Note From Jon


Monday, September 17, 2007

The Gauley Lama

Posting some photos from this weekend’s adventures on the fall Gauley. This was Linny’s 5th year planning the trip (Thanks Linny!) and my fourth trip in the area with Songer Whitewater, but it was our first time together. It won’t be the last. While each of my trips has been fun, this trip easily wins for most fun on the river. It probably didn’t hurt that I had a team of strong and zany raftmates (Viva la Banjos!), under the guidance of the man who we named “The Gauley Lama” (you can call him Fred), and a waterproof camera to capture everything (thanks Darren).

As the Banjos prepare to take on...... the Upper Gauley

This was my second time on the Upper Gauley, but first time in the fall (when they release the Summerville Dam). I still agree with our guide from June that the low water Gauley in a 4 person High Adventure raft is more technically challenging than the Fall Gauley. It was a lot more peaceful too since we were the only rafts in the river in June compared to the “Mall Parking Lot” feel of waiting to drop into the Class Vs in the fall. But it’s hard to beat the fun of riding the big water, and we found plenty of fun ways to occupy the time while we waited (back flip anyone?). Next year we want to try the Upper Gauley in the High Adventure rafts and go on a Sunday instead of a Saturday.

I can meditate in mid-air...... but I can't pull off the back flip like Dave

Swim Report: Kelly pulled a “Kelly” and was launched from the boat at a seemingly innocuous time as we bumped into a rock along one of the edges of Lost Paddle Rapids (thankfully another boat was right there to grab her so she didn’t have to swim the rest of the 1/3 mile class V rapid). We all got tossed (including Fred) at the Fuzzy Box of Kittens (aka Surprise), though I managed to be the last man standing in the raft before it went face down. Since the guides always try to flip here, I’ll see if I can attempt the guide’s move of climbing onto the back of the raft as it flips next year.

Other notes I want to remember for next year:

- A good guide makes all the difference (a bad one nearly ruined the trip for some of my raftmates last year). We’ve enjoyed Fred, Hobbit, and Doug with Songer.

- Take the route 60 cut across to route 19 even though Songer doesn’t suggest that in their directions (there’s a Kroger in a town about halfway along 60 – or else take a left on 19 and head back down to the Wal-mart – did I actually just advocate going to Wal-mart?!?)

- The waterproof Olympus worked great in the Sports setting on a sunny day like we had.

- The high was in the mid-60s and the water temp was in the high 50s/low 60s. I was grateful for the wetsuit, and my River Fox socks, but the water felt a lot warmer than I expected (much warmer than our trip at the end of June).

- Try to hit the top of Pillow Rock with your paddle as you go past, this was the one bit of fun that the Gauley Lama left out.

1 comment:

Darren said...

Looks fun, wish there was two of me so that I could have done both trips.I will try to make it next year for at least for one of the trips.