Sunday, January 27, 2008


A little splash of color in an otherwise black and white world

"Deep Creek Hydro is scheduled to generate for 24 hours a day until further notice."

So what if its only supposed to be in the high 20's? Music to our ears on a nice cold winter day. Jeff and i met up with Jeff Macklin (JMac) and Jason for a quick run on the Upper Yough. A light sprinkling of fresh snow covered everything in a delicate blanket. The wind made the paddle in (and out) chilling but the rapids were great fun as always and the scenery was fantastic. Snow capped rocks, crystal clear blue-green water, and fabulous blue ice draping the banks like a curtain on the stage of winter.

Jason and Maggie admiring the ice

JMac, Jason and Jeff at the put in

JMac at Trap Run

Jeff at Heinzerling

Jeff and Maggie by the ice curtain

Maggie and Jeff on the very cold paddle out

Maggie at Cheeseburger

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Monday, January 14, 2008

2007 Paddling Year Summary

Well things are still kinda slow here. I'm sure i'll have lots of interesting new trip reports up soon but for now i thought i'd reflect on this past year. If you haven't been keeping up with the blog here's a chance to catch the highlights of what i've been up to in the past twelve months:


2007 started off with a decent step up for me. In the month of January I ran the Upper Blackwater and the Russell Fork for the first time and got my first taste of wilderness adventuring out in West Virginia.


February as usual was good and freezing but nonetheless brought a fair amount of enjoyment. Some cold weather play time on the Fishladder, an amazing spectacle of seeing the frozen 50 ft Muddy Creek Falls, followed by a sudden thaw and an awesome day on the Top Yough.


I spent much of the winter out in Western MD running the Lower Big Sandy, Upper and Top Yough a lot. The month of March continued with lots more usual runs on the Yough and another descent of the Upper B. Good water also brought along some more personal first descents: Drake Run and Fike's Run in PA. Continuing sub-freezing temperatures made me realize that my tolerance is quite high so long as i can paddle hard and continuously. A long 16 mile paddle from Laurel Run to Cheat Lake (Upper and Lower Big Sandy along the way) in 25 degree weather actually turned out to be quite enjoyable as did a 22 degree day on the Upper Yough. I ended the winter with a record 20 paddling days during this month despite the cold conditions.


Spring brought heavy rains and an opportunity to get on the crown jewel of northern West Virginia whitewater: Upper Seneca Creek


In May i made my first trip to paddle out west to paddle in Colorado. Personal first descents included Clear Creek of the Arkansas, Gillman Gorge of the Eagle, Lower Clear Creek, Bailey section of the NF South Platte, and Oh-Be-Joyful.


June saw my return to my local stomping grounds. Having been gone every weekend all winter and spring it was high time to return to my first love: The Potomac. Long days, low water levels and warm weather had me and my crew out on daily Great Falls runs after work. One trip to the New River Gorge provided some variety but otherwise it was good to just be home.


Of course i couldn't stay put for long and by the second week of July i was hitting the road again to head the the boating mecca of western North Carolina. Unfortunately drought conditions limited our options though we still had a good time on the dam release Cheaoh and a personal first descent of the Lower Santeetlah and some exploring of the Lower Whitewater and Triple Falls.

The summer continued with many more runs on Great Falls and my first time participating in the Great Falls race (the only woman to do so this year).

Finally, after a two month hiatus, i was ready to head back to Western MD again to get back on the Yough and was lucky enough to to catch a surprise run on the North Fork of the Blackwater, another new run for me.

August turned out to be surprisingly wet allowing for some more runs on the Upper Blackwater along with the usual Upper Yough releases (the increase of which i was very thankful for).
But the best trip by far (and one of the best all year) was another return to the Southeast on which i was finally granted the chance to run the fabled Green Narrows. I had a great crew of good friends and we lucked out to be able to not only get on the run at a usual low summer 100% but to also catch it the following day at an awesome 200% along with a run on Big Hungary creek, both first descents for me.


As summer wound down the month of September brought along the usual dam release season. This year i was determined to get on as many as possible. Over Labor Day i headed up to run the Beaver and Raquette (pfd) rivers in upstate New York and of course spent two great weekends at the Gauley. This year i also had some great Gauley firsts: The Marathon, jumping off Pillow Rock, seeing the Wavesport Open, and participating in the Animal Upper Gauley race. I also took part in the Ohiopyle Falls race for the first time and got to do one run on the falls in a Topo Duo (of which i just recently actually got a video of) What an awesome way to finish of the summer.


The fall continued the dam release tradition with my first trip to Moose Fest to run the Bottom Moose as well as a return to the Russell Fork (at release level). Some good rain at the end of the month brought us out to Canaan again to get in a run on Red Creek (yet another great pfd for the year).

November / December

The last two months of the year brought low water levels and of course short days. After work runs were no longer a viable option and i started to get back into my indoor winter sport of climbing again. I got in a few more runs on the Falls and started doing some attainments at Harper's Ferry with Jeff. We finished off the year with two great runs on the TY and Sandy. It's been good to get a bit of a rest from paddling continously but never fear, i will back at it with a vengence!

Overall it really was a fun and exciting year. It brought many challenges and many more triumphs. I paddled more than i ever have before, got on lots of new runs, saw amazing places and made some great new friends. In summary:

Total gradient paddled: ~48,500 ft (over 2 and a half times that of the pervious year, 86k feet total to date, that's over 16 vertical miles, dang!)

Miles paddled: ~ 600 (twice what i ran last year, 1400 miles total to date)

Personal First Descents: 22

Total days paddled: 186 (that is over half the year)

Days spent running rivers/creeking : 84 (almost twice as much as last year, almost all class IV or higher with very few exceptions)

Days playboating: 21 (i should really sell my playboat)

Days running Great Falls: 69

Great Falls runs: 136 (MD and VA lines)

Dry conditions throughout the summer and fall allowed for 7 straight months of running the MD and VA lines of the Falls. Thanks to the Falls i was able to paddle class V just about every day during the summer averaging 24 days a month from June to September. It is really wonderful having such reliable and challenging whitewater so close by and makes me very happy to call the Potomac home.

The regulars at Horseshoe, Great Falls

January first was my 655 th day of paddling since i started in 2002. If all goes well by next summer i will have spent 2 years of my life paddling.

The new year is already getting off to a good start with some runs on the Sandy and Yough as well as a personal first descent of Meadow Run in PA. 2008 should certainly be another exciting year with several trips already planned. Check back for great trip reports from my adventures in Oregon in March, hopefully a great spring season in WV/MD and hopefully a return to Colorado come May/June.


Jeff at 7 Foot Falls, Meadow Run

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