Watauga Gorge, April 1, 2012

Ryan Sheely reporting

Sunday April 1st I completed my first decent of the Watauga Gorge with success.  I was accompanied by Wes Bradley, Doug K., and Josh R.  Wes was my lead for the most of the lines, but I got to solo my first Class V ever- “Hydro” with success!  I have to say there are lots of rocks to get caught up and turned around on but plenty of Boofs to send your boat flying.  On this run you are surrounded by the beautiful gorge and its HUGE boulders. The geology of this gorge is amazing; I really don’t think I have ever seen so many rocks on any river I have paddled before -Make them your friends should you find yourself on this river.  We proceeded to stomp every rapid and drop we were challenged with.  I would have to say that “Anaconda” was my favorite rapid of the run and it was BIG.  We scouted “Stateline” and scoped the lines to set it up; I almost botched the line 20 ft from the drop when I was pushed against the rock up from the drop, but I was determined to recover.  Josh R. came out of nowhere and grabbed my stern handle to help free me away and I setup and stomped the line, but traded paint with his boat at the bottom.  Fun times! I was thankful for his assist!  I found this run quite challenging and a rewarding experience! This run will make you step up your skills and experience as a boater.  Paddle aggressively, focus your eyes on the next line and go for it!