Friday, January 26, 2007

Winter in West 'by god' Virginia

Early January has been a good time here in West Virginia. The weather was seasonably warm, with temperatures around 50 to 60 degrees. I, along with a couple of friends, were lucky enough to paddle Otter Creek.

Watch the "Winter in West Virginia" vid (5.75mb)

Otter Creek is a 9 miles long and takes a good amount of water for it to run. It also has a bit of a hike in (the best of all hikes), varying (depending on how much water there is) from 500 yards to 2 miles. This run is one of the ultimate "source to mouth" runs in WV. It starts as a small stream, and flows all the way down to the Dry Fork of the Cheat.

There is about 3 miles of bushwacking and portaging over down trees until the rapids steadily increase from class II to class IV-V. Somewhere after it starts to pick up, you come across a distinct horizon line, marking the entrance to the steeps. This is Otter Creek Falls, pictured below.

Nori Onishi on Otter Creek Falls, ~10' onto rocks.

After Otter Creek Falls, it continues to drop for the next 3 miles with lots of class IV boulder drops with various class V drops strewn in between. The last part of the river slowly boils its way down from IV to II before you reach the Dry Fork of the Cheat River.

Otter Creek runs through the Otter Creek Wilderness area, which gives you a truly unique wilderness experience. A virtually untouched and pristine West Virginian creek which runs through a beautiful deciduous gorge.

I found the Magnum to be the boat of choice for this creek; I was able to boof with ease and run every rapid with the confidence that I could hit my lines. The Magnum is truly an awesome creeker for everything--big and small.

Included are a few photos from a bit of wave boating following the day on Otter Creek. Enjoy!

A big thanks goes out to Max Harbert for the Otter Creek Video, thanks bud!

Watch the "Winter in West Virginia" vid (5.75mb)

Watch the "Winter in West Virginia" vid, low res (.8mb)

See you on the River!

-Adam Johnson

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