Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Noah Comes to WNC

On this day, Wedensday the 8th of September, the biblical man himself made an apperance in the highlands of Western North Carolina. He came in the form of Hurricane Francis, delivering up to 16 inches of rain in the region and causing widespread flooding throughout the mountain counties.

We new it was coming. The big flood that is…

After the saturating rains of last week (see Linville Gorge report below), the above shown NOAA 120 hr predictions left a slim-to-none chance that the WNC area would get off with anything less than mass wasting, floods, destruction, property and agricultural losses.

Well, if you thought that the 7,000 cfs flowing through the Linville Gorge last week was a lot, just imagine what 35,000 looked like.

(Wednesday Morning: facing a 6pm flight out of Atlanta to Vancouver, see or=> Click Here )

I awoke @ 6:30 am to head out to Transylvania County, NC to film Pat Keller and Austin Rathman running the large, and seldom flowing, Looking Glass Falls.

To watch pat run the falls=>
Click Here

To watch Austin Run the Falls=>
Click Here

On the way back to Asheville, I received a number of messages from folks at Riverside Industrial Park (home of Astral Buoyancy and Watershed), each more and more alarmed. It seemed that the French Broad River was escaping its banks at a rapid pace.

The messages went something like this:

“Ahhh, Daniel, you better get down here and move your Subaru, the river is at the top of your tires”

-Scott Albright

**I had been storing my second car in the parking lot next to the river.

“Daniel, this is Justyn at Watershed, we need you to come get your care before the river does”

“Daniel, its Scott, Dude, your car is loosing, are you coming to get it?”

“Daniel, this is Phillip, we are currently tying your car to a telephone pole, but its 4 feet from current and its not looking good, where are you bro?”

-Phillip Curry

“Dude, its at the top of your door handles, better hurry up.”

Pat and I raced to the scene and this is what we found

To watch video of the extraction, death and draining of the ‘Ruu’ Click Here

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The Linville Gorge

On Wednesday night of September 1st, a torrential downpour delivered between 4 to 6 inches of rain in the highland watershed of North Carolina’s Ultra-Classic, Linville River.

The river reached an incredible high of 7,000 cfs (nearly unheard of) and presented a great opportunity to test out our new boats loaded with gear.

photo courtesy of Jerry Greer Photography, to visit his site Click Here

The Linville, an expeditionary, used-to-be multiday, class V run, remains one of the top bigger river (i.e. not a steep boney creek) Wilderness Runs on the East Coast. First pioneered back in the late 70’s, the run and the 100’s of rapids remain somewhat shrouded in mystery and legend.

photo courtesy of Jerry Greer Photography, to visit his site Click Here

The Plan:
To hike in at Babble Towers (45 minutes from the rim to the river) this is the start of the gradient and cuts off the 3.5 miles of easier class III-IV below the classic Linville Falls.

We would then run the heart of the gorge and hike out at Conley Cove (1 hard ass hour straight up hill from river to rim). We would then rally backup to the top of the river, load up our overnighter gear and put back on the river, this time at the falls. We would then paddle down for a bit and pick out a prime campsite and paddle out in the morning.

What Happened:

We hiked in, put on, had a great run, and got beat down hiking up the hill. Facing a falling river and an impending 2 weeks sleeping out in the BC wilds, we decided to call it a day and head for the comforts of home.

Here is a widescreen video highlight reel of the day.
Click Here

The rapids, in order of appearance, are:
Babble Tower, Jailhouse and Homie’s Slot
Paddlers were: Brad Kee, Brent Meadows, Toby MacDermott, Andy Dodson, Nate Helms, and Daniel DeLaVergne