Sunday, March 04, 2007

And with March comes the water...

This weekend, the flows were in! On Saturday, the day began for me (Jason Hilton) at 4:45 am. I normally would go to sleep about this time, but I had to meet Roger (IR) and Zach in Friendsville @ 7:00 to try to get in some Canaan Valley creeking. The flows were in enough that we were hoping to get on either Otter Creek or Red Creek, but unfortunately, these drained out to quickly and we resorted to the North Fork of the Blackwater. Not bad for a last resort run to pick up the North Fork of the Blackwater huh? Could have done without all the extra driving though.

Looking down at the put in from the trail

Don Smith and his crew were there running laps, and while everyone else there had run the run before, I was on my first run so Don agreed to help show us down. This is one of the steepest runs I have ever encountered, and with so many rapids, you feel like you are just falling off of a mountain. Every drop is at least ten feet and the boofs are HUGE. Needless to say, I was quite impressed. Big thanks to Don for showing us down, he new every rock in the river.

Jason entering World's Ugliest Rapid (Yes that really is the name of the rapid)

Jason in World's Ugliest Rapid

The bottom of Double Indemnity

Zach and Roger at the take out

On our way home we ran Bear Creek in Friendsville. After what we had done earlier, this was quite anticlimactic.

On Sunday, I met up with Craig and Carl to guide John Rudland and Jarrett Lambright down Meadow Run for thier first times. It was cold so the changing happened in the heated bathroom by the falls.

We caught Meadow at a low level, when all the eddies are out, so it made for great boulder hoping throughout the day. A number of folks were trying out new creekboats today as well, in preparation for the springtime flows, so this made an excellent training ground for them. It is amazing how many times I heard people tell me they thought they were a better paddler now that they got a new boat. I wonder if there is any logic to that statement? Sounds right to me.

John Rudland at the bottom of Cascade

Everyone had good lines through their first run, and a number of good boofs were exposed, which of course makes me happy. The second run saw the carnage of the day with two swims, but who am I to spread carnage stories (Ask me in person, and the dirt is yours). On the way down we cramed a bunch of folks into a cave on the river bank, only for Carl to look up and spot some awesome fossils in the bedrock.


The very first time I ever ran Meadow was on a cold snowy day similar to today, and I will always remember the amazing ice that forms on the sides of the river down in the bowl after seven foot falls.

Here is some ice from today

At the end of the run is the slides. This has to be one of the most well known rapids in the region, which many boaters scout, but a select few actually seem to run this. This is quite understandable, given the major increase in mess up potential for a bad run. But of course Craig and I had to fire this up after Carl was nice enough to show us the line, and explain his past experiences with the slides.

Carl at the top

Carl towards the biggest holes in the middle

Jason at the entrance to the slides

Jason on the way down

Craig after the second turn

Craig going into the last big hole