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November 12, 2004

Green Race 2004 – cancelled but . ..

Due to recent rains, the Green has been running high
(200) as often as 100% this summer, making it tough for the non-locals
to drive in for practice. The locals, as well as a few out of towners
have been enjoying the higher water all year.

Due to the rains, not only could the level NOT run
100% as planned – 200% instead – but also natural water flowing in from
Big Hungry as well as other creeks gave us an estimated 250-300%! While
many were not even putting on, Friday’s ‘practice crew’ enjoyed smooth
transitions and fluffy curlers all the way down to Gorilla – which was
monsterous. We saw 2 boats go through, both spinning backwards twice but
making it back around in time to clean the holes at the bottom. At this
kind of level the ‘notch’ is still a crux, but you can boof off the left
wall, staying on the surface instead of the usual melt. The ‘Flume’ is
a 20′ freight train of water and every boat gets completely enveloped
between the walls all the way to where the ‘speed trap’ normally awaits.
While the ‘trap’ is washed out, a ‘secondary speed trap’ forms on the
right side at the lip of the next drop – where you need to bank left.
This could definitely mess you up for the rest of the rapid. The holes
that follow are some of the stickiest on the whole river and while ropes
get set left, the only exit is right. When a boater gets surfed here,
they normally swim towards ‘the happy place’: a walled out eddy on the
river right side where the lucky get stuff together. The not-so-lucky
hope someone chases their gear, cause it is headed towards destruction
in Nutcracker then Sunshine fast. No wonder so few paddlers gave it a
go! The race was officially cancelled.

8 boaters decided to ‘race’ anyway – some of the ‘locals’
being familiar with the 200% level after the long, wet summer. Tommy Hilleke
had the fastest time followed by Pat Keller and then Chris Young. Other
racers included Jason Hale, Austin Radclif, Scott Harke, and John Grace.
The rest of us enjoyed a couple more runs down the river while checking
out the ‘high water race lines’ and getting used to the extra ‘push’ the
rain-fed deluge delivers. While the Green doesn’t get run regularly much
above 200%, it’s surprisingly runnable and makes a great new game for
the Southeastern creekboater interested in stepping up to some larger
volume Western runs as found in Washington and California. Too bad about
the race, but a warm, sunny weekend of paddling pushy class 4-5 with many
of the best boaters in the East made for a damn cool trip.

A ‘rain-check’ date is Dec 11th, so that we’ll all
get our chance to race the toughest extreme race going in its 8th season.

Clay Wright