Monday, October 19, 2009

Over the gradient the water will flow!

Man 2009 just keeps givn. The last month has been spectacular. It all started mid September with an afternoon flash that would supply water to the Dragons Lair of Falling Water. The next morning I left bright and early for an 11 day trip to Arizona where I felt like I had made the ultimate sacrifice as torrential rains and flood would sweep through the south east the entire time I was gone. Upon returning from a 30 hour cross country drive, I immediately started for the smokies to cash in on the ultra classic Raven Fork. The previous trip to the Raven had yielded a run on the infamous Big Boy however it did not call to me this day and it felt good to portage. The next couple of days would be spent riding around with Will Pruett on Triple Falls, The Green Narrows, and an excellent ride in a big wheel at a perfect hell hole at surge all by myself.

The next week would start with a trip to Rock Island ,where I try my hardest to keep it ninja. The following day resulted in a Bear run at 12"( I have decided the Bear is it),where me and Taylor Martin were the only two Chattanoogans to cash in on the run. That same day I found Rock Creek too low to run ,but not too low to park n' huck the sweet 25 footer. The next day would see a run on LRC at 7'' with a huck on the falls (what a sweet move) giving way to a leisure afternoon. The next day was spent at Rock Island where I wore my ninja smile all the way to the end.

Again the next week would start big, but end huge. A car ride to the Bear with fellow charger Taylor Martin yielded a flow of 14", the call was made and JIB rallied numbers(once again the Bear is it). A run on Johnies the next day would put us at the LRC for a park n' huck. Afterwards an impromptu visit to scout Desoto falls would start the ball rolling on a gigantic Wednesday. Sleep was lost over the majestic waterfall that had called my name and I woke the next morning knowing that flows were abundant and the mission to huck was mine for the taking. Seeing that flows were over 1000 cfs the plan was too huck the LRC 30 foot line at 6000cfs while waiting for Desoto to drop in that afternoon.

Kurt Lamberth and Taft Sibley were fired up about the day of waterfalls and we made our way south. Arriving at LRC we found rowdy water, Matt Wallace and Jeff West scouting, and the day growing old. There was so much boil at the bottom of the falls that we were all able boof into its pillow. After spending a good bit of time at the falls the whole group made haste towards the potentially massive huck. A call was made to Burl Master Bryce Evans that confirmed a dropped level of 753 cfs. With nerves wired but still stoked from the 30 footer we rolled up to a massive waterfall under heavy fog and dusk setting in. I usually like to huck big under blue sky's and sunshine but my focus was intent and the line that lay before my eyes more beautiful than I had ever seen before. There it lie the enormous double tiered waterfall that opened up a massive domed amphitheatre. The top drop of 15 feet lands in a boil that pushes forward and right creating two planes that fold at the lip and funnel together brilliantly dropping 73 feet and blowing out the landing as if there were hurricane trapped amongst the arena sized amphitheatre. I made the call quick, as day light was limited, and put in on the river right below the low head dam. With support and ninja time approval pounds from the boys I shoved off into a small wave that would surf me to the middle flow. My favorite and craziest sensation of kayaking, theres no turning back. Aiming for a long flake at the lip of the 15 footer I paddled across the flow and at the crux found myself bottoming out with all speed lost on the outcropping rock. I pitched forward off the lip and dreaded a piton when somehow the bow of the nomad scooped out and I found myself pointing left on the boil line. Turning her around quick and focused I found my self taking the most sure strokes of my paddling existence as I winged the boat towards the lip on my left edge all the way into vert were I found myself melting the crease and tucked hard leaning right just as planned. Fully immersed I soon felt an amazing disconnection that left the anticipation of impact lingering. Boom, impact was hard ripping the paddle from my hands, imploding my skirt, and giving way to a swim. Back to reality I found myself floating in the water, my bros waving there arms, their cheers of excitement echoing through the amphitheatre along side the thunder of the falls, and myself staring up at a massive structure of energy suspended in motion. By the time I made it to the bank it seemed as if all light had escaped the domed gorge. I could barely make out the people atop the falls and was forced to hand paddle out, leaving my paddle somewhere around the base of the falls. Wow what a way to top off 3 weeks of paddling hard in warm fall conditions amongst the lush foliage of the South East. Keep up the Charge!

Due to a broken video camera and horrible lighting the only images of the falls are those that exist in the minds of the 5 paddlers that decided to attend to the huck, myself included.

Found a news wright up on the Kings trip-

Check out Wills blog and vid of our Falling Water trip along with the burliest Toxaway footage I've ever seen-