Nolichucky Gorge – June 13 & 14, 2009

Levels had been holding well on the Nolichucky Gorge and several of us decided to get a14770 weekend of camping and paddling at the Noli.  Robbie G., Jeff R. and I set up a trip for the weekend and where joined by Jerry H., Mike H. and Micheal B. for a run on Saturday June 13th.  In addition to having had a pretty good late winter and spring with rain we had some rain earlier in the week so level where holding pretty good.  The day was turning sunny but not hot,  just warm and the water was running about 1250 cfs and crystal clear.  After meeting up, loading boats and dressing out at Uncle Johnny’s Hostel to pick up our shuttle we headed over the mountain to the put-in.

At the put in we quickly dropped boats, geared up and put on.   Down at Entrance/Railroad  Jeff lead off followed by Robbie,  then Jerry, Mike and Micheal followed in order,  I brought up sweep heading down and around right of the boulder river center below and then cutting back left behind and across to an eddy on the left bank where Robbie was already and then ferried out and across, playing down through the bottom two hydraulics of the rapid.  At the bottom we all surfed and warmed up at bit.

14869Next down the pool to “On the Rocks”,  Jeff caught the eddy to the right of the entrance and then ferried through the top and dropped the chute nicely and made the left channel and hit the eddy along the river left wall.  Robbie followed running a nice line.  I dropped directly into the top moving right to left and hit the tongue of the drop coming off a bit left, and then getting seriously squirted in my playboat and rolling twice into the right slot just above “the rock” and suffered a bit of bottom mapping in the rocks of the slot.   Micheal and Jerry hit the top eddy and then ran the left line below,  Mike came down and ran out the slot to the right.

Down at Jaws most of us took a couple of rounds of surfing the hole.  This rapid features a basically river wide hydraulic which at normal levels provides some awesome surf and spin opportunities.  Normally reasonably friendly to hard boats though I have have seen a raft or two experiance extended stays.   From here we worked a series of nice ledges, holes, and features down to “the Pearly Gates” which is an entrance rapid feeding into the start of “Quarter Mile” rapid. 

At the top of “Quarter Mile” we all hit the staging eddy on river right,  where Mike and Micheal got out for a look.   I lead off down the tongue out of the eddy and ferried over to the right bank across the pool above “hungry jack hole”,  Jeff followed, then turned and ran the left line making the move to cut down the narrow tongue around the boulder just 15383above the hole.  Robbie followed and ferried over to the eddy where I was,  Jerry went for Jeff’s line and got a piece of the end of Hungry Jack but made the eddy fine.  Mike and Micheal met Robbie and I in the eddy and we took the sneak line down the right to the right bank eddy and the others ferried over below “hungry Jack” around behind “Frances and Ivan” boulders to our eddy.  From here Robbie, Jeff, and I did the ferry over and down to river left, eddied out and then ferried around behind the boulders line in river center and hit the slot-drop down into the lower half of Quarter Mile.  Jerry, Mike and Micheal ran the right line down to the drop.   Below here we all played the various features and moves down the “Murphy’s Ledge” at the bottom of “Quarter Mile”, catching the eddy behind the rock outcrop on the right bank wall, then shot the drop just off the rock wall down the right to the pool below.

From “Quarter Mile” we played a couple of small rapids down the “Rooster-tail”.  I lead off from an eddy just above the main entrance along the right rock wall,  dropping in to a small staging at the wall just below and them ferrying out and cutting hard left behind a15233 pour over boulder at the main drop just below to the left.  After working down the a row of huge boulders down below down the left of the main channel, I set up intending to get some pictures.  Jeff followed down while I was getting set and hit the eddy behind the pour over up top,  then ran across the main chute back to an eddy on the river right rock wall.  Robbie followed and entered headed left but was still in the diagonals along the right bank and discovered the inversion properties of these rather strong hydraulic features, attempted a roll almost immediately only to encounter another diagonal and continue the adventure tucked below.  After getting set up for pictures I found myself hastily stowing the camera unused, hollaring to Jeff and pulling out to catch the backflow behind a huge pour over just out river center from me,  just above which Rob was going for another roll but washed up over the pour over and with oxygen running low exited the craft.   Jerry, Mike and Micheal came down.  Jeff to Rob, I had captured the paddle but the boat had layed up on rock ledges to the right of the dogleg below,  so Jeff worked up and after a bit of work freed the boat.  Below with Rob reunited with boat and paddle we all took a break for lunch.

On down we entered “Roller-Coaster” and played our way down and then ran the boogie water and play-surf spots down to “Doo-Doo Hole”, which everyone cleared nicely.  Then on to “Rock Garden”.  Jeff lead off and found a nice line,  Rob followed and then I entered 14984and had a good run,  followed by Micheal and then Mike,  all on good lines.  Down around the bend we enter “Hole-in-the-Wall” and worked down to the hydraulic ledge on the right side, cutting just behind the outcrop sticking up right of center, and back to the left onto the eddy below and staying out of the large nasty hydraulic back the the right bank.  Jerry boof the outcrop off its left side.  After running out the bottom,  we where off around the bend to “Sousehole”.  I ran down and caught the upper eddy along the right bank,  followed by Jeff and Jerry and then ferried out and across and down the far left through the souse hole, followed by Jerry.  Jeff ran down the right and caught the eddies below the ledge and boulders and then ran out the hole to the left.  Rob, Micheal and Mike ran out the left line. 

Below “Souse-hole we took a stretch break and then where off down through the three long bend and sections of boogie water, playing along the way, to “Twin Eddies”.  Rob led off from the left eddy above, ferried out to river center and caught the tongue down into the drops, I followed and ran down weaving the holes.  Jeff,  caught the eddy on the platform halfway down and then out the bottom.  Jerry,  Mike, and Micheal all ran down the left and caught the chute back right through the bottom hole.  Below we took  turns15074 surfing the bottom hole and taking pictures.

Once we had our fill of surfing Twin Eddies we where running out the final boogie water to the pool at the campground and then down the lower section as far as the Chestoa take-out.   Jerry, Mike and Micheal headed home.  Jeff, Rob, and I headed to the campground for the evening.

Sunday June 14th was a beautiful sunny day,  warm and there had been a bit of rain up the watershed overnight so the level had pretty much stayed the same.  Jeff, Rob, and I did our breakfast, dressed out, then checked on our shuttle, and headed over the mountain for another wonderful day on the gorge.

We quickly worked down through Entrance,  I got in some moves I hadn’t down in a while.  Jeff was making great moves as always and Rob was stretching her moves a bit after a long winter not paddling and doing well.  Down at on the rocks,  I seem to be having a vexed weekend with the move off the drop, but leaned forward and kept the hole from stern squirting me this time,  but had to roll in the right slot.   Rob and Jeff ran nice lines down the left.  Below here at Jaws we stopped briefly and Jeff did a couple of surfs,  then off down to “Pearly Gates” and “Quarter Mile”  where we all had good runs.

On downstream Rob redeemed herself on “Rooster-tail” moving left and cutting in behind 14631the pour-over off the top,  and briefly catching the eddy behind the pour-over and staying out of the diagonals to the right.   I had run down first hoping to get pictures again,  but had decided after making the move through the pour-over eddy above to run back right and caught a unfamiliar hole off the bottom of the main chute,  flipped,  hung, and then rolled up coming over the huge pour-over boulder below,  which meant I basically had to go straight to the dog-leg.  After catching the hooked tongue and platform eddy to the left below the dog-leg entrance,  I ran out to the bottom and set up to get some nice pictures of Rob and Jeff running the lower half of “Rooster-tail’ which are in my picture Gallery.  Both had nice runs.

We continued on down and played our way down through “Roller-coaster” doing a surf or two at the bottom and then down some fun boogie water features below, stopping at a favorite surf spot for a bit more play and pictures.  Then on to “Doo-Doo Hole”.  From14646 there we ran down to “Rock Garden” and on to “Hole-in-Wall” and “Souse-hole” with good runs and plenty of play for all of us.  After running the three boogie water sections down to Twin-Eddies,  Jeff and I took several rounds in the hole below with Rob taking pictures and videos.   After having a great time surfing the hole we head down the last water and across the final pool to take out at the campground and headed home having had a great weekend with friend, paddling the Noli Gorge.


1 comment

  1. g.k. kinsey Oct 26

    do you have an email address….. had a great time on the russell fork…..thanks for the help during the swims……..g.k.

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