Monday, October 04, 2004

Linville- Post Flood Report

To watch video part 1 from Linville Flood Report (10.6 MB Quicktime)=>
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To watch video part 2 from Linville Flood Report(13.6 MB Quicktime)=>
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The first river highlighted in this Blog was the Linville Gorge. The river had spiked to an unusually high 7,000 cfs, this dramatic rise was caused by a localized thunderstorm event, and was seen as flow anomaly for August.

Little did we know, but a series of tropical events would follow, making this event seem like an everyday occurrence. The scope of the REAL anomalies that would pulse through this ancient river in the weeks to follow was nearly incomprehensible. First there was Frances, dumping nearly 20 inches of rain in the headwaters of the river. Forcing the river to rage to over 36,000 cfs, scouring the gorge, rerouting the streambed and destroying property.

The USGS graph from Frances

Historical peak flows for the Linville

Of note here is that this graph represents 85 years of data, and that during the first 3 weeks of September the river reached flows of 7,000, 36,000 and 22,000 cfs.

A house sheared off its foundation when the Linville tore through a series of Islands near the takeout in Nebo, NC.

Next up was Ivan, dumping another 17 inches of rain into the highlands of North Carolina.

Ivan’s fury caused the river to once again crest at an unimaginable flow of over 20,000 cfs.
The picture below was taken during this flood.

Compared with this image at low flow, you can see the mutation this place takes on. One can only imagine what it looked like with over twice the flow, merely a week prior.

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

Well, with a busted gauge and another tropical storm passing through, we headed down to check out the damage. The flow was a perfect old 1.9, and the weather was soothingly warm.

As we walked down the mile long Babble Tower Trail, the evidence of the flood began to appear. As we neared the river, the creek we hike down was blown out of its banks and a large rubble pile blocked the old outflow, forming a large pool and diverting the creek upstream to meet the river.

There were lots of scar marks, rising up to about 15 feet above the normal water line, and the trees were cleared of their foliage up to this mark.

Video=>Flood Damage (7.9 MB Quicktime)=>
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A large mudslide in the lower section of the river.

The river changed a little bit here and there, mostly for the better, sometimes for the worse.

Here is a shot of Babble Tower, the first falls on the river.

The first of the ‘Big 3’ is Drunk Tank. The Tank has a tricky entrance, big hole, and two opposing undercut walls, each forcing a jet of water into the other.

To watch video of Drunk Tank (2 MB Quicktime)=>
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Some random rapid.

Carving the middle S in ‘S-Trun”

One of the coolest rapids on the river is “The Cave” drop. The meat of the flow goes through hell on the middle and right sides of the river. A sneak is possible on the river left. Typically accessed by portaging the sketchy top drop (flushes into hell), and crawling through a cave and paddling out onto a long ‘elevator’ slide. Due to the flooding, the cave is now closed for business. You must run the top, and it takes a good bit of skill to turn and catch the elevator.
To watch video of Cave (2.1 mb)=>
Click Here

Here is a sequence of Toby sticking the transfer.

Nate Elliot Clearing out of the top hole @ Dr. Zeuss

The third big drop, Hommie’s Slot, changed the most out of all the significant rapids. It was reported to us that the boil in the cauldron was too strong to paddle out of and many swims were referenced to hold credibility to said report.

A new line, over what used to be the sieve on river left, was mentioned.
Howard Tidwell running left.

To watch video of Hommie Left (3 MB QT)=>
Click Here

Haven totally eaten shit here on our most recent trip (see Linville post below) Toby was forced to give the main line a go. The battle was reminiscent of Fight Club, and thus the name of the drop was changed until conditions improve.

Toby, breaking in the re-named Hommie’s Slot.

To watch video of Toby’s first battle with ‘Fight Club’ (5.6 MB QT)=>
Click Here

Forced to follow Toby, stepping into the ring…

To watch video of Daniel fight clubbing it out of the pit (4.6 mb QT)>
Click Here

The last Big drop on the middle river is Cathedral Falls

To watch video of Cathedral (6.3 mb QT)=>
Click Here

The rest of the river we kept the camera stashed and paddled solidly to the takeout. There was a good bit of stream redirecting in the lower, with huge piles of lumber stacked 20 and 30 feet high, really reminiscent of Mt Rainer flood plains.

On the way up old 105 we saw some Bear Hunters cruising for a scent.

Video of the Bear Dogs=>
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