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By Nick Troutman

Well, if you don’t know already, most of the Southern States are in a drought. Here in Rock Island we got some rain last week, about 2 inches. The rain brought the lake up about 1-2 feet, but the lake is still around 8-10 too low.

Though with the rain we got, West Virginia also got some rain. This weekend there was plenty of water. So on Thursday night, Emily Clay, Stephen and myself packed up, and on Friday morning we headed to the high waters of the famous Gaulley River.

We arrived later Friday afternoon, with enough time to do an awesome run down the Gaulley at 10, 000 CFS. It only took us an hour and a half to do the whole upper, because the water was booking so fast. IT WAS AMAZING! We haven’t been paddling a ton, so it was awesome to get on the water, but man it was also sweet to play on the amazing waves and great holes. At high water there are also a ton of big water lines, punching through big holes, and surfing big waves.

When we got to the take out our shuttle driver told us that there was a serious accident and Clay’s truck had rolled down the hill. It was a bit of an ordeal trying to fix it. The tow-truck came later, and to our dismay had it ready to go the next day.

On Saturday the levels were still high, so we went down and did it all again, (except no rolling of Clay’s truck) and this time being we weren’t in a rush we played everything the whole way down. What a blast, we were so worn out by the time we got to the take-out.

Emily’s boat was in Clay’s truck, so she wasn’t able to meet up with us, until we got to the take out. Then Emily and I went and ran the middle section down to ‘Five Boat Hole’.
Emily and I played there for around 2 hours, until it started to get dark. Not realizing it, we had a pretty complicated hike to take-out in the dark. It took us around an hour and a half, to find a camp-site, take the trail to the road, and find the trail that then leads back down to the water, cross the river, find the road up, then find the van, all in the dark. It would have been impossible without headlamps. Luckily we made it out.

On Sunday we decided to just play at ‘Five Boat Hole’ and ‘Canyon Doors’. So we drove in and played the heck out of this little wave upstream, then played at Five Boat for a while, to finally realize that Canyon Door is one of the best play spots on the river. We again played until it got dark, working on tricky-woos, and phoenix monkeys, and back-loop mcnasty’s. I never got a back loop mcnasty but my back loops in general.

Monday was our last day on the water, and we were lucky enough to meet up with all the West Virginia boys, like Bryan Kirk and Bryan Jennings, Kelsey Thompson, and Carl Mossier. On Monday the level had dropped out, to the normal Gaulley release level. Again it was amazing. The whole weekend I had been working on down river tricky woo’s, and on Monday I could do them both ways pretty much every time. We ripped up every little hole you could find. My two favorite spots were probably the little hole on the right above iron ring, and the hole in the middle a couple rapids after sweets falls.

It was awesome that Tara (Carl’s girlfriend) ran our shuttle for us. Emily and I then loaded up the Westfalia and headed back to Tennessee, for what will be an amazing Thanksgiving dinner, thanks to Kristine.

Till next time,

Signing out,

Nick Troutman