Sunday, September 26, 2004

Gauley Dream

After a great high water run on the New the day before we were ready to finally hit the Gauley. I had rafted it the previous two seasons and had dreamed about finally getting to run it in my own boat. My plan/hope was to run the Lower the first day, see how it went, and run the Upper the second if things looked good…. Josh of course had other plans… “We’re running the Upper!” he insisted. It took some convincing but I finally gave in. I had heard so much hype about the Upper G, it scarred me. I had printed out the descriptions of the major rapids and studied them carefully. It was a waste of time as there was no way I’d remember a word of it while on the river.

To add to my nervousness none of us knew the lines. Josh had been a raft guide there one summer but only vaguely remembered the raft lines. But it was Gauley Fest weekend and there were boaters everywhere. It wouldn’t be hard to find out the lines. At the put in we met up with a group of very good Potomac boaters and hung out with them for the beginning of the run.

Puttin on at Summersville Dam

We got through the first few rapids with no problems. We stopped at the top of what looked like to be a fairly large rapid with a large slopping rock at the bottom right. We each chose a different route. Mark headed down center left while I followed someone else. He caught an eddy I couldn’t fit into so I continued on down. Suddenly a Shredder got right in front of me and ran the rest of the rapid nipping at its heals so too speak.

We got to the bottom and asked what rapid that had been. We were told it was Insignificant. We had just boat scouted our way down one of the class V rapids on the run! Pretty cool. At Pillow Rock I ran the conservative line, heading right before reaching the pillow. The rest of the run went well with no real problems to report. We had a great time hanging out and also caught up with Martha, Sam and Scott M. It was a great group.

Me and the boys at Pillow Rock

Me at Iron Ring

Josh running Iron Ring

Me at Sweets

Josh, Ian, Marth, Mark

Hanging out

Mark about to run Pillow

That night we all hung out at Gauley Fest, shopping, eating funnel cake, watching videos.

Sunday we put on again ready for another great day. This time there was a little carnage, provided by Mark. Here is his account:

Sunday had a little carnage......provided by me! First carnage I've provided in a while really but oh well gotta confess! We were working our way down the boogie water at the top when I saw a pillow/wave thing that I recognized. Reading it from the top said bad pour over stay away but I remembered seeing it yesterday from the bottom and thinking it looked like a good boof. so I drove right at it, just as I hit the top I realized this was no boof...just a very ugly pour over with no kick to push you out. So I went in and flipped, tried rolling and just couldn't get anything to happen, the water was so aerated that it feel like I was just swinging my paddle around in the air. I tried sticking my paddle as far out as I could to see if I could find some green water and I couldn't feel any pull at all on the paddle. I could tell I wasn't being kicked any where (people up top said I was just sitting in the middle of the fold). So I quickly started to feel pretty helpless and made the decision....I swam. I was immediately sucked down and spit out, my boat soon followed. Thankfully it was not really in much of a rapid so I was quickly on shore then back in the boat, a little embarrassed but otherwise no problems, my fist swim since February I believe. As we went down stream I saw the boof that I had been looking looked exactly like the first one from the top just no nasty pour over on the back side.


Mark was fairly annoyed for the rest of the run but I think still managed to have a good time. I on the other hand had another great run. Decided to run the splat line at Pillow and Mark got a great shot of me. I had some mild carnage at Lost Paddle though. I flipped on the second drop (bad shallow place to flip) and hit my shoulder pretty hard. Got a great bruise out of it! Overall thoug it was a wonderful trip!

Me at Pillow Rock

Gauley View

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