Select Page


By John McConvill

South East tour (Warm Up)
Location: Somewhere in IL driving North
Date: April 15 2009

Mann’s, Meadow, Mill my 3 favorite M’s. After flying in from California, Andy McMurray and I loaded up and took off to West Virginia to nock off some of the rust built up from the winter.

7 days, 9 rivers, 11 sections… and on heck of a "Warm Up" for the Midwest creek season off the shores of Lake Superior! We arrived in WV with the levels primed from a storm the week before. A low water run on Mill creek, and an epic play level on the New river was more than entertaining for day 1. Day 2 put us back on the New for a perfect morning play session with Brian Kirk and Brian Jennings. After throwing down the play boats for a bit, Andy and I later met up with Todd Richendollar for some afternoon Lower Meadow action. The legendary Lower Meadow was flowing at a proper 1,200 cfs and packed quite a punch with plenty of big holes and pushy water. Reaching the takeout all excited and wet, the rain gods covered the sky’s with dark clouds and started to Gush out water! With hopes and dreams of rising rivers, we slept well anticipating the day to come.

Raining through the night, we woke the next morning to perfect WV conditions. Sunny and warm out, we arrived at Mill creek to find it still rising. Shane Grooves and Brian Kirk were both there at the puttin already half dressed and ready to creek. Within mins, the 4 of us were heading down the ultra classic WV creek with a great flow. Two laps later the gears had shifted and we we’re relocating to another WV classic…

Mann’s creek, from the words of Andy McMurray "Every Reason you should walk a rapid, then you go ahead and run it!" Shane Grooves, Andy and myself started down the creek, boofing pour overs, ducking logs, and missing sieves by inches. Mann’s Creek is the true definition of "The Goods" when it comes to WV boating.

Day 4, Dawn patrol with Todd Richendollar. Still itching for more Mann’s Creek Todd and I boomed down for our early morning fix of whitewater. (Kind of like coffee but way better!) After working up an appetite from Mann’s, Andy, Todd, and I decided to head North to the Blackwater for an afternoon serving of whitewater. The root beer colored water of the Blackwater reminded Andy and I of the weeks to come up North on the Shore’s of Lake Superior. On the flip side of things, rivers up North were still frozen and we were getting wet and wild to the fullest in WV. As if things couldn’t get any better, the next morning Todd, Andy and I ran down the Big Sandy. Another WV favorite of mine, the Big Sandy comes complete with 2 great waterfalls.

Back on the road with new idea’s and a full tank of gas, Andy and I headed South to Tennessee. Meeting up with Clay Wright and Justin Owen, our adventure continued with a group 1st decent of Clifty Creek. Owen had been spotting this one out for years, all he needed was some rain and a few friends. Lucky for us, it had just rained! Boofing our way down Clifty creek, we ended up flowing into the Canny Fork at a stomping level. Good stuff!!!

Reaching the takeout of the Canny Fork marked the end of our South Eastern "Boof or Die" kayaking mission. The South East Rocked! Warmed up and ready to go, Andy and I drove North. Back to a place few have traveled, where the water is root Beer colored, and the soul of the shore flows deep in our blood. Duluth Minnesota, here we come…

Click to see larger imageClick to see larger imageClick to see larger imageClick to see larger imageClick to see larger imageClick to see larger imageClick to see larger imageClick to see larger imageClick to see larger imageClick to see larger imageClick to see larger imageClick to see larger image