Thursday, April 16, 2009

Blue Ridge Mountains Finally Get Some Water!

Robert Bone, true spirit.

It must not be easy living in Asheville these days, well there is the Green, but mostly North Carolinians had been missing out on the seemingly weekly deluges that were gracing the TN/AL area for much of the new year. Finally things started getting pumped up, and with all the sandstone we had been paddling, it was decided that a week of paddling in North Carolina was just what would hit the spot.

A beautiful Sunday and everything on the AW page for North Carolina was blue and green. Choices are difficult during these circumstances. Ultimately it always get narrowed down to Linville or Raven Fork, with Jocassee sometimes mixing into the final group. Since Jim had never done Jocassee and Keith had never done Overflow, we settled on a double play down in the highlands.

We hit Overflow at a nice low level, and narrowly squeezed ahead of the hugest crowd I have ever seen on a creek like that. There must have been a hundred people out there.

Anyway, Overflow is one of the best creeks in the southeast, and could be the prettiest. We had ample time to hitch back up to the car and then work our way over to the Horsepasture.

With a flow of 0.3 on the gauge, the Horsepasture was at a good medium low level. We put on at 4pm at an undisclosed location that allowed passage over the sweet and oh so fast Bust Yer Butt falls, and then knocked the run out in an hour and a half. We hiked out in the dark, totally beat. We saw some other people looking for a certain member of the West Asheville 84 Lumber Contingent, who was reportedly missing in action on the hike out. Seems like everytime I am over there someone loses the way!

Later in the week I managed to get a solo Linville run at low water, which was a great workout. 3.5 miles of jogging, 1 mile hike in, 5 miles of boating and 1.5 miles of hike out in 3 1/2 hours. I was beat. It was 1.8 feet, which was minimal flow. I think 2.0 is a better low end, with 2.3 being solid and anything over 2.5 high water.

Finally, the next weekend, we opted to just settle on running the Raven Fork, which always seems like an easy and obvious option, but every time ends up being an unbelievable day. The cat is out of the bag and has been for some time, but I have to say again, Raven Fork is the best creek in the east.

We hiked in at a new location, spurring off of the Enloe Creek trail to put on half a mile upstream of the iron bridge. You get a little class 3-4 warm up for the stouts right below the bridge and more great scenery.

The Raven Fork from Enloe bridge down to Lord of the Rings is fantastic boating and great scenery. The first drop, I think it is called "All Riled Up" is a great rapid.

A sequence of shots of the 3 drops of Riled Up, from one vantage point

There is one portage due to wood being in there as long as I can remember, but otherwise the rapids are a delightful mix of boofs, sliding ledges, and boulder drops.

A fun slot drive

One of the best boofs in the SE!

Jim ran Fluffy, which is for sure one of the sickest drops on the whole river.

We always knew Jim was a fluffer.

Things got interesting at Anaconda, and while the video doesn't indicate this, there was an inaugural "sans boat" run of Headless. Note to self, always keep the camera running, even if you ARE worried someone is going to die! (Joke)

Here is some video from a few of these runs. Enjoy!

Overflow / Raven Fork from Kirk Eddlemon on Vimeo.

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