Thursday, March 29, 2007

New River Dries - Aerial Kayaking Mecca

Adam on the Bottom Right wave on Day 2
CLICK HERE to watch the New River Dries Video

There is something about the Dries of the New River. I cannot explain it. Whenever the Dries run, the decision of whether or not to go becomes almost automatic. I remember waiting on the rock for my turn on the wave, looking out at the massive amount of brown water flowing down the river, and thinking, "Wow, this place is rad."
David Finney surfing the Beast

Earlier that weekend I had been doing some creeking. On Friday, we had a mission to a *tiny* creek called Quarry Creek, which is located just outside of Morgantown WV. As of 3/15/2007, Quarry Creek is almost completely choked with wood. At about 400fpm, it would be a great creek to paddle, but, at this point, bring a chainsaw and not a boat. In four hours, we covered maybe 1 mile of whitewater and paddled a total of 6 rapids. Most of the trip consisted of hiking with boats through rhododendron hell, over, under, and around logs, trees, rocks, ice, snow--we had it all. Although not a total loss, there was one slide that was not choked with wood (it being the only rapid without any wood all day). It had a cool first part that dropped at a 30 degree angle, then it went into about a 7 foot drop, whereupon you had to boof and get right over the shallow part of the slide in order to avoid being pushed into a crack then sliced by a big, vertical flange of rock. A cool drop. Shortly afterwards, the wood choked hell ensued.
Adam Blunts on Day three @ 30 grand
Saturday we decided to paddle the North Fork of the Blackwater. The North Fork is paddling in West Virginia as the Green is paddling in North Carolina (or the Little White in Oregon, for that matter). It is consistent class V, lots of vertical and a good amount of slides. Additionally, there is even a 30 footer to make the run even more rich. A truly classic run.
Snowing and 30 degrees, a great day
After paddling the North Fork of the Blackwater, many were going to do a second lap. I had decided that I was going to check the gauges and see what was running. It was a little late, about 1 pm, but when I saw the dries gauge at 76,000 CFS, the decision was made: go to the dries.
New River Dries @ 75 G's

It took about three and some change hours to get to the dries. I arrived at 5pm, with just enough time to get a few rides in at the big level before it got dark (sorry, only a clip to show for that).
Oh yeaah!

The rest of the weekend we stayed at the Dries. The following day it was below freezing and snowing, so we built a fire that saved ourselves from being cold. All in all, a great couple of days.
Fire gives hope
Adam way out in the green.
On Saturday, Dave Finney brought my Astro 58 with him to the Dries. I have to admit that I dig that boat. Not too different from the 54, just a good bit faster, but it still has the uncanny ability to not only sail down the face of a wave, but also launch upward at the very same time. The above pic was taken with the 58 on a green, flat wave (as you can see). Truly an incredible feeling.
Clean Bluntin'
To check out the New River Dries Video, version 1, CLICK HERE (10.5mb)
Low res Here (2.9mb). Big thanks to all those who videoed and huge thanks to those who put me up over the weekend.

Back to the grind. See you on the water,
-Adam Johnson

ps- Well, I'll be humbled. The Dries came in *again* two weeks after I originally wrote this post. Stay tuned in April for "Dries: Amped Volume II -- Bigger and Better". Peaceout!

No comments: