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Many people know the Gauley River from its reputation as on incredible river run with a 12 mile "Upper Gauley" and a 2 mile "Middle Gauley" and the 12 mile "Lower Gauley" all linked together near Summersville, West Virginia. What they are normally familiar with are the 2,500 cfs Gauley releases. Well, today, after a bunch of snow melted, and rain fell over the past few days, the river is running at 12,000 cfs and is wild!

The river becomes one long non-stop flow with many of the eddies gone and in the trees, and the major rapids stomping! Today was 65 degrees, humid, and the water was 40 degrees. This means FOG! Our visibility was so short that the only one who had run the river this high, Stephen, would dissapear into the fog long before we got an idea of what rapid we were in, never mind where he went, exactly! This added to the already heightened sense of anticipation that we had with the big water. We had already discussed that we didn’t need to scout anything, and that we would eddy out before Sweet’s Falls, Pillow Rock, and Lost Paddle to discuss our lines before heading into those big, fluffy, wet, foggy monsters. There were many awesome waves to catch on the fly, small waves, big holes, small holes, and ENDLESS macho moves, wave wheels, etc. to be had the whole way.

The Upper Gauley took us 1 hour and 45 minutes with a bathroom break, and playing on the way down.

Insignificant had an incredible wave on it. Pillow Rock was a wild ride down the left side trying to bust the "pillow" and then left of Volkswagon Rock, (more appropriately called "Mack Truck hole"), where the eddylines and swirlys were crazy behind Pillow Rock.

Iron Ring had two massive wave holes in the normal line, but we ended up making it right of both of them and only after passing by did we realize that we should have gone for them. (when you don’t scout, you miss somethings you might go for if you really looked at them).

Lost Paddle was a REALLY long rapid that went all the way to Tumble Home. i followed Stephen down and we hit some massive breakers but it wasn’t that hard in drops one and two, but got alot bigger in drop 3, and then got really big in Tumble Home. Dane found a big wave to surf in Tumble Home and didn’t show up for a minute after i eddied out, but came around the corner with a grin of a kid who just woke up on Christmas morning.

Sweet’s Falls is quite an impressive sight. There is an easy sneak down the far river left, but the middle line goes and it goes right into a massive diagonal breaking wave that looks like it is going to surf you into the pourover on the right. Instead it is just a big hit and a little downtime before coming out the back. The water doesn’t get flat though as "postage stamp" rock makes a huge hole and a move to river right is needed to avoid it.

the rest of the run was a mixture of huge wave trains, some incredible surfing waves, very little flatwater, and plenty of exercise in the final 14 miles!

the run is quite safe for paddlers, but not so safe for swimmers. A good skirt, a good roll, lots of energy, and good group dynamics can make for an incredible day on the Gauley at mega high water!