Sunday, September 25, 2005

Room of Doom

Well it was that time of year again: Gauley season! Finally we were getting the team back together to paddle. Mark and I paddled the Upper G Saturday while Josh and Ian took Sylvia and Rebecca on a rafting trip down the Lower. Saturday was damn crowded, as expected, but nevertheless we had a good time. I spent the day practicing cartwheels
the whole way down. Was even getting 2 points fairly consistently.Damn did everything hurt that night though! Overall a very nice day despite the crowds. I finally managed to run all the drops of Lost Paddle clean too, that was definitely a highlight.

Saturday night we hung out at Gauley fest with everyone for a little bit. Lots of funnel cake of course. Ultimately though we were damn tired and headed to Fayetteville to camp (I've camped at G-Fest before, didn’t need to do it again!).

Team NS

Sunday Josh and Ian joined us for the Upper. It was nice to have the team together again! But of course this is where things started getting interesting.... in true Team NS style. The beginning was relatively uneventful. Well with the exception of the near head on collision between Josh and I as he and Mark both decided to suddenly catch and surf a wave directly in front of me. Doh! That would have made great video.

The boys

Next we proceeded on to Insignificant. I swear the first two or three times that I've run that rapid were clean and problem free! ha ha this year though not as much. The first time I had a raft in my way end ended up right on top of the big hole at the top. Somehow miraculously though managed to paddle out of it without getting worked at all. The
next two times though I have no raft to use as an excuse.

I know what the line is "supposed" to be. But damn it I can never remember exactly
how far to the left of that damn hole I'm should be. Needless to say I keep clipping the left shoulder and on Saturday I got a short ride in it. Not too bad though, the far left side is fairly flushy. Sunday I had no problem seeing where the hole was. Ian did a great job of pointing it out for me and he went right into it and proceeded to do multiple underwater loops/cartwheels. Of course I was still too far right and was on course for my usual "clip the left shoulder" line. Well this time I had a bright red obstacle... Ian's boat... anyhow I’m pretty sure that I knocked him out as I hit him. See... this is what teamwork is all about! Anyhow I proceeded onward with few problems after that, having avoided the hole. Ian probably got a good nasal douching but was otherwise just fine.

Next comes Pillow Rock. I think that's always been my favorite rapid on the Upper G. Super fun and relatively consequence free... not so if you read the carnage reports from that weekend. Anyhow I realized that I really don't know what the line is at the top. I haven't had any problems with it at all this year but somehow that day was different.
I'm used to following someone down the entrance and from there I’m just fine on my own. That day though I knew that the girls were waiting to take pictures and I wanted to give the person in front of me time to get down so that they’d have time to take my picture too.

Somehow I got distracted. I don’t now what happened but I got focused on this curling wave on the left. You know how if you look in a certain direction that's where you're
bound to end up. Well there I was, suddenly heading to this wave. Nothing all that scary about it but it did spin me around. blah... no problem.. turn back and head right... ugh... easier said than done. As I flipped I saw exactly where I was headed... straight for the Room of Doom.

Heading for the Room

So there I am... in the Room of Doom... thinking: "HTF do I get out of here?" and then: "should I swim?, I don't wanna swim... damn HTF do I get out?" Okay so one, two, three roll attempts, all useless other than maybe getting a breath of air... sigh... okay getting
awfully friendly with the rock... then... suddenly.. the light at the end of the tunnel... things become calmer and..... I'm out!! the boat is moving along the rock... one more rush of turbulence as I hit the toilet bowl below Volkswagen Rock and I am free. Roll, cough up some water and find Mark waiting there ready to greet me. not.. my best line... but definitely the most exciting.

Me in the Room

Ian watches as Mark runs Pillow

Hanging out at Pillow

After hanging out with Sylvia and Rebecca (who had hiked down the trail) for a bit we headed on. Nothing more too exciting after this. Had a good, clean run on Lost Paddle once again. At Iron Ring Mark had the pleasure of watching from below as every one of the rest of us managed to flip at some point or other. I’m sure it was gratifying to know that he was the only one with a 100% clean run of the river that day. I think that maybe next time I’ll get out and look at Iron Ring again. At Sweets there was a raft wrapped around Dildo rock (the spot where Mark pinned last week...) creating a pretty nice rooster tail. Clean run there too... well 2 out of 5 ain't too bad! lol.

Pencil Sharpener

Dinner at the Palms, Staunton, VA

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