May 31, 2010
(All photos of Delane are courtesy of GK and Tommy! Thanks guys)
Dropped my boat at the BF put-in in Glasgow at 10:45, locking
it in the middle of a crowd big enough to fill a public swimming pool. Hopped
over to the take-out to meet Bev and Tommy, got back to the put-in and in the
water around 11:30-11:40. The crowd just kept growing. Lots of folks
enjoying the river on a nice, hot Memorial Day. By the time we finished the
run, cars were parked almost all the way out to the main road. While gearing
up, I stumbled into a conversation with someone who turned out to be G K, a
fellow photo bug and facebook friend from the Roanoke area. Bev knew his
paddling partner Steve, so we all paddled together for the duration of the run.
Many of the photos of me above were taken by G K. The others were taken by
Tommy using my camera at one of the little playspots near the end of the run.
We had only went as far as the confluence with the James when the whole group
was pulled into the swift water rescue of a cooler full of beer that a couple of
guys lost when their canoe flipped on the first rapid. It was sort of like
wrangling rubber ducks at the end of a duckie regatta, thus the pic of Steve
putting beers into a cooler on his C1's deck.
With total time on the road equaling 5 hours, my plan was to play all I could while on the river. I didn't want to leave and then think, you know, I wish I had stayed in that one feature a little longer, because you never know, it might take me two years to get back to it. So with that in mind, I paddled back into each play spot until I had either accomplished what I was trying to do or until I had simply had enough of it. I also spent a lot of time trying to knock the rust off my stern squirts and managed to knock a little skin off my knuckles in the process. Awesome, hot weather, just perfect for spending time upside down in the river. I enjoyed seeing the different types of folks that float Balcony. Fly fishermen, tube flotillas, canoes, rec boats, play boats, you name it. My two favorite spots were between Balcony Falls and Jump Rock. One feature on river right was nice, deep, smooth and had an easy sneak into it from an eddy behind a rock in the middle of the river. Then right before Jump Rock there was an almost river wide hydraulic that was a really fun place to ride some nice munchy side surfs. Then below Jump Rock there was a nice little feature on river right that everyone took turns surfing. A lot of the photos from above were taken here. GK posted his photos on the Creek Freaks website.
It was nice meeting GK and Steve, always fun paddling with Bev and Tommy, who were the guys I paddled with the only other time I've been on Balcony. I managed to tire myself out completely (not really that hard of a thing to do) and left the river content that I had nothing left. I was on the road by 3, stopping briefly to grab a burger and ice cream bar from the joint across the street from the put-in. As Tommy said, it was a nice way to spend a Monday.
February 23, 2008
I sat my boat down on the bank of the Maury and pulled out my lunch. Bev and I had already unloaded our gear and dressed for the river and now Bev was driving to Snowden to meet Tom at the take-out. As I sat there eating my PB&J, I spent most of my time either watching the trains pass by or trying to decide whether or not I would seal launch off the bank. By the time Bev and Tom got back, I had talked myself into the launch. So I skirted up and pushed off, flew down into the water, went under, went over and rolled up. It was a fun and exciting way to start the day. It definitely got my heart racing, scared the *#&# out of me in fact, but it also got the first roll out of the way.
Bev and I met in Martinsville that morning at 10 and arrived in Glasgow sometime before noon. We probably hit the river somewhere around 12:30. The first rapid was in sight of the put-in at the confluence with the James. It was bigger than I expected with nice waves at the bottom and made for a great way to start the paddle. When the wind blew and the clouds blocked the sun, it would get pretty chilly, but when the wind died down and the sun came out, it got a lot nicer. Luckily, the wind blew at our backs more often than not, of course that made the boats a little squirrelly from time to time. Tom and I both followed Bev's lines through almost all the ledges and rapids. Bev pointed out all the good play spots and I tried to play in all of them I could, usually until they threw me and I had to roll up. And it usually didn't take long for me to get thrown. I was having just the best time though and trying as many things as I could. There were far more playspots than I anticipated. Three other kayakers put in around the same time we did and we bumped into them from time to time on our way down the river.
I had trouble getting into the best rapid of the run, the one at Balcony Falls, and when I did get in it, I had trouble staying there. One of the other three boaters did some great surfing there though. I took out at the Balcony Falls rapid and snapped a few pics before heading on down stream with Tom and Bev. We took out just below Jump Rock for a snack, then finished up the day by making the most of all the remaining ledges. During that last stretch Bev gave me some tips on getting a stern squirt and I worked on that where I could. I probably had to roll as a result at least three times. So I spent much of my river time upside down on a cold February day, but I've got to say it again, I just had the best time. We were off the water at 3 o'clock and stopped at a pull-off on our way back to the put-in to take a few more photos. Great scenery, great water, great company, just a great day. I enjoyed talking with Bev on the ride up to Glasgow and again on the way back to Martinsville. It's nice getting to hear about all those creeks and rivers that I hope to paddle one day.
I look forward to paddling the Balcony Falls section of the James again. And I look forward to paddling some of the other rivers in the area as well, like the Maury.