Nolichucky Gorge – Sunday March 22, 2009 – 1,100 cfs

13724Sunday 3/22/09 dawn bright and sunny with  modest but good flow on the Nolichucky from rains late the week before.  Water was crystal clear as it often is on the Noli.  I had spent the night at the Campground near Chestoa along the Nolichucky and waited for Knut R. from CCC who had posted on Friday looking for takers to run a trip.  Jim C.  had also responded and met up with us.  Knut, Jim, and myself all in K-1 set our own shuttle over in my van to the put in.  It was turning into a brilliant, beautiful day with decent late winter temps, though still a bit nippy,  not to mention the typical chilling late winter Noli water, so dress was still winter gear.

After shuttling over the mountain, gearing up, and setting off downstream,  we stopped and warmed up our skills for a few minutes at a little surf spot under the railroad bridge.  Then off down railroad/entrance rapid,  working back and forth, weaving the holes and diagonals, then cutting around the midstream boulder and ferrying back far left to catch eddies, then play the run out and hydraulics at the bottom. (more…)

French Broad section 9 – Bernard to Stackhouse

13546Saturday, March 21, 2009 brought an opportunity to paddle with several people from TRR (Triad River Runners).  Joining the group where Bob & Connie, Leanne, Mike H. and a couple of others in k-1 as well as myself in k-1.  It was looking to be a nice late winter day,  sunny but still a bit chilly, so dry suit and tops where the order of the day particularly as water temps where still cold. 

French Broad 9 – know locally as the “whitewater section” of the French Broad is run either in entirety from Benard to Hot Springs or a shortened run from ending at Stackhouse.  As it was still winter with short days plus chilly air and water we elected to run to Stackhouse.   We had plenty of water, though a modest to medium level. (more…)

Nolichucky 3/7 & 3/8 2009 – The rains arrive

13540Well, seems like it had been a long slow winter with limited rains.  March arrived and things where starting to pick up for 2009 at last.  Rains arrived enough to bring the Nolichuchy Gorge between Poplar NC and Chestoa Tenn up to good runnable levels with enought flow to provide a two day event for John H.-OC1, James C.-OC1, Bill H. K-1, Mick S. K-1 and myself in K-1.   Not only did we get a rain event but temps warmed into the high 50’s to low 60’s after some very cold winter,  though water in gorge was downright cold. (more…)

Wilson Creek Gorge – Dec. 20th, 2008 w/SRVCC

12439Well, the rains finally came after a long dry summer and fall, and after several days of rain,  many of the regional runs including Wilson Creek have begun to hold water for few days at a time now.  So Sat. morning Dec. 20th,  I was looking to paddle and contacted John H. about a Wilson Creek trip for SRVCC, and John welcomed me to join.

Meeting up with the SRVCC group which had John H. OC-1,  Mike C. K-1, Marc K-1, Mercer, Mick K-1, plus myself (Paddlin-ed) K-1.  John was our only canoe and the rest of us where in creeking kayaks.  Richard H. had come intending to run but did not feel well and so opted to do some pictures and shuttle for the group.  The Akado bridge gauge read about -5″ at 11am (-6 by the time I left at 4pm that evening).  This is modest but decent level,  enough that there is little scrapping and key boofs are still adequately covered and good for taking 1st timers with reduced push to the flow.  The day was cool with temps in the high 50’s to mid 60’s through the afternoon.  Overcast at times with an occasional sprinkle of rain, and occasionally sunny.  Over all a nice day with doable water for late fall/winter run.

After getting shuttle set John H. informed me, I would be leading as I knew the creek with many runs and several years on doing it., followed next by John with 3 runs.  I had introduced John the previous year during Christmas week to the gorge and he had done well.  There was at one or two more in the group that had each done one run in the past and three “Newbie’s” ready for a 1st run initiation to the gorge. (more…)

Ocoee – Nov. 2nd, 2008

10178With dam release season ending and little natural flow,  I headed to the Ocoee from running the last release of ’08 at the Cheoah the day before to catch the Ocoee’s last scheduled release of ’08 on Sunday Nov. 2nd.  I arrived thinking I would most likely find a friend or two around,  but with no one I knew in sight,  I started sizing up groups getting ready and approached a group with a mix of  TSRA paddlers out of the Murfreesboro Tenn. area and some AP’s out of Alabama, who allowed me to join for their run.

It was a brilliant sunny day,  temps a bit cooler in the low 60’s but quite comfortable.  Plenty of follow,  a fairly good release.  It was a nice run with good company, a very friendly group and with this group taking a couple of 1st timers down I had time to run ahead a bit and get some pictures, and play/work the rapids and features along the way. (more…)

Cheoah Nov. 1, 2008

Last release of the year for this wonderful run, came around this year a welcomed time.  Aft29er a dry summer and fall,  getting a end of season run in on the dam released Cheoah was great.  While the day started out on the cold side by 11 or so when we put on it had warmed up nicely into the 60’s with a good bit of the day in the sun with occasional clouds.  I met up with Darron P.,  plus Ana and Drew where in from Colorado for their first run on the Cheoah.  Level was excellent at 1,1oo+ cfs.

So Ana and Drew could get the a look at the whole run we put in at the FS put-in just below the dam.  While there is not a lot on this section down to the normal put in around the store and O’Henry’s,  it is a nice warm up.  The upper section does have one nice ledge with a healthy hydraulic to be mindful of.  One we pass O’Henry’s of course things picked up quickly. (more…)

Sun. Oct. 19, 2008 – Upper Russell Fork

12192After a cold night at the Campground (Breaks Interstate Park) and breakfast at the park lodge,  I was down to the “Garden Hole” takeout to meet Jason B. and others from SW Va. for another run at the Upper Russell Fork except today I was doing a demo boat run.   Once all arrived our group of 9 paddlers included,   Jason B. k-1, Chuck R. k-1, Gene C. k-1, John A. k-1, Terri A. k-1, Brandon D. k-1, Micheal B. k-1, Dan P. oc-1, and myself-Paddlin-ed in k-1.  After making quick work of our shuttle and dressing out,  we where off on the river putting in at the Flannigan Dam Release pool on the Pound River.12013

Along the 2 miles or so of the Pound River down to the confluence with the Russell Fork,  our group spent time at some of the nice play waves and holes along this section.  Myself I was working on getting use to the feel of the Scud demo boat I giving a try.   Down past the confluence on the Russell Fork we dropped the tongue down the rock outcrop in the dam at Bartlett.  Below there we all worked the play waves and hydraulic lines for some surfing fun. (more…)

Upper Russell Fork – Saturday Oct 18, 2008

11851October for paddlers in the SE is Russell Fork release season.  For four weeks each October the Flannigan Reservoir on the Pound river releases to drop to winter levels for flood control.  Put in for the upper Russell Fork is at the release pool on the Pound which after a mile or two flows into the actual Russell Fork river at Bartlet Va. and combines with the natural flow to provide around 700+cfs of flow for three weekends, and then 1000+cfs for the fourth weekend.   Paddlers can choose the upper, which begins on the Pound below the dam to the confluence with the Russell Fork proper and then down to the upper takeout at “The Garden Hole”. 

This is an absolutely beautiful fall run,  with magnificent fall foliage set along the river flowing through mountains along the Va. and Kentucky border, along spectacular cliffs and rock formations.  The upper section of the run is 1-2 with some nice surf spots.  The 2nd half just a little ways below Bartlet is 2-3+ with some very nice technical rapids down through a gorge area that is both fun whitewater and spectacular for its scenery. (more…)

Wilson Creek Gorge – Sat. 9/28/08

394Saturday 9/28/08 arrived with rains over the last day and a half or so, spun off from remnants of hurricanes.  By early morning the Wilson gauge was on the move up, and the rain gauges indicated more was about to come down the watershed.  Eddie C. k-1, Gary M. k-1, Darron P. k-1 and myself, Paddlin-ed in k-1 all showed up to run this wonderful creek run and we where not disappointed, but delighted with a initial level between +1 and 0″.  At this level there plenty of flow.  The day was a bit cloudy with occasional showers and temps in the high 60’s to low 70’s.  Water was clear and clean and cool but not cold.

Eddie and Gary had already gotten in one run when Darron and I arrived.  Darron was doing a demo run on a Blisstick-Scud.  We quickly loaded up with Eddie and Gary and headed to the put in.  It was great to be back on Wilson Creek and the level was really nice.  At this level the boulder clog entrance to 10′ falls is a bit friendlier which I find one of the stickiest places to get through.  This level lets you make the move around the rock at the top and hit a slot a little left of the very tight slot you have to run at lower levels, which is tough to swing into  in a big creek boat.  (more…)

Upper Gauley 9/20/08

11644After a warm up of the Lower  Gauley on Friday,  I was looking forward to getting a run in on the Upper Gauley, and was joined by Darron P. k-1,  Gif. G. c-1, Joey k-1, Justin in k-1 and a buddie of his in k-1, plus Stuart S. k-1.  Stuart was nice enough to lead our group.  While several of us had done the river a couple of times previously,  we where glad to have Stuart along who knew the river well.  On this run there are places in certain rapids you do not want to be  and having someone along with enough runs to know where these places are is a healthy thing.

Once gear was dropped and shuttle done we where off downstream with sunny blue skies, temps into the mid 70’s, and a flow of 2,800cfs.  Warm up here mostly consists of running the first half mile plus, working the current, and smaller rapids down to “Initiation”, which is one  of those places you want to know where not to be.  This rapid has a serious pinning spot on river right and is easily avoided by running the left side of the drop, the key here is to know when your above it and need to move to left.  Stuart made sure we all knew “Initiation” was below up and lead our group well left of the hazard. (more…)