New River Gorge
June 20, 2015
Cunard to Fayette Station .25
When I made this run in 08 I said I would be back to run it
soon and often. Well, somehow seven years passed before I made it back.
John Hall posted that he was going, things seemed to line up nicely for me to
spend a day on the river, so I hopped on board. With a call to my buddy
Ricky, he was in to. Ricky and I met John, Ed, Alison and Barrett at 8 in
Fancy Gap, then carpooled from there to the put-in. The four non-drivers
stayed there while the two vehicles went to the take-out, where they met John V
and Bill Hamill from Roanoke. Because we knew the shuttle would take at
least an hour and a half, Allison, Ricky and I hit the river to play while we
waited. There was a nice little eddy line just below the put-in where I
caught a few enders and stern squirts. We then surfed a ledge before going
down to the railroad rapid where I surfed in a couple of holes, getting stern
squirted out of both. I ate my PB&J and we settled in for the long wait.
When we saw the crew coming over the horizon line, we saw the rains coming right
along with them. The down pour was short lived and the day was pretty
awesome on all fronts. Everyone paddled well, the water felt great, the
weather was decent enough.
I didn't remember a lot from my first trip, so I relied on Ricky to again tell me where to go and/or not to go. I really liked Double Z and the Undercut rapid. I had fun surfing a few things along the way, but mostly just enjoyed running the rapids. The Jitsu caught air off of multiple waves, which made all the wave trains a lot of fun. Middle Keeney was fun, maybe a little more chaotic than I remembered from last time. I was pounded by enough water to not really see the line I was taking, so I just kept stroking till I was at the bottom, which is the experience I remember having in Lower Keeney last time. Allison and Barrett both went a little too left and hit the big hole. Allison made her roll mid-rapid, but Barrett had to make the quick re-entry mid-river before the Lower. Ricky and I hit the Lower ahead of the group. He entered on the left, then after skirting the big wave at the top, started working diagonally left to right. I found a nice green path all the way through that diagonal line that took me to tops of multiple cresting waves. The Jitsu would catch air, land in a deep trough, then ride up the next. When I crested the biggest one I thought "am I in the air?" My boat is white and I was trying to figure out if I was airborne or in the water when it landed with a big BOOF. That was my favorite moment of the day. I paddled back up to the base of the rapid to shoot some video of the rest of the crew. Everyone had clean runs, which was the story with almost all of the rapids. Fayette Station was a blast, the Jitsu again catching air off the waves. Just a fun day all the way around with a good crew of paddlers.
The North Carolina contingent stopped at One Ten Cafe on our way home for some great burgers. Then on 77, we were met with rainbow after rainbow, each one more brilliant than the one before. Quite a metaphorical way to end such a great day. We rolled into Mt Airy around 8pm that evening.
August 9, 2008
Cunard to Fayette Station -1
I had a blast on my first run through the New River Gorge. The water was low at -1, but after a Summer full of rocky Kibler runs, the waves and holes seemed big to me. My favorite rapids were Middle and Lower Keeney, those were a lot of fun. Ricky and I had planned on paddling the Pigeon, but found out on our way out of town that the release was cancelled, so we headed to West Virginia instead. At the put-in, Ricky spotted several friends of his. I believe there were thirteen kayakers total, including Jim and Jade Wei who were nice enough to shuttle us back to our vehicle following the run. Following a great day on the river, I enjoyed some great ribs and a cold pale ale at Dirty Ernie's with Ricky before heading back down the mountain.