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Let it rain all night so we can boat all day!

Posted by MikesAllWet 
Let it rain all night so we can boat all day!
January 22, 2017 08:21PM
Viper doppelganger accu-cast-stormcenter radar shows rain down south. Where are we paddling tomorrow?!
Re: Let it rain all night so we can boat all day!
January 22, 2017 08:57PM
I'm going to grind some night moves and meet Brent in his captain's quarters at 7am. Paddling the Little and whatever else is flowing. The bus leaves at aprox. 3am from my brothel where Liberty meets Fortune ave. If you can meet tonight, i have a bed for you to sleep in until go time. Hit me up 502-fiddyfive4-8489.
Re: Let it rain all night so we can boat all day!
January 24, 2017 11:59PM
So I left yesterday at 3am, made it down to nippur and met Brent some buddies at 7am, made plans to hit the Greenbrier, hike up Elkmont, then Tremont. GB was at 2.7 to 3.3ft, perfect 9am warm up, great personal first descent! Greenbrier is definately an amazing and beautiful class 4 run at that flow and I can't wait to get back! After that, Sunny and I met Tom Z. at the takeout and we drove to the hike up section of the Elkmont where what I thought was be a 1.5 mile hike was actually a 3+ mile hike up this neverending access road running right by the river. At 4ft the class 3/4 run becomes class 4+ due to the strainers and constant flow with a lack of eddys. I was the last to complete the grueling hike in by about 15 minutes so that gave them plenty of time to cool off. We put on at 1pm and had big CARNAGE by 1:20. Witnessed our friend falling into a hole sideways in his Mullet and he fought his way out straight into a strainer. He jumped out of his yak, climbed to shore but yardsaled everything! After seeing that he was safe, we chased the runaway boat for a good half mile, dodging holes and wood as fast and best we could, blasting down with the fury of a million killer bees. The runaway boat smashed through a downed pine tree that I paddled to the other side of thinking it would either hold the boat or I could catch it on the other side. That pine tree with all its thorn like branches became hell bent with twisted intent on keeping me from pushing the 600lb waterlogged boat to shore. I took a few jabs and blocked a couple of punches from that nasty pine before falling back a bit. Fearing for our own safety, Tom and I had to back off and let the boat disappear into the downstream darkness. We gave it all the fight we could.

After relaying the bad news to our friend, we continued with our run only to have more trouble. About a quarter of a mile down, we spotted a tricky rapid with a strainer in the main channel and a difficult hole that we had to punch on the other side. My other crewmate made the hairy ferry above the strainer but was tossed hard in the wrong direction by the hydraulic. I was upstream when he became pinned against a rock in the middle of a class 4 rapid, losing his paddle and having to jump onto the rock to save himself from further beatering. I was upstream and in no position to throw him a rope from where I was at but I was ready to rampage if he had a slip. He was able to pull his broached kayak onto the rock and we worked our way to shore where we somewhat agreed that the river had us cornered and our safest bet was to hike 2+ miles back to the car. Thankfully, the only injuries to report were to their egos. Who needs that anyways?

Made it back to Lexington by midnight and made it to work this morning. That is how I daytrip!
Re: Let it rain all night so we can boat all day!
January 25, 2017 07:11AM
Mike,
Glad you are OK. Crazy adventure.

Joe W.
Re: Let it rain all night so we can boat all day!
January 25, 2017 09:24AM
And back to work today. Now that is true carnage.

Dallas

Tattooed and Employed
Re: Let it rain all night so we can boat all day!
January 25, 2017 03:13PM
Yo Mike, awesome TR! That's the motivation I like to see, gets me fired up just reading about it. I'll tell ya, when the Park has water, there's not another place in the entire Southeast I'd rather be. It's especially good when Big Creek gets up or over 4', Greenbrier gets up to or over 3' and the Little goes over 4' which is what happened for you guys it appears. Those levels during winter months usually guarantee you get 3-5 days of good boating as levels come down. I saw Big Creek was at 2.7' this morning which is the primo level for the Upper hike up. Anytime you have to hike your shuttle to work for the goods, it gives you an extra sense of accomplishment which makes the beer taste ever sweeter at the takeout. Props for getting on that hike up Elkmont section. Not sure if you checked it out while you were there but if you take the road up to the trailhead for Ramsey Cascades and put in right there, you get probably the most action packed 1 mile of Class IV+ there is anywhere around. Drops 300 feet in that mile, same as the Green Narrows but without a Gorilla or a Go Left. It woulda probably been at the perfect level on Monday. Hope to get out there with y'all sometime in '17.

Clay



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/25/2017 03:15PM by clay_Warren.
Re: Let it rain all night so we can boat all day!
January 25, 2017 04:54PM
Mullet and paddle were recovered last night by Brent Sammy and Eric after we had a couple of fun laps on Greenbrier. However later John Flunker lost his 2 month old paddle in first rapid of Greenbrier. We did a low but still kinda fun lap (1.7) there this this morning but couldn't find it. Then we went over to the Little for a fun lap at around 3 ft. There is an almost riverwide log in the entrance to the Sinks that was covered enough to float over it. It was a bit less covered after the run. There is a 3 ft gap between it and the left rock so you can sneak around the end and get back on line for the drop. Fun 2 days for me and great weather for Jan!

Wes
Re: Let it rain all night so we can boat all day!
January 26, 2017 08:40AM
While we're on the subject, be careful about scooching over barely submerged logs. (Wes knows this as we've discussed it, this is a general FYI for new and new-ish boaters in the club).

There is this thing that happens on a barely submerged log where, because virtually all the water is going underneath it, if you stall just a little on your scooch your stern will dive much easier than you would expect and water piles up on it very fast. You can end up backendering and then pinning or getting sucked under. It's really a lot stronger than most boaters expect, so just take heed.

...also leave some heed, I'll need some for later.

_

Hanley Loller


"It's plum amazing what you can do when you damn well got no choice."
--Rickie Dale Larson
Re: Let it rain all night so we can boat all day!
January 26, 2017 12:14PM
Hanley makes a great point. Yesterday on our run it was covered enough I barely felt it. Also all but one of us were in creekers. Stearn volume/design and rocker all factor into what happens when you cross a partially submerged log. Sammy was in a Mullet but is an experienced boaters so I'm hoping he considered the risks. I learned of this effect first hand on Boone Creek in my playboat crossing a log in minimal current. Stearn got sucked down and I pinned. Luckily it was in a benign spot and flow was minimal so it was an easy spot to climb out. The entrance to Sinks would be a heinous spot for this to happen. Lots of folks are experimenting with creeking with squirt tail boats. IMO they add considerable safety risks to creeking runs and I'm hoping boaters are fully considering these risks

Wes
Re: Let it rain all night so we can boat all day!
January 26, 2017 12:53PM
Thank you Hanley and Wes, ignorance can lead to bad accidents on the water. What seems like common sense to seasoned boaters might not be to new boaters so even if it has been said before, there's never any harm in saying it again. Keep that good wisdom flowing!
Re: Let it rain all night so we can boat all day!
January 26, 2017 12:58PM
Also, I'll add that while Wes is right about low volume sterns, this can happen amazingly easy with a high volume stern too. I pinned my original Corsica, a huge boat with a big, high-volume stern this way once (although to be fair, the rocker on this boat left much to be desired). Like Wes's story, it was in a relatively benign area, water less than two feet deep. Nonetheless, I was pinned with the log partially blocking my cockpit and the water trying to pull boat and all under it. Fortunately a buddy waded out to me and gave me an assist.

Tag Wes, you're it.

_

Hanley Loller


"It's plum amazing what you can do when you damn well got no choice."
--Rickie Dale Larson
Ace
Re: Let it rain all night so we can boat all day!
January 27, 2017 10:25AM
Clay,
Big Creek was slightly under 4' on Tuesday but still kicked my butt. Luckily I showed up to the takeout early and generated some river karma - helped with two boat rescues when I saw unmanned kayaks floating by (should've known then I was in for trouble), and helped some folks from Asheville shuttle up (one of which roped me across the creek later when I got stranded on the wrong side lol).
Then John & Justin had mercy on me and we went over to Greenbriar which is more congruent with my skill set. We had a great run there other than John managed to lose a new paddle and I managed to miss a roll that should have been embarrassingly easy. The Smokies are definitely a lot of fun, I hope to get back soon
Re: Let it rain all night so we can boat all day!
January 27, 2017 12:07PM
"I managed to miss a roll that should have been embarrassingly easy..."

Roll session tonight. It's not just for new paddlers.

Come tune up your roll, hit 50 or 100, dial in your ambidextrous roll and handroll, then come have a beer with us at Ramsey's.

_

Hanley Loller


"It's plum amazing what you can do when you damn well got no choice."
--Rickie Dale Larson
Re: Let it rain all night so we can boat all day!
January 27, 2017 02:35PM
It has been a great week indeed! I took the day off today even though there is still a good flow in the Little. It should be running tomorrow and maybe even on Sunday.

So, the rain I have been waiting for, finally came on Sunday night and all day on Monday. Sammy Muller and Eric HF came in Sunday night and we were joined by Magic Mike at 7 a.m. Monday morning. We went to Greenbrier first that morning and the river gauge read about 2.7 as we drove up. It was rising, clearly and the rain continued. By the time we put on and paddled down, we were on a flow of approximately 3'. That is a pretty chunky level. I flipped in the top quarter mile, (and Hanley will be pleased because these days I do a practice roll or three every time I get on the water) and busted out a solid roll in the middle of chaos. Cruising down to the bottom, we met up with Chief. He and I decided to head over to paddle big creek which was already over 4' and rising. Sammy, Tom Z and Magic Mike headed off to do the hike up Elkmont. I demurred because I don't like getting on high water that is rising in the Park. Sammy and Tom are solid Class V paddlers and I felt that Mike would be ok with them. Anyway, they had some chaos and lost some gear. I believe at the level they were on and rising, the run had become Class Vish. Anyway, I made a post on BT about lost gear, NPS was notified and Sammy described the event there: [boatertalk.com]

The next day, we had a reasonable set of fast laps on the Greenbrier in the morning as it dropped to 2.4 for our first run around 11:45 and then to 2.2 for our second lap. I did not go to Big Creek on Tuesday and am actually surprised to hear it was still near 4' on Tuesday from one of the posts above and having seen the level at Greenbrier. I would have suspected it to be close to 3'. Anyway, after that, we went to go look for Sammy's boat while the Little had dropped to 3.5 in the afternoon. By dark we had found his boat and his paddle, without any damage to speak of. Good juju with that brother as the river Gods took good care of him. The place where he got pinned was a very dicey log jam and super sketchy. He is quite fortunate!

Then on Wednesday, we went to the Greenbrier running 1.7 to look for Flunker's paddle, and then went over to paddle the Little and it was running about 3' as Wes described above. My favorite level for the Little. The log Wes described at the Sinks is not really an issue at that level. And yes, Sammy is a solid Class V+ paddler with decades of experience in slicey boats. I used to paddle the Sleek (an old school slicey boat) all over creation in the 90s, raced the Russell Fork and Gore Canyon in mine and I think it is super cool to see slicey boats come back. There are advantages and disadvantages for sure with a slicey stern, including with safety. Anyway, a great day and we all had good lines on a beautiful river, with super clean water and temperatures approaching 70 degrees. Check out the attached photos...

See you on a river soon.

Brent



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/27/2017 05:57PM by brentaustin.
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Re: Let it rain all night so we can boat all day!
January 27, 2017 07:51PM
Good trip report Brent!

I bailed on running lower Big Creek Monday when it was 4 ft and rising... peaked at over 5ft that day. Ended up paddling a high water run of the Elkmont from the campground to ?? with John, which has a solid class IV section at that level. Good times, plus BC and GB at more moderate flows Tuesday!

Getting pinned in your boat under a log is a major situation, and one that I've known a few other solid paddlers to have experienced. Good scenario to always keep in mind on SE creeks and perhaps prepare for in a SWR class!

JM
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