Outdoors

Paddlers have eye on surging Hangman Creek

Muddy water in Hangman Creek generally is a signal to kayakers, canoests and rafters that the stream is in rare good form for paddling. (Rich Landers)
Muddy water in Hangman Creek generally is a signal to kayakers, canoests and rafters that the stream is in rare good form for paddling. (Rich Landers)

PADDLING — Spokane paddler and guidebook author Dan Hansen couldn't find a scouting report for a stretch of Hangman Creek at high water, so he set out by foot to find out for himself.

Hansen hiked the 10-mile stretch from the Qualchan Historical Monument site downstream to Valley Chapel Road and found excellent paddling water — with a few big rapids to be aware of — at a flow of about 1,000 cubic feet per second.

“At many times of year, Hangman Creek generally flows at less than 200 cubic feet per second. But rain on snow can make the water spike, presenting an opportunity for paddlers,” Hansen said.
 
A rain-on-snow event can cause the creek's flow to more than double in 24 hours. It might be 4,000 cfs one day and dropping quickly two days later. And within a few days, the rush is over.

See Dan Hansen's Facebook page video report of Hangman Creek at 1,000 cfs.

Note:  Hansen previously reported that he floated the river at 3,500 cfs. Here's his retraction of that initial report:

“A group of us ran that section of the creek after I sent that…. It was 1,000 CFS, and it was actually just about perfect. I remember thinking at the time that my initial assessment of the creek was wrong. I’d be scared to death to run it at 3,500.”

This week: On Tuesday, Hangman Creek peaked at almost 3,500 cfs. It's down to 1,700 today but likely will go back up considering the amount of rain in the weather forecast.

Directions to Qualchan Historial Monument:

Drive south from Spokane to Waverly, which is just southwest of Fairfield. From the main street tavern, go north and west on Spangle/Waverly Road 5.5 miles. Turn right and follow North Kentuck Trails Road just over 2 miles to Hangman Creek. Cross the bridge and start looking for the small monument on the left.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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