Yakdaddy’s River Ramblings

My journal of river runs and repository for the various water related thoughts of my oft distracted mind…whitewater from my perspective.

Archive for the '2008 Trip Reports' Category

Pride goeth before the swim…

Posted by yakdaddy on 23rd May 2008

Nolichuky – April 6, 2008 – 1900 cfs

It was a beautiful Sunday in early April and I’d finally arranged to demo Wesley’s new Jackson SuperHero. The sun was shining, temps were in the low 70′s, and the Noli was running 1800-2000 cfs of yoohoo colored fun – the most water I’d seen in the Nolichucky in over a year! I commented on the nice flow and Shane mentioned how nice it was. He said he’d even had some excitement at Jaws… “watch out for that pocket on surfer’s left, it gets really sticky at these levels…”

Later, as I was adjusting the seat position and hip pads in the demo boat, Dan Thomas strolls up and asks:

“You gonna put your float bags in that boat?”

“Dan,” I replied as I shrugged off his question, “it’s only the Nolichucky…”

An hour later, we’d had nice runs of Entrance and On the Rocks and were sitting in line at Jaws. In due time, I paddled over the boil and enjoyed 2 or 3 quick surf-flip-flush-roll combos (my signature playboating combo). My third time eventually found me locked into a stubborn side surf that typewritered me over to that river-right pocket Shane had mentioned. Sure enough, it was really sticky at these levels and absolutely refused to let me go. I tried to force the bow down into the oncoming water to blast out but ended up just powerflipping. Plan B was to hang out upside down for a bit so that I’d flush out but, much to my dissappointment, I rolled up right where I’d started and the rodeo continued. I surfed some more and paddled hard for river left but flipped again – rolled up in the hole, AGAIN. At this point, I’m getting winded and a bit worried about hurting my shoulder if this goes on much longer. I looked over said shoulder at the eddy crowd hoping somebody would offer some advice or maybe even a rope. The carnage vultures just sat there grinning because they knew what was coming, and the fist pumpers kept on cheering cause… I don’t know what they were thinking… maybe they thought I still had a chance? Eventually, I flipped for the last time and held my breath for a few seconds and actually flushed out without realizing it – whiffed a couple of half hearted roll attempts and punched out in the outflow… only to be greeted at the shore by Mr. Thomas grinning from ear to ear and commenting – “that boat seems to be floating kinda low… ”

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Good times at the pool…

Posted by yakdaddy on 17th April 2008

Took Josh and Abby to the pool session in Johnson City Tuesday and a good time was had by all.  Josh had been many times in the past, but this was Abby’s first time.  Since my 7-year old daughter seems to be my best bet at raising a boater, I was really hoping the evening would go well.

 As she wedged into her brother’s green Fun1, I was a bit concerned that she might have some difficulty wet-exiting but my fears were unfounded.  I launched her into the pool and before I even got in the water, she’d paddled across the shallow end, chased her brother (who was swimming), flipped over and wet exited without even getting the top of her head wet.  Best of all – she was grinning and trying to get back in before we’d even gotten the boat to the side.

Josh tried out Wesley’s demo Sidekick and really liked it.  He was moving much faster, sitting more comfortably, and appeared to be less ‘tippy’ than in the Fun1.  I guess he and Abby have both outgrown the good ole Fun1.  Josh asked if we could get the Sidekick and I told him we’d have to see about selling the Fun1 first.  Luckily, he didn’t bring up the fact that I’ve got more than one boat!

Later, Abby tried the Fun 1 1/2 and really liked it.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that the boat was pink!  The boat was a bit big on her, but it wouldn’t take her long to grow into it.  She scooted all around the pool and I never once saw her look like she might flip (can’t say the same of her time in the Fun1).

 Looks like our good ole fun1 may soon be replaced with a sidekick!

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Wind Surfing the Nolichucky – Feb 2008

Posted by yakdaddy on 17th February 2008

Feb. 10, 2008 -
Nolichucky Wind Surfing

Met up with Dan, Hugh, and Lou at Rushing Waters Outfitters to get in a Sunday afternoon Noli Gorge run.  With the river running about 900 cfs and the sun playing hide and seek on the overcast low 40′s day, we threw the boats in/on Hugh’s truck and headed up to Poplar with Hannah along to shuttle the truck back down.  We unloaded Lou’s IK (Lynx), Dan and Hugh’s Rockers, and my 4Fun and headed down to the riverbank. 

The time was 1:40 pm as we slid into the water and worked our way down to Entrance/Last Chance.  About halfway down the rapid (right where things start to get exciting) we get our first taste of the crazy wind that was to become our semi-constant companion throughout the afternoon.  As I crested the wave to cut left toward the bottom of the rapid, the wind blew more than a mouthful of water right into my face.  Everyone was paddling great and good lines or rolls were had by all at On the Rocks.  I caught about 5 seconds worth of surfing at Jaws and was just happy to flush off right side up. 

Things got interesting at Quarter Mile when Lou swam at second drop.  He made a good effort, but missed the RL eddy and ended up flushing/swimming right into Hungry Jack rock.  It looked really painful but he insisted it wasn’t too bad.  I was right behind him trying to make sure he was OK and ended up nearly dropping in on him.  He climbed up onto a midstream rock.  Dan roped him into the next RL eddy and I wrangled his IK into the next eddy, but his paddle was nowhere to be seen.  We probably spent about 30 minutes looking up and down that huge rapid trying to find Lou’s paddle with zero luck.  Eventually Dan broke out his breakdown while I headed downstream to see if the missing paddle was floating off toward Erwin without us.  This was my first experience finishing out a class III/IV rapid solo.  Once I got past Murphy’s ledge even the flatwater seemed different without any paddling partners along – I don’t know if I’d want to try that style of boating anytime soon.  Then again, it was incredibly serene.  I stopped upstream of Rooster Tail to wait for the guys and then we dropped in to the last wind-free rapid of the day. 

From there on out we experienced roughly 20+ mph headwinds intermittently all the way down to just before Lost Cove / Railroad Wall.  As we came into the last bend before Lost Cove, the wind easily doubled – to the point that it felt like it might blow us back under the ledge if we got a good boof.  Ridiculous.  In the pool between Lost Cove and Sousehole, Dan mentioned something about how hardcore our bunch was to head to the river with the wind advisories in effect as they were.  (I made a mental note to always check for wind advisories before heading to the
Nolichucky again.)

After a great little creek line to the right of Maggie’s rock we began fighting a newly revitalized air opponent.  It was a bit of a struggle down to Twin Eddies but dropping into the crease at the bottom and getting flipped in the hole made it all worth while – good times! 

The crazy wind continued to push us to the river right bank and/or upstream all the way down to the Chestoa takeout.  Finally, as we came around the final bend and laid eyes on the Rushing Waters takeout.  I found myself chuckling because the wind had finally stopped and the sun had come out.  We were looking at a beautiful last ¼ mile to finish out a tiring afternoon.  As I prepared to voice my thoughts, our group was buffeted by what must have been a near-60 mph gust blasting across the river from right to left!  The wind was so strong that Hugh was completely blown over and had to roll up.  I heard this second hand because I was busy bracing off the river bottom and trying to hip snap my planing hull down out of the wind and back onto the water. 

We all hurriedly paddled down to the take out and loaded up our boats to head for home.  I cranked up my pickup so that it would be warm as I started for home.  As I looked for my dry clothes, I realized I’d left them in the garage when I was loading everything up – bummer.  Fortunately, I’d stayed dry and didn’t mind heading home in my boating layers.  As I hopped out of the truck to shake hands with the guys before taking off, another gust of wind blew my truck door closed.  My spirits sank as I looked at the locked and running truck but I put on a happy face and confessed my dilemma to the guys.  I borrowed Dan’s cellphone to call Tonya and have her o call AAA for me (my card was locked in the truck with my keys and everything else). 

The guys made sure I had help on the way and then headed out to the various states they called home.  I made my way over to Uncle Johnny’s AT hostel to ask if would be alright to wait for the locksmith there (in a heated space).  The young lady who invited me in to watch the hockey game with her and CB was named
Elizabeth and, as it turned out, was a bit of an expert on the topic of Lost Cove, NC.  They politely asked how the river trip was and as I recounted how hard the wind was blowing at Lost Cove, I paused and asked them if they’d ever been there.  Turns out, they’d not only been there, but
Elizabeth had put up a website recounting their trip there.  Check it out at: http://www.freewebs.com/lostcove/

After a nice discussion of the Lost Cove settlement/community, the locksmith arrived and opened up my little blue paid-for
Toyota pickup.  After a very sincere ”Thank You”, I hopped in a nice warm truck which had been warming up for about 45 minutes at that point.  All in all – a great and really unique day on the good ole Noli.


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