Oh Gauley…the New is new

Bud and I at our best.

It was a packed weekend in WV. I had the pleasure of paddle the Upper Gauley yet again! This time the water was not at the release stage, but the characteristics of the rapids (for the most part) had not changed. After Bud and I completely wrecked the yellow catayak we found another one! So with our new boat we picked up in the morning, we all geared up for the river.

While setting up shuttle I saw only one other group getting on the water. There were about four boaters, one of the guys came over to me, explaining that he hasn’t seen a boat like the catayak in years. “But the last time I saw one was on the Russell Fork, and it was yellow….” I glanced with a big smile and joy in my eyes. I said well, that was me and my paddling buddy. He looked at me in unbelief, proceeding to tell me that watching us at Fist was quite a show and he had never seen anything like it.

All the rapids we ran with no problem. As we came up to Sweets Falls Bud and I were both confident of the line, considering we had ran it before with no problem. Well, the boat was a little too far left and with a blink of an eye Bud sucked out of the boat. It so fast, I didn’t even realize it until 20 ft. after the rapid. The Sweets ate his lunch. And I came out victorious….laughing I paddled over to him. I didn’t let him forget how he backflipped out of the boat for the remainder of the day.

Class IV Lower Keaney Rapid, The New River

The next day we suited up for the New River. This would be my first time on the New and I was pretty stoked. The trip was wonderful. Bud taught me so much about reading water. Downstream and upstream V’s, tongues, horizon lines…you name it I was calling it out. I had never been on a river without seeing any other boaters until that morning. The river was quiet; a cold silence that was strangely soothing.

Between the quarter mile lake paddle between rapids, Bud and I would talk and laugh about past memories. Just the faint running water ahead and the slosh of the blade in the water was all that could be heard over the laughter.

The famous bridge!

The middle of the river was my favorite part because the rapids were not as far apart from each other. After getting off the river we headed back home for Western NC. What a wonderful weekend it was…I know there will be more to come.


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