Kibler Valley, Virginia
7/22/09 - Below is one of my very early trip reports. This was probably my fifth kayaking trip and the second in my Dagger Element. We started in August of that year paddling rented rec boats on lower sections of the Dan. I get a big kick out of looking back at trips like this, where we wore fleece in December and no helmets. The fun I had running Basketball Falls in my big green rec boat that afternoon is what eventually led me down the white-water trail I'm still on today.
December 31, 2004
Jeff and I had planned on hitting some flat water in Cana, but when the weatherman said sixty degrees we just had to change our plans. I've ran the Dan through Kibler Valley more times than I can remember, but always in a canoe and not in the last eleven years, so I couldn't wait to try it out in my new kayak. We put in at our friend Martin's river house about 1.25 miles below the hydro plant and ran a stretch of the Dan River's head waters that make up the bottom 2.5 miles of the Kibler Valley River Run. A few good falls, mostly Class II and Class I the whole way. Not enough water to float over all the sections, but you could bang your way through if you had too. When we finished that leg we decided to run the upper portion. We were still warm and dry, plus everything had went really smooth so far. So we shuttled up to the basketball courts just below the hydro plant and put in there. That allowed me to put in just above Basketball Falls and Jeff to put in below the upper portion and still get to run the lower half. I managed to stay dry through Basketball Falls even though the skirt popped off the rear of the cockpit just before I hit it. I then found out that the camera's batteries died while Jeff filmed my run, so I had no choice but to press my luck and run it one more time. The second run wasn't as clean, I was backwards above the falls and had to use a rock to turn me just in time to setup the line. I again stayed dry and was pumped up for the rest of the trip. The skirt problem nagged me in a couple of other rough spots and we later decided that the high seat back would have to go before we hit whitewater again. The final run was right at one mile and it was all new to Jeff. He was in his new 11.5 Blackwater and left me behind as I kept getting hung up on the rocks. The water was perfect and we pushed through in great time. It was an incredible day and fantastic weather for December.
River Depth at Francisco gauge = 1.83 feet Discharge = 226 cubic feet per second
You can watch a short film from the December 2004 Paddle On The Dan In Kibler Valley (4.8MB)