North Fork of the Mayo River
Moores Mill Road on the North Fork to Anglin Mill Loop Road
March 11, 2007
1.78 ft 320 cfs
The only person from SRVCC that I knew would be meeting my friend Jeff and I at the Boiling Hole was Sammy. So we were pleased to find Cat, Eric, Bob, and Joe waiting for us too. Dale's friend Ed pulled up next and told us that Dale and his son Joey would be making the Sunday morning paddle on the North Fork as well, but were running late thanks to this year's earlier Daylight Savings Time. We saw Dale briefly at the put-in and he caught up a little further downstream. I had paddled with Sammy and Cat last August on the New River and had paddled with Joe on New Year's Day. I knew Dale from seeing him on the river and from rolling sessions in Mount Airy. I knew Bob's name well from the SRVCC message board, but it was my first time meeting him, as well as Eric and Ed. It was a great group and made for a very enjoyable paddle.
My first impression of the Mayo was that it's very comparable to the Dan River in size and flow, not quite as scenic, but the drops were a little bigger and better. The weather was awesome and the river was at a decent level, especially for a first time trip. I didn't drag anywhere and only had to search for water at the ledges above the Anglin Mill bridge. At Sliding Board, we sent Jeff ahead with my camera so that he could snap the photos below.
The only person Jeff missed was Joe because he started to put the camera up when Bob momentarily got caught on his side. From Jeff's angle he couldn't see anything but the bottom of Bob's boat and didn't know that he was out of the water. After Bob righted himself, Jeff pulled the camera back out to snap photos of everyone else.
The next opportunity to take photos was at Lunch Stop. I took the photos below of everyone playing after our break, before we moved on down to the confluence. Cat and Eric's boats seemed to get the most play out of the rapid.
After watching Joe make several practice rolls, I finally decided to try my new roll out on the river too, just to check the water temp. It worked fine, but after five weeks of rolling in a heated pool, the river was COLD. Right before the Boiling Hole I pulled up next to Jeff so that I could unclip my pelican box from his canoe. When I looked back up at the river, I realized that everyone else had already ran the rapid and I didn't get to see what line they took. The only thing I had to go on was Sammy's earlier advice of aiming for the middle of the V and "paddle, paddle, paddle." I was looking for the V at the bottom of the rapid, I now know what he was talking about, but at the time couldn't figure it out. But I did remember to paddle, paddle, paddle and everything went smooth. And fun. I watched through the camera lens as Jeff made his first ever run of the Boiling Hole and listened to Sammy yelling for him to "Paddle, Paddle, Paddle!" Jeff didn't figure out the V thing either and came in too far to one side, which resulted in a big swim. Dale was on shore and hit Jeff perfectly with a throw rope. I of course kept snapping pics while everyone else caught his boat, then tied it to the rope.
Nothing was left but the S turn. I watched as Sammy, Cat, Joe, Bob and Eric all flew through the turn before making my way in. As I came out of the turn I started to go over, but tried to delay it long enough to find a good spot to roll. After what seemed like forever, it finally dawned on me that if I hadn't gone over yet, maybe I wasn't going to. And sure enough, somehow I stayed upright. That was it, a nice warm Sunday morning spent on the water.