If you’ve ever wanted to see where Daniel Boone walked, or where Tom Dooley (of song and legend) infamous lead him, your next whitewater trip should be Stony Fork Creek in North Carolina. The creek offers more than history; it runs through some truly beautiful country that doesn’t look much different than it did 200 years ago.
Stony Fork Creek comes off of Tompkins Knob in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and flows down between Elk Ridge and Dividing Ridge until it joins the Yadkin River just above the Kerr Scott reservoir. Some rank this 6 mile run as class I-II, others as I-III, and, typically with small streams, it depends on the water height. Put-in is above a bridge on CR 1155, about 2 miles west (left) from its junction with CR 1154. Takeout approximately 2 ½ miles east of the town of Ferguson; it’s a steep bank there, but it’ll save you about ¾ of a mile of mainly backwater.
Stony Fork is fast for its size, and it drops over one small ledge after another, averaging 9-10 feet down per 50 feet of stream. Stony Fork Creek is usually runnable through the region’s wet season. The ledges are about 12 to 18 inches high until just before the confluence of Stony Fork with the Yadkin, where the drops get higher and more frequent. You’ll know the spot by a large tree that cuts off most of the creek; behind and to the right of the tree, a solo kayak can take the 4-foot drop into a whirl of turbulence, and continue through the boulder garden in the Yadkin to the takeout point.
The cool water may be just what you need after paddling through a warm Carolina day. A raglan shirt from Five Ten will help keep you cool, and these shades from Arnette keep the bright sun from hurting your eyes. These Newport Sandals from Keen will let you put your toes in if you take a break; and in this gorgeous country you may want to.
(For more about Stony Fork Creek and the Yadkin River, check out Bob and David Benner’s book, Carolina Whitewater, from Menasha Ridge Press.)