New River Gorge

June 20, 2015
Cunard to Fayette Station  .25

     

When I made this run in 08 with my friend Ricky, I said I would be back to run it soon and often.  Well, somehow seven years passed before I made it back. When my buddy John H posted that he was going and I saw my schedule was clear, I hopped right on board.  I made a quick call to my old friend Ricky and he was on board as well.  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.  One note about the put-in, those might be the ripest bathrooms I have ever ran across, Class V experience for sure.  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 nearby 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 on the river bank and we settled in for the long wait.  When we saw the crew coming over the horizon line, we also 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 did not 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.  Blind luck that I didn't hit the hole that Allison and Barrett dropped in to.  Allison made her roll mid-rapid, but Barrett had to make the quick re-entry mid-river before the Lower. Ricky and I hit Lower Keeney 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.  7 years ago all I saw was foamy water in my face in this rapid.  This time I got to enjoy seeing the size of the waves as I hit them.  The Jitsu would catch air, land in a deep trough, then ride up the next.  When I crested the biggest one I was completely airborne.  Landing that boof mid-rapid 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.

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