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Thanks Dot Edwards for this great trip report!
Sorry it’s taken me so long to post this trip report but hey, life happens.
First off, if you told me a year ago that I’d be running the RFG and Upper Yough within a year, I would have thought that you ate too many special brownies. The Upper Yough was super fun. It wasn’t as threatening as I thought it would be but, it was longer with a lot more rapids and big holes to punch than I expected.
Our group had the perfect number of experienced yakkers for us newbies, Elizabeth, JBob, Todd H. and me. I have never seen so many kayaks or shredders packed into one river, not to mention the fact that you had to maneuver around rafts. Due to the amazing traffic, we divided into 3 small groups. I had the fortune to be led by Pete (last name??) who knew every rock & hole in the river. YT, Brent and Gerald would move back & forth between Todd & I to make sure we were okay. It was always comforting to look back & see that someone was always near in case there was trouble.
Pete was very conscious in leading me through in not necessarily the easiest lines. He had me practice maneuvers especially in the beginning to give me a good feel of what was to come. He would give me the history of the rapids and 3 options. Unfortunately my slightly wigged out mind could only retain half the info for 1 line. Case in point, Charlie’s Choice: In the end it was decided that we would take the left line & avoid the mushroom rock line. After discussion, I was confused & said I would just follow wherever Pete went. Well… he proceeded around a boulder & by the time I got around it, I couldn’t figure out where he went. By the time I saw him, he was way river left & I decided it would be too hard to get there. I noticed the tops of helmets after a drop to the right and remembered them mentioning a line on the right so I went for it. Since I wasn’t sure what was at the bottom, I threw in a boof stroke for good measure, went down the drop then flew over a mushroom rock. From seeing the rock, I realized this was the place they wanted me to avoid. Luckily the run went smooth, was super fun and YT was right behind me. (Ha! I bet you thought I’d report some carnage)
The most fun thing that happened was that I went down a drop and subbed under the rapid/hole. I couldn’t tell if I was upside down or what, my Stubby and I were just completed submerged then, I rocketed out the other side. So so fun and I’m sure I couldn’t do it again if I tried. Gerald just skipped across the hole.
Tombstone (aka Fu#@ Up Falls) was interesting. Pete was taking a line that seemed a bit too tricky for me so I asked YT to lead me. He was excited to have his first chance to lead me soooo he flipped at the very top and went down the entire thing upside down. Out of the 3 options I was given, the one thing I retained was that I did not want to go where YT was headed. I went hard left & picked my way down. As for YT, I was impressed he didn’t swim, he got a rocky beatdown.
Pete told me there were 2 holes that you absolutely want to avoid on the UY, one of them being at the bottom of FU Falls. I believe Elizabeth dropped into the hole but, she IS the Surfing Queen so she made her way out with style.
National Falls was fun. When I took the drop at the bottom was a kayaker getting worked. Luckily, I just missed him and if anything, he helped to keep me on line.
No real carnage for me. I flipped in the Rockies when too many kayaks pulled out at the same time. I did get surfed in a hole (name?). I knew I was in trouble when I dropped into the hole, since a group of kayakers below immediately began to cheerfully yell and whistle. Due to the fantastic surfing/playboating lessons I had been getting from E the last few weeks, I didn’t freak out and got a couple smooth flat spins. In the end, I flipped & apparently that’s the easiest way to get out of the hole.
The paddle out was great b/c I met a couple women who knew the river very well. They introduced themselves since they were excited to see another female on the river. Hopefully, we’ll meet again soon to have a women’s trip down the UY.
I loved the run. The sky was blue and sunny and the water cool and plentiful. The group ride home was filled with a huge sense of mass euphoria. We ended the day by having a group dinner on a porch in WV under the black sky with stars.
Take that Wes and Hanley
Thanks so much Dot for the great trip report.