Got Boof – World Kayak

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Top Yough Season

This past weekend, some water returned to our region. It came in the form of snow, but snow melts eventually!

The roads were not in the best of conditions, but most of us made it to the river.

Carl catching some air

Years ago Carl Schneider and I dubbed this time of year Top Yough season because this run seems to run very often over the winter. As you can see, the season is officially here.

Water Filled Weekend

This weekend brought some water to the region, mostly south of Morgantown, WV. A group of nine of us met on Saturday to bag some creeks. With our hopes set on bagging two creeks, Roaring creek and Daugherty Run we drove down to Albright, WV to check on the action. After setting the shuttle for Roaring Creek we realized at the put in that the water was too low. This sent us on a mad scramble over to Daugherty to catch the remaining water. While the water was on the low side, it is always a neat opportunity to boogie down this slide filled run, and for many in the group, it was a great chance to see the run for the first time.

Sunday brought higher water runs on both the Lower Big Sandy and the Upper Yough for the few of us that were able to get out on both days this last weekend.

Got Boof Goes North ’09

Beau on Colton Falls

The following is a contribution by our newest Got Boof Member: Beau Smith

The 2009 summer season ended with a bang this year when I was fortunate enough to be invited up to the Adirondacks with the Got Boof crew. After boating for an entire summer on the Upper Yough, I felt confident enough in my boating skills to try my luck. The drive was suspiciously flat, but I was assured that massive, steep drops were hidden somewhere in the placid landscape of upstate, rural New York.

On the first day, we ran the Raquette river, and the first rapid lay within a short walk of the put-in. For those of you who have not seen Colton falls, you will probably sleep better at night having not seen it in person. That was my first reaction anyways. Pure terror. As I was carrying my boat towards the put-in, there was some uncertainty in my mind about if I would live through the day. Luckily for me, I cruised down through the rapid with no problems. It was so much fun, I decided to carry up and run it again. Everyone else came through and we headed down the river for a great day of giant rapids and good times.

The rest of the weekend was a little more mellow with some fun class four rapids on the Moshier and Taylorsville sections of the Beaver, and some exciting park-and-huck action on the Eagle sections.

I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. Every area of the country offers something different for kayakers, and New York is no exception, especially coming from the PA-MD-WV region. Besides getting to see some new rivers, this weekend provided me the opportunity to run my first class V river, and push my mental and physical limits to new levels. Thank you to Jason, and all the other guys who I boated with this weekend. It was a great trip, and I hope that I can travel back to New York and do it again next year.

The Chambersburg crew also made their way north this weekend. Check out some photos of their adventure here.

Third Annual Creeking Clinic

On July 26th, the third annual Got Boof Intro to Creeking Clinic took place at Valley Falls, WV. We had over 40 participants this year, including both safety boaters and students, with a nearly one to one ratio. This year’s students left the majority of the carnage at home and spent the entire day working on their technique over the beautiful topography of this great West Virginia State Park. From posture and scouting to a variety of different boof techniques, participants took turns running the falls and then helping each other portage back up for more fun. Following a brief lunch, the group moved on down to the last two major rapids, Hamburger Helper and Twist and Shout to take their new found skills and apply them to the lines at hand. One more successful trip, one more long walk out and we look forward to next years activities.

Additional photo galleries can be found at the following locations:

Art Barket – Coming Soon
Jeff Macklin – Coming Soon
Edward McGuiness – Here
Phil and Jen Raber – Here

Cucumber and McClintock

With big rains coming to our region Wednesday night everything was flowing on Thursday, giving us the opportunity to do some summertime creeking. While some of the regular creeks that make our region so great were definitely a go and would have made for a super day, we decided to see what new runs we could knock out given this opportunity. Using Confluence as our launching point we set out for two creeks we had heard mention of but had never run, Cucumber Run and McClintock Run, both rumored to be class IV creeks that flow into the Casselman River.

Cucmber was first on the list, being the smaller of the two runs. Art Barket and I (Jason Hilton), put in off of State Road 3001 and immediately began to dodge the kind of wood one expects on these sorts of seldom run micro creeks. A little duck here a portage there and we were off. The creek began with some simple technical stuff winding its way through the forest and having the same general beauty one would associate with regional creeks such as Drakes and Fikes. About a half mile in, the creek began to take a dive towards the river, granting for Art and myself some of the best boofs and tight little drops we have encountered in a while.

The two largest rapids of the creek were a two-tiered waterfall we boofed down the center on and a tight rock jumble before the tunnel that required a stroke or two to keep from getting beat up in the hole and taking a trip through the tunnel sans boat. Out of the tunnel, off a short waterfall and we were moving down a swollen Casselman river to our cars.

We elected after our first run to go into Confluence and have lunch at the Lucky Dog Café, an area restaurant known for its tasty and environmentally conscious food. In both regards the restaurant was an excellent choice. While waiting for lunch, we were joined by Matt Pascal and Beau Smith, who had come to meet up with Art and I for McClintock.

Back out to the river we went, using the same takeout as in the morning, we setup to explore McClintock Run using a similar shuttle to Cucumber but just requiring one to travel another mile or so up the same SR 3001. Once on McClintock we were pleased to find relatively no wood in the way of our paddling. The creek had a steady downhill feel to it, similar to local Fikes creek, however as the creek approached the Casselman, it took a decidedly steeper turn through some bedrock rapids. The best of the rapids was a long three-tiered slide, which alone would make this creek worth doing again.

Continuing along were a number of additional ledges and bedrock formations that makes this creek resemble an easier version of close by Drakes creek. One last rapid, through yet another tunnel, gave us some cause for concern as there is a piece of wood that looks like it could bash out your lights were you in the wrong part of the tunnel’s exit, especially given the speed at which the water was roaring out of this tunnel. After much deliberation we decided to give her a go and as usual found that the rapid was much easier and less threatening than it had appeared, giving all of us that mission accomplished feeling as we once again flushed out into a roaring Casselman river.

More photos of the day can be viewed here.

John’s First Descent

Got Boof crew member John Rudland is known for his attempts to run previously uncharted waters. Here is a little exploit someone captured on film near John’s place of employment.

Check out the video of John’s First Descent

Matt Zeleznick and the power of denial

This last Monday, our friend Matt Zeleznick made his return to the Upper Yough for the summer. The level was a beefy 2.5′ but Matt, having had a bad day on the river at that level in the previous year, would have surely been concerned had he known about this day’s water volume. At the put in, the crowd (and by this I mean every boater there) decided to all say that the level was 2.2′, a level that Matt was more familiar with.

While myself and another individual distracted Matt with conversation about work in order to draw him to the opposite side of the river, the word was passed and every boater on the Upper Yough quickly began referring to the great 2.2′ level we were going to paddle today. In the end, the fable worked and Matt had a fantastic day on the river. After letting him in on the deception, he sent the following email:

Wanted to say thank you to everyone for keeping me in the dark about the level yesterday. Made for a fun run (at 2.2) with a lot less anxiety than if I had known what the level actually was. Anyways thinking back on it there are a lot of funny instance that should have clued me in. Hopefully you enjoy these…

- While in Friendsville Carl proclaims that we are looking at something along the lines of 2.5… Should have been a big clue
An unusally small crowd at Sang Run with a lot of experienced boaters and a seemingly high ratio of rafts to hard boats… but hey it’s a monday.

- Jason and Bryan sprint in the flat water at the put-in to catch up to me to ask about work. Was a little odd to see such urgency from them on such an obscure subject. Really interesting how the conversation ended so abruptly after the sang run bridge.

-The hole at the bottom gap seems a lot stouter than I remember it.

-Bernstein pulls into the eddy before bastard proclaiming “It is pushy today” to which Jason tells him “You haven’t been out here at 2.2 in a while.”… Yes there was definite emphasis on 2.2.

-Seeing Bryan take an interesting line at mushroom cloud and hearing that most days there’s a boof on that line.

-Above triple drop Matt tells me to remember to hit the boof at the pyramid rock to slow down in the boil… very helpful had the pyramid rock not been underwater.

-No one boofs national

-Great boof to the right side of Tommy’s – to self: “why don’t we run that more often?”

-”You really want to hit your boof at meat cleaver today – that hole is big.”

-Kurt informing me that I should paddle fast and hard through some boogy water before powerful popper because of the level today.

-By the way I haven’t heard anything inapropriate from Kurt since we got to the meat of the run.

Great job Matt!!!

Summertime Boof Sessions

Summer is here and so are the Upper Yough releases. The great benefit to being a teacher is the chance to run almost every release throughout the summer. It is at the Upper Yough that Got Boof started and it is in this location that the skill of boofing is best practiced. See what I mean?

Got Boof Brief Southern Weekend

The following is a contribution by fellow Got Boofer and captain of the Got Boof Swim Team – Joshua “Dr. Flakenstein” Bernstein

Based upon promising reports of rain and the guarantee of a release of 1000 CFS into the Cheoah four intrepid members of the crew (Jason “Paris” Hilton, Joshua “Dr. Flakenstein” Bernstein, John “The Hamburgler” Rudland, and Ed McGuinness) set out to experience a bit of southern river action. We set out Thursday afternoon and encountered our first taste of adventure when we hit a few hours of class V Pittsburgh traffic. Undaunted by the traffic the crew assembled at the Gauley put-in camp ground for a few hours sleep before hitting the Meadow River in WV.

Despite the rapidly dropping water levels morning brought breaking camp and breaking eggs into boiling water (thanks Ed) and finally setting shuttle. After one or two small detours amid the twisting logging roads of WV and a short hike down a too rutted and steep road to the put-in, we were on the Meadow River. Good friends, swift water, sunshine and a first time run for all, made for a fun if mellow low water run of the Meadow.

Captain of the Swim Team (which is why his arms are so big)

Feeling that the day was going to go by without ample excitement, yours truly (Josh: Captain of the Got Boof Swim Team) decided to spice things up a bit by failing to roll among the gripping class II bogey water. After this immense slice of humble pie and several practice rolls we continued to enjoy a beatific if uneventful day of paddling. Several hours in the car driving south (the final bit of which is through disturbingly tangled and twisting Appalachian mountain roads) brought us to a nearly deserted Cheoah take-out camp spot.

By 9:30 am the next morning we were preparing to put on the Cheoah, but the dam released water had not yet reached us. A bit of hip hop blaring out of the speakers of Hilton’s car helped set the mood and we prepared ourselves for the upcoming run. Ed never having run Cheoah was showing some nerves, (of course this provided a perfect opportunity for each of us to describe the various challenges, hazards and threats to life and limb that he was sure to encounter) as it turned out Ed had not a thing to be concerned about, he styled the run with the expected grace and skill of a Got Boof crew member. Being the Got Boof Swim Team captain, I (Josh) felt compelled to test the sturdiness of the rocks in the river by slamming my knees into them as I swam out of the same hole that ate my boat the last time I was on the Cheoah three years ago. Someone had to do it…

Lots of big holes, big drops, and tight spots in the forest on the river that is the top of the Cheoah made for a fantastic start to our day. The Cheoah is a unique and exciting river in part because of its changing character. It begins as a big flushing western style ride through overgrown flora and then after the fourteen foot Bear Creek Falls the river becomes steeper and more technical. It is a wild ride.

After emerging exhilarated and hungry from the banks of the Cheoah a decision was necessary. We could run the Cheoah again or head toward the Doe and the Watauga by way of the much discussed and described Asian Buffet in Asheville. After some reflection we elected that the Asian Buffet in Asheville, NC held more appeal than a second run on the Cheoah. We did not get far however before Hilton enlightened the group of our proximity to the Nantahala Cascades and then promptly redirected us to the steep narrow micro creek. Needless to say, in short order we were running alongside of the road scouting the lines of the Cascades. The Nantahala Cascades with only 150 CFS running down their 210 fpm gradient are steep and tight. From the Horns of God all the way to Chinese Feet the drops of Nantahala Cascades were a blast.

Sometime later while in the car we began to get a clear picture of just how much rain can fall in twelve hours. One brief search for an affordable motel behind us, and we spent a dry, if not totally restful night out of the rain. Next morning at “Oh god, 7 am” the gauges (as we had predicted) indicated that the Watauga had exploded from 160 cfs to over 1000 overnight. The Doe was also running at flood levels. Good news for small creeks. We found the Red Roof Creek in Leland’s book and we were on our way. The Red Roof Creek begins as a small mostly flat meandering flow that is pretty, but also boring. As a testament to being very careful about the content of one’s wishes, the bucolic pastoral nature of the creek came to an abrupt end as this small waterway drops off the face of the earth. Suddenly without much in the way of warning or notice the winding stream becomes a torrent of strainer laden, gnashing rock filled whitewater. The adjectives that spring to mind are steep, continuous, and intimidating. In other words “awesome”. Nothing is quite like a steep creek unknown to everyone in attendance. I felt like Huck Finn on a grand adventure.

Exulted and exhausted we clambered out of the canyon to the car at the end of the day. It was time to head north to home and work on Monday. We stopped in Summersville for the best and cheapest Mexican food to be had and then a few hours later we were home happy and whole.

Got Boof Nation Wide

First Time Cheatin’

The following is a contribution by fellow Got Boofer; Matt Pascal!

My first ever shot at leading a club trip came this past Sunday, when 16 boaters agreed to put their faith in my guiding them from Albright, WV down the long and hearty Cheat River. To spoil the end of my report, this story ends well; the same 16 boaters cheerfully hoisted their crafts to their shoulders at the take out about 5 hours later while Steve Wang sheepishly admitted that he once was young and foolish enough to have jumped off the Jenkinsburg Bridge. I gasped and reminded him that it was “plumb crazy” for him to intentionally put himself into danger’s way (hint, foreshadowing).

Promptly at 9 am, we congregated at Little Sandy’s truck stop to perform the essential cognitive activity of the day: the shuttle. A mild headache later, five vehicles pulled out of the lot on their way to the take out while the remaining vehicles, their passengers, and 17 boats scattered about among the eternal revolving door of tractor trailers and pick up trucks.

A long shuttle drive later, we slipped into the orange waters of Muddy Creek and scraped down about 100 yards to the slightly less orange Cheat River. The group corralled at the confluence, and I told Jen “Stern Squirt” Raber that a level of 3.7 feet was juicy, To be clear, I told her, the Cheat was not high. but it was most definitely not low. Overhearing me, Dave Greenwald rolled his eyes and chuckled while first time cheat boater, Martin Wittmann, took a big gulp and peeled out in his itty bitty Jackson playboat.

I forgot most of the lines. Actually, to be precise, I never really knew them. But, really, who other than a veteran Cheat raft guide knows the lines through the dozens of unnamed Cheat rapids? Feeling a bit silly, I announced to the group that if I don’t announce a line or if the line doesn’t become entirely obvious as they approached rapids, then it was on the left. John Brady chuckled, though I believe he knew I was right.

And on went our crew. They bopped through countless nameless class 2 and 3 rapids, putting their confidence in me. For some strange reason, this confidence remained strong even after my little spat with Big Nasty.

Which, for the record, was Grease Fire’s fault.

After scouting and successfully navigating Big Nasty, our group congregated in the eddies on both sides of the run out of the notorious hole. Rob “Grease Fire” Mitchell and I have a history of getting each other into trouble, and this was exactly what I was up to when I first attempted a surf of the big hydraulic. “Worst case is you swim out of it” was part of my advice to the newbies above Big Nasty, and what I reiterated to myself upon pulling my boat into the surge. Quickly it spit me out with a strong denial, and – just as I expected – Rob was eager to make his attempt. His surf was similarly a non-surf. After getting similarly denied, he looked back at me and nodded, as if to say, “go for it.” And so I upped the ante and really dove into the hole.

Jason Hilton tells me my bow went deep into the hole and then swung hard into the foam pile for a few bow-to-stern cartwheels.

On my end, it was utter chaos. I had about 0.5 seconds of sense and began to set up a roll, but from there it was nothing but mayhem. Giving up relatively quickly, letting go of the paddle, and pulling the skirt typically ends with a big breath of air, but in this case the next thing that happened was an aquatic gaze up through several feet of pearly green water followed by more tumbling. It would be an uncomfortably long time before that gulp of air came. And, when I did come to the surface swimming aggressively, I opened my eyes only to find myself swimming upstream in the recirculating boil. I was at the top of the foampile staring down about 12 feet into the meat.

After I hacked up more Cheat River water than I wish to admit, I received a round of applause. It was then that I looked down to discover that the two Snickers bars I’d stashed in my PFD were gone. That damn hole literally ate my lunch.

I like to think of the Cheat as a very long chain of flatwater pools connected by about 30 rapids. Those pools make the collection of gear much more convenient when playboaters get stuck in holes and swim. It happens to lots of playboater all the time, and it happened to us on Sunday.

But, the real event came to life just above Pete Morgan’s rapid.

After scouting Coliseum, we set up safety with a rope on either side of the outflow and boaters in eddies. We did not want a swim out of Coliseum to turn into a swim through Pete Morgan. Moments later (okay, more like a half hour), after a successful run through the big rapid by all, we began to hop eddies to get a good look at Pete Morgan. Halfway there, I glanced back to see, for a split second, a rare triple side surf in three distinct adjacent holes. All three accidental sidesurfers looked calm, but they were all working hard to become unstuck. By the time I had jumped to shore with a rope, Jen had flipped in her hole only to right herself with a blown skirt. As water rushed into her boat it favored the stern cavity and by the time she was in the meat of Pete Morgan, Jen was paddling a swamped boat in an eternal stern squirt. Remarkably, her line was clean. She jumped out and began to swim while the rest of the group rounded up her gear.

With confidence high, the group chatted and laughed, telling tall tales through the final miles of runout below Pete Morgan. We returned to the put in soggy and tired and redistributed bodies and boats while Ralph Teter prepared his campground for CheatFest. Judging by the size of the fire he set to burn the rubble that accumulated over the winter, it appears that he’ll be ready.

The 2009 TRPC First Time Cheatin’ Trip included John Brady, Paul Eisner, Rick Gates, Dave Greenwald, Jason Hilton, Alan & Andre Kumonkowski, Jeff Lorimer, Ed McGuiness, Rob Mitchell, Jen Raber, Phil Raber, John Rudland, Steve Wang, Martin Wittman, and Matt Zeleznik.

Fantastic Trip Matt!