Fall run on the New River

Trip Start Feb 17, 2011
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Trip End Oct 23, 2011


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Where I stayed
What I did
whitewater kayaking
Pies N Pints Pizzeria
Bob Evans

Flag of United States  , West Virginia
Saturday, October 22, 2011

On Thursday I made a trip down to Hico to run some rivers with George, whom I met in July while paddling the New. We rented a cabin at Ray's Campground in Hico since it was freezing. I brought along my space heater which helped. When I pulled in on Thursday the campground was deserted but I had called ahead so my cabin was open and a space heater was on inside.

George and his friend Andy pulled in a little behind me they had just run the Lower Gauley. They said the level was low because most of the water in the Summersville Dam had been used for Gauley season and the Army Corp was releasing at night to allow the fishermen to get on the river to fish. Once we unloaded everything we made a trip to Pies N Pints to get some late dinner. Back at the cabin we drank a bunch of Mad Elf Ale and talked about kayaking before going to sleep.

On Friday morning we checked the levels, both Andy and George decided to run the Upper Gauley at about 1000 cfs. I declined and instead ran shuttle for them and got a hot shower. After their run Andy left for the weekend and George and I went to dinner at Bob Evans in Summersville.

On Saturday morning we woke up to great news that the level of the New River had risen. It has gone from .3 ft to 1.78 ft overnight. I was excited and nervous because that was alot higher than I had run the New at over the summer and it was only me and George paddling. We stopped at the Ace Raft company to see if they had any dry pants since George was in need of a pair but they were pretty picked through. We ran the shuttle and put on the river about noon. 

I was happy to see atleast a few other boaters at the put-in, there were groups ahead of and behind us incase anything went terribly wrong. It was a beautiful sunny day and the temps had come up slightly and the fall colors were looking amazing. It was nice to get to run the New without all of the crazy raft traffic.

I could tell by the size of the waves in class III Pinball rapid that the level was bigger and pushier than at zero

I had told George about my horrific swim from a raft in the Cunard Stripper in class III Upper Railroad rapid so he joked with me that we were going to run the right line and hit the meat of the hole. We took the left hand line around the hole and hit the huge wave trains. Tons of fun!

At class III Lower Railroad rapid George ran a line slightly different than what James had taken us on in July. I clipped the rock I was supposed to avoid and got flipped. I got washed over another large rock and took a good shot to the shoulder but I managed to roll right up. George was happy because he knew I couldn't be too freaked out about the higher level and only two of us if I was able to roll.

We floated through class II Swimmers rapid and talked about how awesome it was to paddle with almost no one else on the river. We enjoyed the fall colors and the scenery. We paddled through class III Strippers and Ender Waves rapids by just reading and running.

George pulled me in up above class III Upper Keeney rapid and reminded me to eddy out behind the large whale rock. We got set up for class IV Middle Keeney rapid, I stayed right on George's line because I wanted no part of swimming and going near the Meat Grinder. Everything went well and I ran it right-side-up.

Next up was class IV Lower Keeney, one of the rapids that gives me the most trouble because its impossible to scout and hard to see the line through it front the eddy up top. I thought it was big in the summer at zero on the gauge well at two feet it was intimidating, the waves and holes were high. I had a feeling I was going to eat shit here. George went first and punched what looked like a 12 foot standing wave and disappeared from my view. I followed him and managed to punch the first large wave but right behind it was another. I had no momentum for the second large wave and got window shaded immediately. I set up to roll and couldn't get my paddle toward the surface, I knew then that I was spinning around in the large hole in the center of the wave train. I tried to set up a few more times and kept getting denied. I finally ran out of air and had to bail out. I managed to self rescue in the eddy below the rapid. George drained my kayak for me and we got right back out there.

I got to shake off the swim with an easy run through class II+ Lollygag rapid and class III Dudley's Dip rapid. I followed George through class IV+ Double Z rapid but got a little off line and clipped part of Table Rock and fell into the hole and flipped. I rolled right up and was happy!

We picked our way through class II Halls of Karma rapid and class III Hook 99 rapid, we came up on class IV Greyhound Bus Stopper rapid before we even knew and we each picked a side and ran it

We saw alot of people on the side of the river above both class III+ Upper and Lower Kaymoor rapids. There is an old mining trail there that people use to hike into the river. 

We ran into a private and commercial rafting trip in the pool above class IV Miller's Folly rapid. George gave me a great line through the huge chaos and managed to get me through the rapid upright!

Up next was my favorite rapid class IV Fayette Station! It was so much fun, the wave trains were huge and bouncy! There were a couple of video boaters there taping the few rafts coming through and lots of people lined up on the shore watching the action on the river. When we got to the bottom George decided to hike back up and run it again while I videoed him from shore. 

We had an hour drive to reverse our shuttle and back at camp I got a nice long hot shower and we scavenged fire wood to build a fire with. We decided to make dinner at camp and had hot dogs and beans and plenty of Mad Elf! 

We decided to check the gauges in the morning before deciding what to run. 


Ace Gear Shop: www.aceraft.com

Ray's Campground: http://www.rayscampground.com/

Pies N Pints: http://www.piesandpints.net/locations/fayetteville-wv
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