Greetings river family!!! I hope everyone’s doing well and had an awesome 4th of July weekend! I know I did. But as always, all good things must come to an end. It’s what you did with your weekend, that’s what matters!
On the fourth, it started raining, then it just kept raining, hard. While it probably spoiled most folks plans, I’m used to camping out and being rained on. So we had a Fourth of July party at our house, and set up our backyard like a campsite, stringing up tarps, so the party could go on…
But, before that, I got a call from Jim Reynolds (winner of World Kayak Rock Island Open — Freestyle Cup), and read a post on our local FB page, Nashville Whitewater about some folks headed down to Harker’s hole to playboat.
I really wanted to get there, because when we had our last HTTD, Survivor Boater X, I had been pleasantly surprised to find that someone had been working there, HARD. The evidence of their work, hundreds of rock piled up in jeddies, forcing the water to the main channel like a funnel. The actual drop had been worked on as well, as before it was a single ledge, now it’s a double ledge. So seeing all this inspired me to get my butt down there and check out the fruits of progress. I knew, too, that it would be helpful to be there and observe how the dynamics of the hole change with the increasing flow.
So, I went. I met up with Jim Reynolds, Brian Mayhew, and Jonathon Carter just as the rain was really kicking up. I’d guess when I got there it was around 300 cfs. The main hole there was good at this level, front, side, back surfs, flat spins, no problem. It’s still a bit shallow at this level so initiating the bow and stern were tricky for a big guy like me. The water went up at a medium pace. I’d say the level when we got off was probably around 4-450cfs.
At the higher level, we were able to front and back surf, flat spins required a little more effort, but initiating the bow and stern were no problem. In fact, I noticed me, and more than one other boater who got stern squirted out of the hole. And when I did have to roll, I waited just a bit, being washed down the main channel upside down. I was relieved to not hit any rocks.
That means the main brainbusters that used to reside in that stretch, have been removed and are no longer a threat to upside down boaters. Also at the higher level, the bottom jetty, that normally creates an eddy at lower flows, begins to create a different bigger hole. It’s my understanding that the builders of this feature plan to even out this jetty, hopefully creating a glassy wave in the middle of the river at higher flows.
So far, no improvements have been made to the second shoals area, but I believe, with a little work, this could be a fun little playspot as well. It really just takes some dedicated locals who really want to playboat, but can’t afford to drive 3 hours to the Ocoee every weekend. I get it! I’m right there with ya! Thanks for all the hard work. Let’s make Middle TN awesome!!!
The only thing that could be better. the walk-up take out (for doing laps), is horrible. The water is deep there, so big guys like me almost always fill their boats with water while trying to get out of their tiny boats!! Then, the trail back up to the Stones River Greenway, is muddy as hell, and is bordered on both sides by Poison Ivy.
Anybody got a son who needs an Eagle Project? Or is there anyone who’s just super bored and wants to get involved, here’s your chance. I will write to the Greenway committee and try to get approval for construction. We could build an awesome stairwell down to the water out of 6X6 timbers. If you’re interested, hit me up on Facebook.
So, if you haven’t checked out the new and improved Harker’s Hole yet, then get you butt over there before we run out of water, and we have to wait till the winter to surf at this awesome location. Did I mention that the parking lot is behind the Tobacco/ Beer Shop (buy a 12 pack beer and get free bag of ice) and the Liquor Store? Everything you need for a hot summer afternoon of surfing and fun at Harker’s Hole, on the West Fork of the Stones River, in Murfreesboro, TN (2122 N. Thompson Lane). So see you there?