Sunday, October 28, 2007

Red and Black

After months of drought and weeks without any precipitation whatsoever, everyone welcomed a change. Finally we were getting some good rain and as I walked to my office in a downpour on Thursday morning I had a big smile on my face. I didn’t even mind the horrendous traffic jam it caused on the Beltway Friday afternoon too much. It was like Christmas had come two months early. Jason and I exchanged a myriad of text messages and numerous excited phone calls. Surely something would be running this weekend. At the very least we had the Blackwater to look forward to. Finally we were getting a chance for another joint Think Rain / Got-Boof adventure. Scott needed no convincing to join in and after a three week hiatus due to an injury sustained at the Falls, was itching to get back out.

The rain had even brought out such animals as Bobby “the Dogg” Miller out of his “winter” hibernation. He wanted to know if we were interested in Red Creek… boy were we!!! Scott was more than ready to return to this jewel of the Dolly Sods Wilderness while Jason and I looked forward to checking it off its long lived spot on our hit lists. We couldn’t have been more excited.

Scott and I left my house at 6:30 am on this rainy Saturday morning and an hour later met up with Bobby, Jeff, Seth and Sean C and we made our way to Davis where we met up with Jason H and Jason M.

Located on the south side of Canaan Valley the drive to Red Creek takes you through gorgeous winding roads and amazing scenery. The adventure starts off with an easy two mile hike through a beautiful forest. The morning’s clouds were beginning to lift and we even got a fair bit of sun throughout the day. Dolly Sods has got to be some of the most pristine wilderness that northern West Virginia has to offer.

The creek was running a bit on the low side but the scenery more than made up for it. We made our way down through numerous drops and slides, scouting along the way and following Bobby’s guidance. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.

Jason did a good job of describing the run. Check out his blog for his impressions.

Unfortunately such luck comes at a price. This time Seth was our sacrificial lamb to the river gods. The shallow run had taken a toll on his Solo and a large crack had developed on the bottom of the hull. A makeshift patch job proved unsuccessful and he was forced to hike out barely two miles into the run (which combined with the 2 mile hike it to begin with proved to be quite the haul). The rest of us continued on down and much enjoyed a fantastic experience. We took off as the sun was setting. Ahhh… a Dogg trip ending in daylight, thanks so much Bobby!!!

That evening we all enjoyed a great meal at Sirianni’s in Davis, flipping through the photos taken that day. Bobby, Sean and Seth headed home while the rest of us split a hotel room at the Alpine Lodge (it would be in the 30’s overnight and we weren’t interested in cold, wet camping). After enjoying some Norwegian paddle porn and death metal we got to sleep, looking forward to a day on the Blackwater. After spiking up high it had gradually dropped to a perfect 330 cfs. Things could not have turned out better. To get on Red Creek AND the Upper B at a good level after such a long break from any natural flow. To add to what was already turning out to be a perfect day the skies cleared leaving only beautiful, sunny weather.

J & J did a great job leading Scott and I down the Upper while Jeff chose to meet us at the North Fork for a run on the Lower. Thanks guys! The Upper went great and I was more than happy to get in a redemption run on Pinball. After now five runs on the river I was starting to get more comfortable with the lines. Hopefully a few more and I’ll know my way down much better. It was nice not to have to hike out at the NF and paddling down the Lower proved to be very relaxing. A fantastic way to end a great weekend!

More Red Creek and Blackwater photos (taken by Jeff, Bobby and Maggie)

Maggie running Double Clapper

Jeff running the Clapper

Jeff, Jason and Jason on Red Creek slide

Maggie running the Clapper

Jeff, J & J, and Scott at Improvement #2

Bobby running Double Clapper

Sean and Seth at Double Clapper

Scott at Improvement #2

Seth running Double Clapper

Jason H on approach to Devil's Cauldron

Jason M running Devil's Cauldron



Jason H heading down slide of Improvement #1

Sean running the Cascades

Hiking in

Jeff on "Z-Falls"

Jason H heading down first drop of 100 Yard Dash, Upper B

Maggie heading down 100 Yard Dash

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