Sunday, October 17, 2004

Fall Gauley

It was the last Gauley release of the season so Mark and I decided to head out to Summersville. We had planned to meet Pete on Saturday for Lower G run and then do the Upper Sunday. Unfortunately we got delayed in our arrival and didn’t get to WV till Saturday evening. We camped at Battle Run campground by the dam.

Summersville Lake

The next morning we awoke to a gorgeous sunny day. It was so warm and comfortable sleeping in the truck that it was hard to get up. By the time we got up it was getting late. We couldn’t get a hold of Pete due to poor cell signal so we headed to the put in to drop me and the boats off while Mark set shuttle. When we arrived however, we found not a whole lot of people there. I was getting worried that he wouldn’t be able to get a ride back considering how late it was.

Luckily I ran into Ben who I had paddled with on the Upper Yough the week before. I asked if he and his group would be able to give us a ride. They said sure and asked if we knew the lines. Yeah we knew most of the major lines. No problem, Mark agreed to guide them down. It was another beautiful fall day.

Fall on the Gauley

We had a great run all the way down through Insignificant, and Pillow Rock. Everything was going fine. The excitement began when we reached Lost Paddle. We had a few flips at the beginning but nothing major. After the second drop however things got a bit crazy. Mark went first at each rapid and I followed so I didn’t get to see much of what was happening behind me. Apparently Ben swam somewhere below the second drop and was dangerously close to a major undercut. Mark had caught an eddy nearby and yelled instructions for him to swim the other way. Thankfully he did. He was able to climb up on shore and later a raft came by and gave him a ride down.

Meanwhile the other guys chased after his boat. In the process someone else also swam and hit his head quite hard. We were able to regroup at the bottom and recollect everyone’s gear. The two swimmers where shaken up and we spent some time letting nerves and headaches heal. I felt bad for what happened to both of them and was glad they were okay. But Ben had witnessed my swim on the UY after all!!

Bottom of Lost Paddle

At Iron Ring we scouted and Mark once again led. On my previous runs I was a little too far left both times and inevitably flipped. So this time I made a conscious effort to correct this and go farther right. Well I overcompensated and ended up running it extreme far right. I immediately realized I was too far right but it was too late. But much too my surprise things went well. I ended up sliding up on the rock that formed the river right hole, boofed over the hole and with a good brace continued on upright. It was a cool feeling.

Mark was a ways in front of me and had turned around to look. He watched me perform my move and then watched as every single one of the four guys behind me followed. Of course not a single one of them made the boof and one by one they ended up in the hole. It must have been quite the sight!

Mark and I on the hike out

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