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Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6

Posted by brentaustin 
Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
April 23, 2012 07:57PM
Thought I would start a WoR thread to post to regarding plans, runs, whereabouts and whatnots.

Right now, we have the biggest gaggle of river gypsies on a WoR, ever. That being said, we have some idea but no firm idea of what we are going to be paddling. That is usual. West Virginia is getting primed, the north (Albright and Friendsville) is getting water now and more coming to the center of the State this week and weekend. While we are starting south and paddling either the Cheoah on Saturday or hope for the Watauga, it appears the best move will be to head north pronto. Generally we stop by the RF on our way up, but it may depend on the best water being where. My guess is that if it is over 5-600 we will hit the RF on Sunday, but heck, we might just head on up to WV.

Hope to bump into some of the rest of you at the Cheat Fest or elsewhere. Stay tuned for news from the traveling band of River Gypsies right here.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/23/2012 08:02PM by brentaustin.
Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
April 23, 2012 09:11PM
Go figure...most of the water looks to be north, and I'm in the Smokies area all week with the girlfriend. I was hoping to catch you guys on Cheoah this Sunday and head back to Gatlinburg that night. I would curse and rant at the rain gods but the forum bots would just make it PG rated and not as interesting to read. Damn filters! Poop.

Ill have a boat loaded, heading to the Noli Saturday and just north of Gatlinburg will be home base for the next 7 days. Ill be checking in with y'all. I think Dollywood has a water park, but if they still have that height limit for the big slides like they used to at Kings Island, then I'm screwed.

Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
April 24, 2012 08:22PM
Who knows Brandon, I see the Watauga still has 246 in it, a runnable level, and if there is more rain, it may well be there on Saturday. I suspect if that were the case, we will be there instead of the Cheoah. And, maybe could party with ya'll Saturday night for Dot's Birthday party. Who knows what the weather blows?

One thing I do know: I just can't wait to go boat for 8 or 9 days in a row with a bunch of my friends. Can't wait. Now, back to brief writing and furrowed brows.

Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
April 25, 2012 01:04AM
Extended forecast is looking pretty good for y'all through the week. I'll be paddling somewhere this weekend, not completely sure where, but will most certainly be hookin up at CheatFest! Unfortunately work will once again get in the way of the Mon-thurs paddling. Will you guys be getting up there to secure our traditional spot? Sounds like quite a few will be migrating up there for the festivities. As I do every year...hoping for some Blackwater action cause I know that's what YT wants and I just want what he wants...

Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
April 25, 2012 06:03AM
Watauga is heading up a bit, so hopefully that will be our choice this weekend. We will secure a location at the Cheat Fest. We have YT so we can do anything. Should be a stellar week of boating.
Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
April 26, 2012 04:36PM
Watauga is rising as I write, think that is my first choice for Saturday unless it drops like a rock.
Will run Sunday too if it holds, Nolichucky if it does not hold.
I would like to camp near Watauga but don't know any places nearby.

Will come to WV if I can carpool with someone on Thursday P.M.

Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
April 26, 2012 05:25PM

We are on the same page and have been discussing just that. Watauga has turned the corner and is now down to 307, but we should have a run on Saturday, and there might be some rain yet. Not sure where to camp Saturday night or what our plan will be - depends on the water in the area, but it is not lost on us that things are booming all over WVa and we need to get on up there. Hope you can come up Thursday to Cheat Fest. We should have our phatty camp spot at the same spot again, close to but not Teeters.

See you Saturday for sure.

Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
April 26, 2012 07:12PM
Saturday sounds great.
Will you come down to Smokies on Friday?
Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
April 26, 2012 07:15PM
Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
April 26, 2012 07:24PM
Jodie and I plan to leave Chattanooga around noon tomorrow. We will most likely head to the Watauga area or to your place Brent, depends. Fred may meet me tomorrow evening around the Watuaga.

Chief, is there anything to paddle tomorrow around the Smokies? I could meet you if you are looking to paddle somewhere.


Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
April 27, 2012 06:03AM
Watauga is 384 and dropping. Looks like it will be a really nice level tomorrow. Can't wait. Might go do the Guest on Sunday if it is there, but who knows? Maybe back to back Watauga runs is the move. We will see. Should be up at Bernie's by Sunday night either way.
Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
April 27, 2012 10:00AM
Dude, if you guys go to do the Watauga, you have to do the Doe too, just because. You can easily do both in a day and the Doe is running good right now, just under 500. It will probably hold for tomorrow. Do the Doe first as a warmup, it's short (5 miles) the shuttle is really short and very easy (10 minutes), and the Watauga put-in is only about 20 minutes from the Doe take-out, and the Watauga take-out is roughly on the way.


If the Doe is over 300, it's good to go. Watch for wood, tight in there.


Hanley Loller

"It's plum amazing what you can do when you damn well got no choice."
--Rickie Dale Larson
Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
April 27, 2012 09:48PM
Thanks Hanley, I think we are just going to do the Watauga and meet at the AW takeout at noon. We do have Scott Mills that we were hoping to hook up with you guys for the Noli gorge run on both Saturday and Sunday. I think we are going to do the Watauga both days, so will likely want to camp with you all. We hope to be there in the morning around 11 or so to drop off Scotty, and then off to the Watauga. Should be fun tomorrow night hanging and partying with all ya'll.

Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
April 29, 2012 07:49AM
So far, the trip is starting off with a bang. We got on the Watauga yesterday, extra water coming in made it a bit higher than the gauge reading according to Leland Davis - so about 275 to 300. Awesome day. Then we made it back to the Nolichucky where the BWA was rocking the camp ground, drum beats til 11, Dot's Birthday bash was Tequilariffic and it was just too cool of a scene. Hanley, good party brother.

We are going back to the Watauga today, Scott is going to hang at the Noli and do the gorge and then we will come back and grab him and all our gear (lots - truck is jammed full) and head up to WV tonight.

Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
May 03, 2012 08:35AM
So far this has been an awesome Week of Rivers. After a second day on the Watauga at about 250 CFS, we went to Bernies cabin on the Meadow where we hooked up with YT, Scott B, Mello and Rebecca. Monday we got runs on the Upper and Middle Meadow at 1600 cfs. Rain that night led us to the Cranberry running at 4.7, a good meaty level. A pfd for me - very cool run. The next morning we busted a move to Albright and were on a Juicy 6.3 level on the Lower Big Sandy by the late afternoon. We have a prime camp on the Cheat River. YT is making me coffee as I type this. Look like LBS again today since it is at 5.8 and maybe an afternoon run on the Top Yough. Looks like the Blackwater is option for our badass boaters if they want that action. Man, this is just an awesome trip with my friends. Hope we see some more this weekend. Sounds like we will. We do have lots of drums. Should be obvious where we are. Cheat Canyon Campground.
Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
May 04, 2012 06:21AM
LBS was awesome yesterday. We ran it at 5.6 which was much less pushy but still way fun. Saw Jay Ditty at the bottom of Wonder Falls and Hugo and Mello followed him to run Big Splat. They nailed the line. We also got to paddle with Charlie Walbrdge which is always a treat.
When I went to bed last night the talk was to go to the Middle Prong of the Tygart. We will see.
Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
May 04, 2012 07:23AM
Addendum: Clay and Co. just pulled up in a HUGE RV. Things are picking up here. Plans may morph. Gotta love it.
Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
May 05, 2012 10:15AM
We had a really big day yesterday on the Middle Prong of the Tygart. Gauge was climbing at 5 feet when we put on and 6.2 at the take out. The main stem was at 7.1 at time we put on. A high water creek and river experience. We had a large group of 12 and it was a bit epic at times but was awesome. This run was our biggest run thus far, due to the water level. Looks like some of us are just doing the UY although some are headed to the TY and others the Blackwater.
Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
May 07, 2012 01:48PM
Truly amazing week of rivers!! Thank you to everyone I got to share this incredible week with!! Loved our camps, drum circles, rockin tunes, bomb diggity meals and copious amounts of safety!

Thank you Brent for putting together an incredible string of 80 degree days and fantastic water levels. I have no clue how you do it but I'm convinced it is directly related to your bada$$ river karma and your overwhelming support of AW. Anyone out there that isn't a member, this is a perk they don't tell you about.

Thank you to Bernie for your hospitality and awesome river beta!

Thank you to West Virginia for being incredible!!

Most importantly, thank you Rebecca for being such a fantastic paddling partner and making this W.o.R. a truly amazing experience. I love you so much!

Personal river highlights were the EPIC day on the Middle and main stem Tygart, following Jay Ditty through Big Splat and the boof at Charlie's Choice in a playboat.

Can't wait to do it again.


Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
May 08, 2012 09:36AM
Thanks John about the river karma, but I think it is better to be lucky than good. We were truly blessed with water and warm temps. I do think all serious whitewater boaters should belong to AW though.

I will probably do an article for Spangler since this was such a cool trip. I need to see what pictures the group shot, although I am not sure there were that many.

Looking back at the Tygart gauges, we had 5.20 on the Middle Prong gauge when we put on and 6.20 when we took off. The main stem had 7.85 at the put in and was at 8.24 when we took off. Biggest level I have ever been on in the past on this section of river. Wow.

Saturday, we had the Upper Yough at about 2.55 from my visual on the Sang Run gauge. Beefy level with lots of carnage all over the river from what I saw.

I think we will do this again next year. Same Bat time, same Bat channel.

Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
May 08, 2012 10:58AM
Great trip indeed!! We had a blast with everyone and can't say thanks enough to everyone for being such great paddling and traveling partners.

Brent, I'll get my pictures uploaded somewhere, I got a few decent shots.

Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
May 08, 2012 08:59PM
What up all,
Well I had two great weekends of paddling, interrupted by three days of work. The first was at the Wataga with Brent and crew. What a good time! I got to show a few of my great buds down one of my favorite runs. I got two laps on Saturday and one Sunday. Everyone had solid lines and we all fired up state line blind. Good good stuff!

Weekend 2 started Thursday morning at 6 am, kristine, Griffin and I rolled out of Cincy and headed to the Big Sandy. We met up with Scott YT and Wes for a great run down a true classic. Kristine dropped me off and headed to the cabin we rented. We rocked out in a beautiful cabin with Scott Heather, Emma and YT that evening. Friday was an awesome day on the upper Yough with a nice level of about 2.4. Another day of precision boating by all. Saturday back to the upper Yough with about 2.5 on the gauge, sweeeeet! I must say I had every intention of coming to fest and hanging with everyone but I was wore out. Sorry I missed the party, I hope I'm not getting old. Sunday morning up to the top Yough for a fun lap down another favorite.
I want to say i had a great time on and off the water. I would also like say a huge thank you to my awesome wife Kristine for putting up with my addiction to this sport and lifestyle!

Even though we missed the fest these two weekends were filled with great boating, great friends, and unforgettable times with my family! I feel very lucky to be able to do all this with my friends and family.

Great times

Re: Week of Rivers 4/28 - 5/6
May 15, 2012 09:50AM
I'm entering a late entry into the WOR trip report. Started it last week and then got really busy with work since then and finally finished it...

Wow - is a pretty good synopsis of 3 intense days of boating in WV and probably the best Cheat Fest I've attended so far! Unfortunately in order to spend some time with Brit and take care of some issues that popped up at home I wasn't able to spend as much time on WOR as in past years but what I missed in time I more than made up for in intensity! The BWA / WOR encampment at Cheat Canyon Campground was very cool as usual and somehow a group with a wide range of personalities and diverse interests somehow made it work out - like always! smiling smiley Thur YT, Scott B and Kevin ? and I got 2 laps on Lower Big Sandy at 5.8 and 5.6. The big group got on at 6.2 Wed and I'm sorry I missed that! The mid to upper 5' level was juicy and fun! The LBS is fun at lower water but as Brent likes to say, it "fluffed out" nicely at higher flow without much more push. Fred Wilson / Christine helped us with shuttle and Fred joined us for lap 2. YT took one for the team and shuttled my car out while we ran lap 2 - mighty thanks YT! Brent and crew did a single lap between our runs.

Friday was an epic day on Middle Fork of Tygart at 5.2+ and Tygart at 7.7+. This was a big water day! MF was pushy and solid Class IV+ Brent swam twice and I had lots of roll practice. When we hit the Tygart it was big! Some of the biggest holes I've ever seen. It gave one good beat down / swim to Chris Higdon. John and Rebecca looked pretty awesome doing it in playboats! I witnessed lots of planned / unplanned rodeo moves from these two. I have a short video of Brent / Rebecca / Delaney Albright (I think) runs at S Turn. Brent / Delaney snuck right but Rebecca was pulled into the meat and spit out like a watermelon seed! From below we watched Jess pull an awesome thread the boulders move I wish I had on video. I had some further roll practice on the Tygart as did several others. We had a bit of scare when Chris got a bit unnerved after his beat down / swim and decided to walk out of the Tygart. He told Delaney but Delaney didn't hear / understand and we spent some anxious time at the takeout when he wasn't there yet. It's really easy to lose track of someone in a big group on a big water run. John / Brent ran into him on the tracks when they went looking for him and we were all very happy that he was fine.

Saturday the plan was to catch the Upper Yough before the dam release. Unfortunately it released early at 10am and we put on at just a bit over 2.5. I'd not done the UY above 2.2, and the river is very wide at the gauge so a little bit there goes a long way in the gorge. I had some great lines and runs ... but unfortunately I also had the two worst swims and beat downs of my boating career in the same day! I'm not even sure what happened on the first one, I missed the crew in the right eddy in lower Triple Drop, then screwed up somehow going for the left eddy - my memory is foggy on how I messed up / flipped and for some reason had trouble setting up so I soon found myself upside down surfing the hole above National Falls. I couldn't roll there and body surfed that hole for a bit. I was completely disoriented and thought while I was upside down that I had washed into National Falls hole and was body surfing that hole! Finally getting out of it and out of breath with laryngospasm I was thinking OK I'm in a pool now and was not happy to discover I was now washing into National Falls hole for more body surfing. This was not a fun experience but lucky for me my boat was in there surfing with me and I made a desperate grab for it. Tried to climb up on it and think this pushed it down enough to wash us both out. Totally exhausted, extremely weakened with bad laryngospasm I feebly made my way to the big left eddy and onto shore where I recovered for a bit. Somehow I held on to my paddle through all of this and my boat was saved in the eddy above by YT. After I recovered I looked up in time to see John doing some serious rodeo moves after stalling in the vicious right eddy after the boof move. I do wish I had his run on video! I was shaken up a bit after the long swim but pulled it together enough to make my way down the rest of the run with good lines and form ... until I thought I was home free ...

At a little rapid called Backender, we came upon a pinned boat scene. Clay / Hugo / others assisted with boat extraction from atop a boulder in the middle of the river while the rest of us waited below. After a very long wait, some of us were getting cold and figured we might was well wait at the takeout. I had forgotten about 2 rapids below, Wright's Hole and Double Pencil Sharpener because they are pretty insignificant at lower flows. As we entered this section I spotted a swimmer in the middle of the river that was no where near another boat so I started chasing him to assist. Focusing on him and not paying close enough attention to where I was, I realized too late I was approaching the center of a wide horizon line. It's one of those moments when you just say ... Oh S*%$! As I crested the horizon I thought I would try a desperate water boof over the very ugly hole below but stopped dead right in the meat of it and surfed it for a while on the right, then tried to ender out on the very high / deep right crease and ended up left surfing - exhausted I finally flipped and was too tired to mount an effective roll in the foam and violence. Dammit! Could not believe this was happening again! What followed was an even worse body surf than National Falls as every time I tried to go deep to get out I hit a shallow rock ledge which pushed me right back in the hole. I was in this hole for what seemed like a long time. I had laryngospasm again and couldn't get a breath. I could find no way out and truly felt this was the most desperate moment of my life. I started to think I very likely would not exit this hole concious. Weird things flash through your mind at such moments. I won't go into details there but if others have been in a similar situation I'm sure you know what I mean. In a last ditch effort to save myself I managed to get my feet under me and for long enough to get a kick backward off the rock that was thwarting my deep exit. I tried this a couple of times without making any progress. I was extremely exhausted, air starved, and not sure how much longer I would be conscious. On what I think was the third attempt I somehow successfully launched myself to the right boil line and entered the downstream flow. I was exhausted, couldn't breathe and had no idea what was below. Lucky for me a guy I didn't know was waiting below the hle for me to wash out and gave me his stern. I managed to hang on through a little Class II action and he towed me successfully to shore where I took some time to recover.

Both of these bad swims were complicated by laryngospasm and actually wouldn't have been that bad without it. It's a problem I've had before. In every event I can recall where I had this condition I was pretty scared just prior to the laryngospasm and have no doubt the fear contributed to the laryngospasm. I'm thinking it has something to do with overstimulation of my sympathetic nervous system. I / and others here have discussed laryngospasm on the forum before and I presumed my cases were like others - related to a little water aspiration. This type of laryngospasm is well documented in the literature. While this may have happened on both of these swims - I also had laryngospasm after some upside down surfing followed by a roll while going over a big rock drop on one of the big rapids on the Middle Fork. I was absolutely sure in this case I aspirated no water. I haven't yet found anything in literature about laryngospasm from fear / panic / stressful event but I'm thinking it may be what's going on in my case. At any rate at this point I'm not sure how to deal with it and don't think I'll be able to until I figure out exactly what is going on. If I could somehow get rid of this problem I think it would significantly raise my comfort level on harder runs.

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