Got Boof – World Kayak

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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

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