Monday, October 29, 2007

Goodbye Drought, Hello Rain

Thanks to a nice large rain cell that moved through our region during last week, we were finally able to boat close to home. This time it was off to yet another river that was high on the hit list, Upper Red Creek in Dolly Sods, WV.

This is some expeditionary kayaking, not because the run is particularly long, but because you are down in it, and you go through a lot to get there. Just getting to the creek involves a 2.5 miles hike down into the Dolly Sods wilderness and then an arduous paddle in on some very shallow water. Don’t worry though, it is worth it!

Hike In

Once you work your way in and boat to the good stuff, your reward is the largest amount of bedrock rapids to be found in West Virginia. Countless very long slides, waterfalls, and steep boulder drops await, and while your boat is not going to thank you for this one, your mind will. For miles, we hucked off of big drops surrounded by the most pristine wilderness around. No trash, no people, no one to hear you shout for joy (or scream).

Jason Hilton & Jason Miller @ Superslide (Courtesy of Thinkrain)

Jason Hilton @ Clapper

Jason Miller @ Clapper

Jeff @ Clapper

One feeling you must get used to here is that of landing drops onto rocks. Proper boof technique is a must, and proper spine alignment on landing is going to be the difference between a good day and a medivac. Unfortunately, we did not bring any bitchathane with us on this trek, so when a member of our group suffered a broken boat, they enjoyed a solitary 4.5 miles hike out. Lesson learned, next time be prepared as if this was a multi-day.


Jason Hilton @ Double Clapper

Maggie @ Double Clapper

Jason Miller @ Hammer Factor

Jason Hilton Wild Boof @ Improvement #1 (Courtesy of Thinkrain)

Jason Miller @ Improvement #2 (Courtesy of Thinkrain)

Jason Hilton @ Slide (Courtesy of Thinkrain)

Jason Miller @ Devil's Cauldron (Courtesy of Thinkrain)

The day was full of great moves, big nerves, and fast aggressive paddling over large horizon lines, and at the end the six of us that were left, celebrated another awesome day on the creeks of West Virgina. Big thanks to Bobby Miller (Zone-Dogg) for giving us a tour of one of his favorite runs, and for showing us how to style each and every line.

Zone-Dogg gettin' it done (Courtesy of Thinkrain)

The following day saw a combination of Upper and Lower Blackwater at 330 CFS. Not too bad for a weekend in October!

Jason Hilton @ 100 Yard Dash (Courtesy of Thinkrain)

Keep your eyes on Maggie's site (Thinkrain) for a much better write-up and even more shots of this awesome adventure.