The Mad has a spot between Maple Creek and Pilot Creek where the river drops drops substantial elevation over a relatively short stretch. The river is also impinged by enormous deep seated landslides for miles; which means most the banks are “active” and constantly changing. At one point there are two landslides that meet and push the river into an impossible mess of dirt and rock. It seemed like a 40-50 ft drop. But its not a waterfall… Its like a boulder field, with the water flowing through beneath it. There are several small flows of water cascading down it, but the majority of the flow just emerges at the base of the slide. This is a natural migration barrier that prevents salmon from getting any further up river and restricts steelhead migrations to only winter runs and probably only in ideal conditions, once every ten years or so.
At some point downstream of the barrier the river moves out of the earthflow terrain and into competent geology. Suddenly the bends on the river become huge rock faces and outcrops. In the nest and final installment Ill be sowing off the Mad River Canyon and the boulder fields that follow it.