24 May, 2016

'Tis the Season for PFDs

Its been a busy couple of weeks! In a good way, a lot to talk about. A few weekends ago Alec and I headed west for the Green River. Our plan was to hit up the Upper Green then swing around and paddle the Lower Green. This would be Alec’s first time paddling the Upper Green and his first trip on a natural river outside of the Lower Green. He seemed pretty stoked to hit up the steeper drops of the Upper section. I was just pumped to get back on the river again.

After a quick shuttle, we were ready to drop into the water. Immediately Alec was able to tell the difference between the Upper and Lower. While the majority of rapids on the Upper are similar to those on the Lower, they begin sooner and appear much more frequent than on the Lower. It is fairly well paced and the first couple rapids give you a great chance to warm up for Bayless’ Boof (the first III+ rapid on the river). Like others before him, Alec noticed how much bigger the drop looks in person as opposed to in a video, but he ran both lines with confidence!
Alec's Personal First Descent of Bayless' Boof!

Derek dropping off of  Bayless' Boof backwards.
Alec's first time on Bayless' Boof's slide line!

Our trip was a huge success! Zero swims occurring- Alec managed to make it through the entire day without flipping, which was great for him since the water was a little cold and he didn’t have a Dry Top. By the time we got to Pinball (the second III+) he was super stoked to run it. He even went as far as to say it is one of, if not his favorite rapid he has ever run. After we finished we got out of our boats and began the steep hike uphill, passing a couple of paddlers who were planning on dropping into the Narrows (a section of river beyond either of our paddling abilities).

As we went to put into the Lower section of the Green, the same paddlers we saw hiking down to the Narrows were pulling off the river and struck up a conversation with us. After talking to them for 15 minutes I had built the confidence to huck into the bottom most section of the Narrows and run the last major rapid of the section, Hammer Factor. Alec and I took time to scout the rapid out and set him up as a river guard with his throw rope handy, just in case. I was breathing heavy as I slid into the water so I could control my breathing. After lining up I dropped through the first chute and began my descent down the diagonal slide that pushes you direction into a massive undercut boulder. One failed roll attempt, and one successful roll later I was in the pool below the rapid. It was my first time running a Class V rapid.

A video posted by Derek Dellinger (@dndelli) on

Hammer Factor wasn’t the only first new and exciting thing I have been given the chance to try out recently. As Evan said I did get the chance to go visit him in Morrisville and climb at TRC for the first time with my friends Keisei and Dustin. I think it was a great and positive experience for all of us. I was also able to clock in a new Personal First Descent of a river I scouted out earlier in the year, the Deep River. It is extremely rain dependent so I had to wait for the weather to be right.

If I am being honest, I had pretty much given up on the idea of running it because it was only flowing at 1.65ft, just barely within its runnable range. I really wanted it to be closer to 2.0ft. But Dustin called me after he got off work and asked if it was a no go. After talking to him for like 3 minutes I made the gut call to just go check it out. Within twenty minutes I had all my kayaking gear loaded and his fishing equipment and been packed away in my car, and at the river 30 minutes after that. It turned out to be a successful trip for both of us. I got an up close and personal look at the rapids and Dustin caught a few fish. The first fish he has ever caught on a river. (Dustin is the owner of the YouTube channel WhatTheYak and has been consistently putting out videos the past few months.) Here is a short video highlighting my experiences of the trip.

While only 0.2 miles in length and only containing 3 named rapids, it was definitely some of the best whitewater near my apartment in Greensboro. I would really enjoy running it at around 2.5-3.5 feet. In my 3 laps of the Deep River I could tell there were an incredibly large number of lines that could be run in higher water. The entire identity of the river would shift as well. It would probably change from a Class II+ river to Class III, possibly even Class IV! Hopefully I will get the chance to head back out there (maybe with Alec) and see how the river looks in higher water.

If I am keeping score, and I am, that is a Personal First Descent of Hammer Factor and the Deep River this year, with plans to travel to the Ocoee River to visit a friend, Meryl within the next week or so.

No comments:

Post a Comment