3.27.2007

Had a great weekend of paddling. I tied in with Chris, Matt, Sharon, and Jordan of the Hoosier Canoe Club and headed out to West Virginia to do some creekboating. Sharron, Jordan and I actually had an early start (even loaded the boats in daylight, Amazing!) and drove out, rolling into the campground around 2. The next morning we looked at running the Upper or Middle Meadow, but it was low. After grabbing breakfast in a great little cafe in Fredricksburg we checked levels and noticed the Buckhannon was running. We drove a couple hours north, figured out the put-in and take out (in Seago, where they had that mining disaster a year or so ago) and paddled the river. The run was full of nice class III boulder beds (photos below) with maybe a couple that pushed into the IV- range. Sharon had a couple little swims, but it was a pleasant day and a nice little run, and was a good way to break in my new creeker.

After dinner and a somewhat frantic search for a campground, we found safe harbor at the Stonewall Jackson state park, where we were treated to a wonderful little tent site with a wodden platform for tents and a nice little fire pit down by the lake. We called our web bunnies to feed us level and run information from AW over the phone, had a cheery little fire, and then crashed.

Sunday brought on the Middle Fork of the Tygart and a section of the Tygart Gorge. The Middle Fork had a lot of water in it, and after a quick shuttle we were into it. Sharon had a swim on the first rapid we scouted and didn't feel like her head was in the game. She considered walking out, but was talked out of it. As we dropped further into the run things became steeper and more continuious. It was by far my favorite type of boating, class III+/IV boat-scoutable boulder gardens. We scouted a few drops, but for the most part I stayed in my boat, caught eddies on the way down and probed the rapids. The rapids were wonderful, tight, technical, but not real scary (aside from one house-sized undercut at the bottom of a rapid). If there would have been a couple walkable big V-ish drops it would have been my ideal river. Sharon had a bit of a tough time, taking a few swims and getting knocked around some.

We eventually got to the mouth of the river where it fed into the Tygart, which was running with big, muddy water. Some big water class III followed until we got to S turn, which we scouted. Sharon hiked it and Shoulder Snapper, just downstream, since she was a bit shaken. The rest of us ran 'em both, punching through holes and big haystack waves. The smaller creekboats got slapped around by waves some, but I had finally dialed in the Nomad and once I put it onto a line I was able to stick to it. I was real happy with the boat. Sharon had another swim after following Jordan right into the largest hole on the river (though she surfed it for just long enough to realize it wasn't going to be fun to get out of). A little further downstream we noticed a couple by the side of the river. Our conversation went something like this:

me: "I wonder if we're interrupting an intimate moment"
matt: "nah"
*we get closer*
me: "Uh... they're definately making out." *beat* "And she's not wearing any pants"

Matt, Chris, and I floated by without the couple noticing us, almost dropping into a pourover unawares as a result. Jordan, the last boater in our group, shouted "yoo hoo!" Then a scramble to pull on clothes ensued.

I love good river scenery.

After one more dip in the water to cool off and a few more big rapids, we made it to the take-out and hiked the tracks to the cars. It was a long river day; we probably spent 6 or 6.5 hours on the water, but it was a great day on a great river. I didn't get home until 3:30 on monday morning, but it was definately worth every lost hour of sleep.



Chris on the Buckhannon


Jordan

Matt

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