On Friday the 27th of April 2012 we finally left for our first roadtrip in the US! Our destination, the NEW RIVER DRIES!
The drive took us around 5 hours, which in American standards is quiet a short distance and can be done for a one day trip (although with a faster car, as it then “just” takes around 4 hours ;-)… As we find the waves we surprisingly just meet three other paddlers in the eddies, but as the day progesses more and more paddlers flok in. Among them Matt Sloan, a good friend of Seth, who is just about to start his internship with one of the biggest Outdoor Adventure vacation resorts at the New River (Adventures on the Gorge). The surf at the Put In Waves of the New River Dries was awesome at the level of 43.000 cfs!
On saturday we have levels between 35.000 and 30.000 cfs.
During the night to sunday the levels sank rapidly to about 21.000 cfs and the waves slowly start to disappear during the day.
On monday we paddle the whole New River Dries playrun, at 17.000 cfs, which has many great playspots on the way.
On Tuesday Charlie Watt (a kayak instructor with River Rock & Trail Outfitters and Class VI which are part of Adventures on the Gorge, and a great guy to hook up with if you need local beta or want to hire an kayak-instructor) and Paul Griffin (a local video-boater with AOTG, always keen to capture your raft-experiences on film) take me down to paddle Mill Creek with them. Mill Creek is a small tributary to the New River.
After Mill Creek Sarah Mullens, Charlies`girlfriend, takes us down the New River gorge at around 15.000 cfs. The run is a pure big water experience or rather bigwater fun and with the warm water and tropical climate (over 30 degrees celsius!) we feel like back on the White Nil in Uganda! The take-out is just below the very famous steel arch bridge, actual the longest in the western hemisphere. She covers the whole gorge in a height of around 270 m and she is roughly one kilometer long!
The next two days are spent on the Surprise-Wave, a rapid above Cunard, which is the putin for the Gorge-run.
As we get there for the first time we are greeted with a long queue in the eddy as the kids and teachers of the
New River Academy (aka Huge Experience = in short a travelling kayak high school; if I would have know that something like this would someday exist 12 years ago I would have studied something else just to get a teachers-degree ;-) are already there to catch some air. Nevertheless a great wave!
On thursday, after another Surprise-session and a week of awesome surfing and creeking Seth, Maria and me start to head back to Sharpsburg (Maryland). Tired and with aching muscles, but very happy!