Maury – Goshen Pass – Devils Kitchen Section – Sat. 10/27/07

Rain, Rain, Rain – after a long dry spell through out the summer and into this fall with only one or two brief rain events, we experianced 3 days of rains in the SE with areas here 2007-10-28 Maury 003 alt1about getting an inch during the day and another inch at night for 3 days Wed.-Friday with some areas getting as much as 5+ inches late Thurs. into Friday.  Well with all of that everybody was wow – local paddling Saturday.  Well those that paddled Thursday and Friday got to local paddle, but by Saturday with the severe drought local water was minimal at best.  Now John H. and myself started watching those gauges around Thursday night and keep watching and discussing right through Friday evening.  Well around 9 pm on Friday we both noticed that while everything else was peaking and dropping fast the Maury way up in Virgina and it tributaries where getting hammer by the rains we had 24 hours earlier and going straight up.  So early on Sat. morning after checking gauges, sure enough we had good water on the Maury.Well, we all met up in Roanoke Va., John H. (oc-1), Bill H.(C-1), Jon VanL.(K-1), Steve H.(K-1), and myself-paddlin-ed (K-1) and set shuttle to the Maury. We arrived at the bottom of the run with around 650cfs – and 21″ on the bridge gauge just before noon.  Dressed out – and ran to the top, unloaded, geared up, and put on.  The day had progressed from cloudy, misty, and cool, to warming, blue sky and sunshine, and just an all around beautiful day by then.

2007-10-28 Maury 005We a strong group, and I believe only Steve H. was a 1st timer on the Maury.  The whole group was up for playing the river and slowing working our way downstream having a great time enjoying the holes, hydralics, and other play features, all taking turns on the waves surfing.  I had decided to take my creek boat and get a little time in it in preparation for the Cheoah release coming up the next weekend and was missing my playboat a bit but still having a great time.

Down a couple of rapids Steve played tag briefly with a vexious rock in the center of a main chute/wave train on river right for a few brief moments, but fortunately did not pin on it as the a guy in a group behind us did.  While we where sitting in the eddy below,  we watched the group behind come down and wham,  this guy pins up on the suprise rock in the center of the wave train,  we watch for a minute and no-body in his group gets a rope out.  So a couple of our group started up with ropes on river right, another ferries over to river left and starts up,  I go left in my boat and work up stream to an eddy along with Bill and set up case the guy swims.  Well while we do all this one of his group jumps in the rapid and swims it trying to get to him, which was basically a fruitless effort and a bit hazardous.  Well finally about the time we have people up toward him with ropes he manages after serveral minutes to break-free,  and we go after him and bump his boat in.  Then collect oursleves back to our boats and go off down stream wanting to get away from this group that never got out a throw bag the whole time, and thankful the guy got free ok.

Well after working down serveral more technical rapids we came to Devils Kitchen.  Now we where having some debate if the tree that had been across the main channel for many months prior was still there.  The stump was still lodged where it had been but we where not sure about the main trunk, so to err on the side of safety we reluctantly did the right line.  Down to the right of boulder line, right of center, and dropping off into a eddy pool, then another drop to the left headed left to catch a tight eddie up behind the boulder line.   From there out through a slot between the boulders at the top of eddy and out into the main channel on the right side.  Then running the drops down the right and cutting right into the flow far right.  Once down it became apparent the tree trunk was gone and the rapid is now runable going far left and back right in the main channel (sure would have liked to have done that line – but it will be there next time – at least the tree trunk is gone now).

Well everyone did great in Devil’s Kitchen, good runs.  Then on down through a fun and technical collection of rapids and ledge, etc. to Corner Rapid.  Corner was pretty nice,  the top of the main rock center of the drop was exposed but its shoulders where well cover for boof off either side.  most of us ran just off the left shoulder to catch the tougue and twist right before hitting the bottom into the cross flow going left to right.  Just above the boof, there was an odd wave hole,  I have not seen at most levels that required you to seriously dig in so as not to loose speed on the boof and not get slammed left and off line.  All did well here.

Well from just above Devils Kitchen we had kind of been in and out of a big group of the Va. Costal paddlers, many of whom we knew, and the groups had kind of mingled in and out down through corner. Past corner the two group – ours and the Costals kind of just melled together, everyone chatting and taking turns running.

On from Corner Rapid and down through “the Wall”, then to the “Indian Pools” and surf 2007-10-28 Maury 007spots,  most taking turns on the ledge holes surfing a bit.  Then all moved on playing the rest of the river with all the wonderful and numerous play spots and features, right on down to the surfing wave hole/hydralics running across much of the river just above the take-out where everyone had a great time taking turns jumping in and surfing, spinning, side surfing, back surfing these features.

Well we all had a great day, and the two groups just enjoyed it that much more melling together.  Great paddle on a natural flow river – a special treat after a long dry spell for natural flow rivers this year.  Great day, great people, great run, just plain fun all the way.

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