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West Virginia General Overview

Friday-Friday Mar 14-21, 2014
Participants:
Kayak: John Atherton Jim Poulin Jim Fecteau Justin Wirth Jordan Vickers Jamie Dolan Ben Schott Brock Richardson Catharine Hull Dan Dolan Danny Siger Mike Mainer Noah Pollock Silas Pohlman
Open Canoe: Tony Shaw
Raft: Dan Sherbrook Pac Raft
Organizer: Brock Richardson
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium

This is a general over view of our trip to WV this march. I encourage participants to write up reports of specific rivers paddled.

We had 18 paddlers on this trip and for the most part it wen't very well. We stayed at Alpine Lake Resort for the week the Chalet we rented (A2 Wilson) worked out perfect. It was inexpensive and given the weather a whole lot better then camping. People took turns cooking and all meals received rave reviews.

Rivers paddled were: The Lower Yough, Little Sandy, Big Sandy, Cheat Canyon, Middle fork, Tygart, upper Yough, North Branch of the Potomac

The first day we all ran the Lower Yough. We got a late start but hey it's only a 2-3 warm up run. We found a different story. At the high level we ran it it was a big water hard 3 with maybe a 4 minus thrown in. After a fun run and many swims(mostly mine) we finished up around 6 By the time we ran shuttle and got back to the lodge it was close to 8. A pattern to repeat many times this trip.

The next day the easy group took a break on the Little Sandy a beautiful class 3 run slowly building in difficulty to a final class 4- drop it was a low level and an easy paddle. We got home early

Not so for the Studs MIke M, BenS, Danny S and Jordan V Decided to run the Cheat Canyon and the Lower Big Sandy. After an epic 2 runs they returned exhausted after 9pm

The next day the easy group ran the Middle Fork and Tygart. I ran shuttle as I was feeling under the weather. The water was absolutely beautiful at the put in. The Deepest shade of blue I had seen. I was sad to not be running it. The Run took until nearly dark with participants tired but glad they had done it.

The hot shots Jordan Danny and Mike ran the Uppper Yough

The next day everyone ran the Lower Big Sandy with the exception of John A and Myself. We elected to run the easier Cheat Narrows. This was the only river I ran in WV that I would call a disappointment.A few Short rapids with not very hard features and not too pretty scenery.

Not so for the Lower Sandy group. I have never seen such big smiles from a paddling group as when they entered the lodge. Everyone but Dan Sherbrook in his pac raft ran 17 foot wonder falls and the 4 studs ran Big Splat a notorious class V that most walk. I think it was the best day in Silas's young paddling career.

Next on our list was the Cheat Canyon. Everyone ran it and it was really fun. Big water but not too hard. I snuck the biggest rapid with a beautiful waterfall dropping into it. I looked back and was surprised to see that quite a few people had joined me. The ones that ran it for the most part did well.

We had our one accident on the run. Justin Ruptured an eardrum when a rock hit him in the head. It was starting to bleed when he got to the take out so he and the Dans headed to Morgantown ER. Both Dans agreed the ER was a slice of WV not to be missed. Justin was a big hit with the nurses there which I'm sure helped ease the pain somewhat. Justin is doing well and should regain his hearing in that ear. We are all hoping for the best.

My last run of the trip was the highlight for me. The North Branch of the Potomac. This was a great 3-4 non stop 13 miles of whitewater. Drop after drop after drop with lots of Non stop boulder gardens with ledges thrown in for fun. Danny Siger gave me some paddling help and it really transformed my paddling. It was the first time I have felt comfortable on something this hard. I actually felt liked I belonged there. It was kind of self serving on his part though as he had been rescuing me and my boat non stop over the past few days. I was still able to manage a swim or two after his help but ran the biggest rapid Maytag clean and well which pleased me to no end. This is a great remote run and I highly reccomend it. Once again we got off late this time to biting wind snow flurries and general miserable conditions.

One last run to the Upper Yough of which I wanted no part and our trip was Done. I can't thank everyone enough. I have never felt so safe and had so much fun on a trip. I recommend WV to all.

Brock

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