Monday, March 26, 2007

A Saturday of firsts

On Saturday, 3/24, I (Jason Hilton) met up with Keith, Rick, Steve Bloskis and Eskimo Jim at the Fikes put in to begin a day of creeking. With huge rainfall in the area all sorts of runs were going off and I knew this would be a day of firsts. We put in Fikes for a nice warm up run, so everyone could get their groove back, as some of our group lack the stomach for the winter boating that you have seen posted across this site lately. After a quick warm up run down Fikes, it was on to some more challenging water.

Keith and Jim on Fikes

Half of the people we spoke to felt that Roaring Creek would be running in WV, and half didn’t, so out came a twenty-dollar wager. I, while trying to be optimistic, took the flowing side of the bet, but alas I am twenty dollars poorer to Keith’s infinite wisdom. But all was not lost, a quick look at Daugherty showed it running, and none of us had been there before. We ran into a group putting on, and another group that wanted to paddle with us that said it was low but doable, and off we went.

Well, the gauge must have shifted (it read 3 inches above the minimum), as this run was not running at anything that could be considered above bare minimum. The run was also just full of trees, so while we got to fire up some cool slides, we also did a lot of banging around, and a few extractions along the way, including a great save by Rick Bauer on yours truly.

Rick on Daugherty

Jim on Daugherty

After the torture of Daugherty, our group split up, with Keith and Rick deciding they preferred to get back to the comfort of a familiar run by going back to Fikes while Jim and I decided to end the day with more challenging and adventurous fare.

We met Zack at the takeout for Beaver Run, which flows into Meadow a few miles outside of Ohiopyle. From here it was the exploration of a completely new creek for the three of us. We got some beta about some footbridges and some dams, but wow, who would have thought it would be what it was. The local fisherman have claimed this bad boy for themselves and have built somewhere between 15 and 20 dams on the run. They are fairly short ranging 4 to 10 feet in height, but have fierce holes and running them required a lot of precision and a good eye for lines. We fired down the dams, as the sun set, remarking on how beautiful and different this kind of run was. A paddle snake did result in a swim along the run, in between dams, but overall the mood was awesome, and it was great to finally get on something both fun and challenging. The almost dark paddle in the fog at the end was quite the top off to the day, and Jim and I went to Zack’s house where he and his lovely wife Jancee took great care in feeding us and giving us bedding to prepare for Sunday’s shenanigans