Monday, December 31, 2007

A Great End to 2007. a trip report

A good slow rain fell on the Southeast late Thursday night and all day Friday, Dec. 28th.
I was able to get out of work early enough to catch one run on Suck Creek. Suck started running around 2:00 Friday afternoon so most folks were able to get several runs in.

With most of the rain hitting the Smokies and NC, as usual, we made plans to travel for the weekend.

I headed towards Knoxville on a solo mission to meet up with Andy Dodson to paddle the West Prong. The place was packed with boaters and tourons. The weather was a beautiful sunny day but I didn't take the camera since photos don't seem to do this run justice. We met up with Blake Turner and Nick U. for a run down the upper section. Eichhorn and Bryce, who had decided earlier in the day that they weren't going to go kayaking realized their foolishness and headed up to the mountains to meet us for a second run.
This was my first run on the West Prong and I thought it was everything it is made out to be. I think its best described as an amped up Foss or Money Creek or a really tamed "bottom 9"
The scenery is spectacular there are lots and lots of tourists. We saw some big old ravens at the takeout which Blake Turner proceeded to tell me were only black birds... how did that run on the other side of the mountain get its name? That must have been Blake talking, not Mr. Turner.

The next day, Dec. 30th, we headed through the clouds to the other side of the mountain to run Raven Fork. Raven Fork always seems to run around New Years. We found a good level to take a couple of first timers down. The gauge at the bridge was 9" brushing up to the 10" mark. It had rained a little that morning and the night before and although we didn't check the gauge on the way home it felt like the river came up a little bit, maybe to 10", 11" or more, evidenced by the Oconaluftee USGS gauge

Things Fall Apart

Taking first timers into the Raven Fork is always fun. Sunday was no different. The amount of fog in the gorge only added to their anticipation as it was difficult to see the rapids from the trail on the way in. A slight misty drizzle kept the gorge dark.
There is new wood in the small slide below Headless Horseman, stuck right against the wood that was there previously. Wood also warranted a portage of Mortal Combat.


We made our way around Big Boy and showed Taylor and Eichhorn how not to run Mike Tyson's Punchout. I came down the last part backwards, flipping upon the landing, I tried to brace back up right, at the point that I was about halfway back up I saw myself heading for a pocket in the right wall. I got stuffed in the pocket and went under the wall. I'll spare the reader all the should've, would've, could've that goes through someone's head after they decide to pull their skirt. The end result was that I grabbed my, paddle, camera, boat and the tree trunk coming down off the river right wall. The boat proved too heavy to hold onto and still be able to hold onto the tree trunk so I let that go. I wonder if my Perception airbags that crapped out about 8 years ago had been replaced if I would have been able to hold onto the boat? It washed into the eddy on the bottom right of the ledge below. So it was just me, my gear and the tree. Andy was in the eddy and I looked over at him and wondered why he was watching me still in his boat. Andy had landed at a strange angle and pulled his ribs. After some kind words from me Andy struggled out of his boat and up onto the rocks on the river left where he made a weak toss of the throw rope which landed like a Oregon State field goal kicker's kick, too short. A situation like this is why its best to have more than two people in your group. Bryce was able to get a rope to me and I swung over to shore above the ledge that was just downstream. I got my boat drained, and Andy got ready to hike out with injured ribs.

Eichhorn sliding right

We continued on downstream living up to the motto that started off as a joke, "Always Leave a Man Behind" The remaining rapids went well and everyone met up again at Mr Watty's house.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Middle Creek

After a late wake up and having my coffee I got a call half expecting it to be about going biking in the afternoon after the trails dried out a bit. The boys had done some preliminary research and found what was thought to be a runnable creek.

A quick shuttle was set, the covert put-in was as successful as one could expect when walking around with brightly colored 80 gallon tubs and we were on the river. We worked our way downstream, finding the level low and dropping, wood and debris from the fire over the summer slowed our progress both in the water and on land.
"Shoot Me In the Face with a 9"- Middle Creek 3rd time run from the top down. Everyone else put in inside the cave.
One scary ass pin: involving wood underwater, not visible, everyone else boofed it, one man went deep and caught it in the lap, on top of the sprayskirt, any kayaker's worst nightmare, but alls well that ends well.

Hand-paddling Underground

Look here if you want a description:

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Notes From the Underground

Incoming Wire...

while many suffer here in the drought stricken south, one man rejects this and takes it upon himself to rise above this condition of boredom. Here is his story:

Successful expedition to the Himilayas.
I left the states in early Oct. and headed to India. The US team got together in Dheli where we hired an opium addicted alcoholic driver to pilot our van. The teams main mission was to paddle the 5 sacred tributaries that make the Ganga or Ganges River. After a 2 week session on the Tons, Supin and Yamuna, as well as a couple of broken boats, class V first descents, no white people, no beer, very little English, and the first westerners to enter a village or two. We decided it was time to head to Rishikesh for a new driver, a couple rest days, and a replacement for the broken boats.
Then it was off up the Alakananda and the Mandanakini for a couple more weeks of paddling, seeking out the goods, visiting some sacred places, and living large T.J. style in the Himilayas. The last two drainages turned out to be the highlight of the trip. Easy access, tons of different runs, one or two possible first d's and lots of action both on the river and off. We also grabbed a couple days trekking in the Himilayas surrounded by 6000m peaks and working the legs a little. Than it was back to the rivers. On our last drainage of the trip, we ran into North Carolina's own JJ Sheapherd and his team of international boys. We hit it up together for a couple days before going on our own respective paths. We finished our planned expedition in 5 weeks, and decided it was time to wrap it up in India and make our way to Nepal.
Nepal is the shit. We left India took our 1st of many sketchy bus rides and crossed the boarder into Nepal early in the morning, only to find ourselves caught in the middle of a Maoist caused student protest due to a bombing that killed 25 people and stopped all east west travel. After 5 days isolated on the boarder the political groups reached an aggrement and travel was on. We made our way to Pokhara and the Annapurna Drainages. We linked up with some Scottish boys and lost a couple of our own, as we fired up 2 sweet runs out of Annapurna Sanctuary. Then it was off to Eastern Nepal, Kathmandu and a couple runs off of Everest. I'll do another update with pictures and some river descriptions later in the month. Now its off to the rocky mtns for powder season and a bit of work.Cheers, Stan #43 On Tue, 4 Dec 2007 08:14:25 -0500

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Gentlemen of Leisure

The dam releases of the Gauley River are upon us.
Gone are the hot summer days of leisure boating.
Squeezing into the squirt boat for one more mystery session at the local sink spot or pulling on that ringer pfd for a relaxing squirt run down the Ocoee are only foggy memories as you seal the skirt at Summersville.
No, leisure boating is over. Its on in the big water, undercut ladden rapids such as the one who's name strikes fear in the bowels of any semi-sane squirt boater, LOST PADDLE. Sure those boys look so debonair through most of the run but know that they're puckered "tighter than Steely Dan's assholes" on that rock below the Meadow.

Why do I call it leisure boating?

Stuff enough foam in your fake jacket so you know which way is up, slip into some metal flake and charc in for a ride on the "poopship"

Sunday, June 17, 2007

How We Roll Part II

Or: More Colorado Dilly Dally

NOTES: Treasure Canyon

-high alpine scenery

-"unique" character

-"worth doing", once

-deadly portage just before crux drop "Twizzler"

-no "OBJ style" anything

makes mouths happy

Good Idea: Stop off at the Wolf Creek "tunnel of love" for some "roadside", high-water action. Put in just upstream of large culvert under highway 160 on the west side of Wolf Creek Pass. Take out after you've had enough.

Bad Idea: Risk life and limb clinging to loose rocks on sketchy scree slope only to be turned away from twenty-footer by near vertical walls.

Good Idea: Head to Durango for Colorado Gazeteer and Thai food made by cowboy.

... and your dad is still a bitch, kid.

Interesting Idea: Put on Lime creek late in the afternoon on an a hot day in June.

Bad Idea: Break your borrowed Werner in Adrenaline

Good Idea: Follow local's lines on Lime creek late in the afternoon on a hot day in June.

"colorado classics"

Good Idea: For Epic Winter Riding, Check Out Treasure Mountain Hut

Backcountry's Finest

PLAN B.2: Run the Upper Animas from Silverton to Tacoma

PLAN C.2: Avoid the cold wind and rain in the various nooks and crannies of Silverton. Head over Red Mountain Pass . Doddle in Ouray. Head to Orvis for a soak. Eat more cheeseburgers. Drive dirt roads for miles in the dark. Pull over and sleep in the dirt.

un-run 60 footer in Animas watershed

PLAN D.3: Big Cimmaron

PLAN E.3: West Fork Big Cimmaron. (First D anyone? I hear its just ripe up there for exploring.)

PLAN G.9: Take advantage of recent cold snap and falling water levels. Head to Crystal drainage. Yule on the high side. Resort to plan H.9.

PLAN H.9: Head up the North Fork of the Crystal. Cross the creek? Definately. Get turned back by snowed-in road. Definately.

PLAN I.a: Good Idea? Bad Idea? at Crystal Mill Falls

run to the hills

Good Idea: Come back to Yule the next morning.

the mystic is a sick stick

Bad Idea: "Check" the wall at the bottom of slide shown below.

boldy going

Marginal Idea: Get rejected by rooster tail and get sent careening into giant rock pile at river-right, bottom of slides shown below.

Reality Check

Good Idea: Skip like a stone at the bottom of this massive slide

elephant gunner

Bad Idea: Put in too high upstream on Yule creek.

Good Idea: Running the crown jewel of Colorado's park-n-huck.

happy ending

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How We Roll

Or: Spirit of the Hawk Flies with Beta


May 31st. Beta Team Leave Chattanooga. Drive to New Mexico. Paddle low water ditch mankfest El Rio Santo Cruz. Paddle The Embudo. Observe first ever gaging station installed by the USGS sometime in the late 19th century. Wait on Charlie Team.

O Captain

Charlie Team arrive. Alpha Team call and advise all teams to continue to the Middle Fork Kings ASAP. Bomb Embudo with Charlies. Charlies become convinced that California is the place to be. Drive north to Treasure Canyon. Part ways with Charlie Team on the 4th.

Michael Jackson or Magic Johnson?

very local: Atom Crawford

Receive call from JC Sprayer. Yule is on the way in. Drive to Penitente Canyon. Sleep amidst giant boulders. Awake and drive to Yule in the AM.


Awake amidst giant boulders. Realize Yule is very far out of the way to California. Head to Durango. Maybe stop at Wolf Creek waterfalls.

Some interesting folks in these hills: Jayhawk the Prospector and Jerry Garcia look-a-like, migrant "fisherman" near false put-in. Both friendly


Remember about Treasure Canyon. It is on the way to Durango, in a way. Stop off in Del Norte for some internet. Kings looks too high. Call Alpha Team and inform.

it didn't give me one

Charlie Team and Beta Team will stick to Colorado park-n-huck and high-water mank. Fest.

A big game hunter in his habitat

Stanimal out


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Below Average

It ain't gonna be August this year

Friday, February 16, 2007


“What Happened to The Bear?” – a look into the facts surrounding the mysterious lack of rainfall on Lookout Mountain, GA (TJRC, 2007).

Figure 1: 27 Years of Streamflow Data for Lookout Creek

There are many theories as to why the sacred Bear does not run anymore. Some have blamed development upstream, sinkholes opening in the watershed, general drought, and even an invisible “rain shield” held in place by mystic forces of the netherworld. Though many of these seem plausible, none can be proven by mere rhetoric. Thus, the Team Jib Research Council (TJRC) has put together a proposal for a scientific study to analyze all the contributing variables and to determine, once and for all, the cause/s of this horrific tragedy. It is the belief of a few members of Team Jib (TJ) that the current lack of rain over Lookout Mountain, GA is due to a curse brought upon the residents of the southeast by a certain council member who shall, for the purposes of this study, remain nameless. This study will be base on scientific evidence, such that no bias by superstition or wanton paddy-cake in the realm of ideas will influence the findings of the TJRC.