Lower Gauley

River: Lower Gauley
Level: 2800 cfs
Paddlers: Me, Rich, Paul, Amy, John
Date: 24 Sep 07

Jeremy and others were running the Upper Gauley Animal Race, so we decided to run the Lower Gauly. Paul had run it once and the rest had never run it at all, so I was kind of appointed as the trip leader. I had never lead anyone down a river before.

After it taking me a while to remember the put-in, we finally got shuttle set up. Rich Paul and John were off to the take-out while we gathered gear. The hike down to the put in of the Lower Gauley is a bit of a steep go, with some rickety stairs. Luckily, one of the rafting companies busses was there and the driver offered Amy and I a ride down with all the boats. This was going to be fun! The guys would come back and think that Amy and I carried all the boats down for them! We through all the boats into the school bus and headed down to the river. When the guys came down they were psyched to see they didn’t have to carry their boats. Rich was thanking me for carrying his boat and I made a point of complaining how heavy it was!

We headed on down the river. There were only 2 rapids that I thought Amy should look at, the first one was Kuntz’s Flume at the beginning of the run, and the other was the last rapid of the day, Pure Screaming Hell. Yes, the one I knocked myself out on 2 years ago and had to be helivaced out. We looked at Kuntz’s and I showed the danger on the right. We headed down, played for a while on the assortment of waves, and then kept going.

I told Amy about Mash, how there’s a huge standing wave that you don’t see until the last minute and it will crash you. I couldn’t remember when Mash was coming up though, and when I saw it, it was too late to tell her. She went down, right into the face of the wave and got powerflipped! Awesome roll though, she was back up in a second like a pro!

Paul led us down a few little boofs and cracks. One that we did, Rich followed, and then me. I went over on a bad angle and got tooled for a few seconds in the pourover. My buddy Rich loves to see me get beat down and couldn’t stop pointing and laughing at me. Thanks a lot Rich!

The river is fun for all levels. When we got to Pure Screaming Hell, I wanted to get out and look at it. I was nervous. I had never actually seen the whole rapid, all other times we simply ran it blind. I expressed the importance of knowing where the dangers were on this rapid, and John and I took a close look, picking out our markers. The tricky part about this rapid, is it’s really not a big deal! It’s a class III rapid, but has class IV-V consequences. A ledge hydraulic on the left called Purgatory, and a huge munchy hole on the right called Hell Hole. There is also a huge rock sieve on the right side. I went second and followed my markers through. It was a piece of cake!

When we got to the take-out, I was relieved. It’s about a 2 mile flatwater paddle after PSH to the take-out. Lucky for us, our cars weren’t at the take-out but at another parking lot a mile downstream!

On the way back to the put-in, I found out that Amy couldn’t tell a lie to Paul and had told him the truth about bringing the boats down the hill in a raft bus. Rich didn’t think I was so cool anymore when he found out!

It was a great day on the river for all of us.

Back up at the Animal Race, Jeremy finished 2nd place in the Speeder class (11 seconds behind teammate Jared Seiler) and 5th place overall.

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