ages ago in the Riverlog with a description of how to avoid the cow fences by walking up across from Mud Creek by path and woods and I don’t remember exactly when (about 1980-82) the Saint was at the second highest level I’ve ever seen it–about 14 feet over the D-BRidge. We opted to try Turkey first to let the Saint drop for a second run at 12 feet. Ron Davis said later that we had made the correct move–He walked the shutins at the higher level while Butch Gebhart ran it very uncomfortably as I recall although both were excellent paddlers. I ran with Janet Burnside, Charlie Schuman, Steve Schaeffer (the perennial expert slalom favorite of the time) and a friend of his named Paul. Paul flipped in the first rapids and had to walk out from a shoulder injury from which he never recovered to boat again (We put in at the 72 bridge at a very high level!) so we called that one Shoulder Buster. At that level, Turkey was ONE big rapid from ShoulderBuster through Stoy’s Joy. While I was in Japan in 1985, Stan Stoy ran Turkey for the second descent at a more reasonable level and called the last drop Stoy’s Joy: This is the one where there is a drop of about 2 feet into a big hole followed by a 5′-7′ drop over a ledge into a very dicey hole. Upstream of Stoy’s Joy where the water bounces into a wall and jets at a 90-degree angle through willows is the other significant rapid but we didn’t name it. I don’t know what Stoy’s group called it: For us, the willows were more significant than the actual drop which is only class II at lower levels.”