Saturday, September 20, 2003

Gauley Fest '03

In September Suzi and I decided to go to Gauley Fest. We weren’t ready to run anything but wanted to hang out. We volunteered with AW for a few hours on Saturday and spent the rest of the time hanging out at the festival and hiking down to the river. We camped at Gauley Fest Friday and Saturday night. It was quite the experience (not one that I need to repeat). Loud music and people shouting into the night. But we had a good time nonetheless. The first day we hiked down to Pillow Rock. The hike down is pretty steep and fairly strenuous normally. That year though Hurricane Isabelle had just come through and the ground was heavily saturated. This made the hike very slick and each step felt fairly precarious. We made it down just fine nonetheless.

Gauley View

Trail down to Pillow Rock

Hiking down to Pillow Rock

Due to the hurricane there was a lot of water in the watershed and the Meadow was pumping. As a result the release from Summersville Dam was decreased so that the level of the run below the confluence with the Meadow would be reasonable. The sight at Pillow was oddly low compared to normal release level. The next day we hiked down to Sweets Falls and found the opposite effect. The level there was higher than usual. We watched as a raft got flipped in Sweets, dumping all its passengers and guide. The raft surfed for a half hour while we watched and was till there when we left, pretty cool. I looked forward to rafting myself the following month.

Hike to Sweets

Lower water Pillow Rock

Raft caught in Sweets

Sweets Falls

At Gauley Fest we met Ian L. He had recognized us from the Potomac. We had a great time running around checking out all the booths, collecting schwag, and shopping. I had decided I wanted to get a playboat and had my sights on a Wavesport Transformer. It took several laps around the festival grounds before I finally decided on it but sure enough it came home with me. Ian later took me on my first Lower Yough run.

Suzi trying out the Pocket Rocket

Does this boat make me look fat?

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