Saturday, April 22, 2006

Careful what you wish for...

Would you believe it possible that after months of drought we finally get rain and we still had very limited options as to what to paddle this weekend? With the rain predictions i was excited about getting on the TY, Sandy or Lower Blackwater at good levels. It rained all night friday and by saturday morning everything was spiking. Mark and i met Ben and Andy in Friendsville and debated what to do. The Upper and Top Yough were already too high as was the LBS and certainly the Blackwater. We considered the options of various local creeks but since none of us new anything about them and things were spiking drastically this didn't seem like a viable option for the group we had.

Bear Creek, right there in Friendsville, was at a decent level and seemed like an okay backup. Mark and i weren't too excited about it since we'd already run it once and there really aren't any significant rapids. The Little Sandy and UBS seemed like the next possiblities so we we decided to head out there and take a look. As we drove over the bridge on the Little Sandy we were amazed to see it. At normal runable levels the put in is usually pretty shallow and very slow moving. This looked very deep and was moving fast. It was also pouring rain (we could just about have paddled in the parking lot!). That evening we found out that the Big Sandy had crested at almost 11 feet (AW max = 7 ft), Top Yough at over 4,000 cfs (AW max = 1,000 cfs), the UY at 5.75 ft on the online gauge (AW max = 4 ft) and the Lower Blackwater at over 1,000 cfs (AW max = 500 cfs)

We decided it wasn't worth risking a super high water run and headed back to Bear Creek. I wasn't thrilled about this as i remember it having a good bit of wood. It was a nice run though. I'm a much better paddler now then i was the last time we ran it and had a nice clean run with no problems. Mark volunteered to probe for us and we eddy hopped our way down checking for wood around each turn. We had to portage a log jam at the begining (same place as the first time we ran it) but found no more wood of any real consequence along the way. Mark really enjoyed probing and although it wasn't a difficult run it was definitely good practice.

Andy on Bear Creek

Ben on Bear Creek

Afterwards Ben and Andy headed home and we debated what to do. We planned on checking gauges and heading off to camp. Turns out though that our day wasn't over yet...

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