Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Back to the Broad

As some of my friends know, I have a fondness for the French ladies and, when I heard the SRVCC was planning a trip back to the French Broad, I had to mark it down on my calender. Grant and I drove down on Friday night to meet up with the club at the Hot Springs Campground. Following a night hanging out by the campfire and getting some sleep in my car, I was up and ready for some boatin' the next day.

The SRVCC at the Barnard Put-in

Grant throwing some ends

Two experienced canoeists stylin' the Broad

Joe exiting Pillow Rock

After running some of the bigger rapids and playing some of the smaller features along the way, we came to one of the best waves on the French Broad.....the Sandy Bottoms Wave. Many from the group spent quite a bit of time getting in some big wave surfing.

Delane shredding it up @ Sandy Bottoms

Grant bouncing down the Sandy Bottoms Wave

We stopped a couple of times during the first half of the run down to Stackhouse. During one break on the riverside, a total of 39 boaters were counted in our group. This was quite a gathering and shows the camaraderie of the SRVCC....truly a friendly and welcoming group with which to paddle. Eventually, after the grueling paddle through Windy Flats, we made it down to Kayaker's Ledge and Frank Bells. I had a lot of fun running and playing in the two big ones.

SRVCC taking a break on the French Broad

Trying to Freewheel on Kayaker's Ledge

Grant exiting Frank Bells

Glutton for Punishment.....surfing Frank Bells!!!

The next day there were a few less on the river. However, we still had a wonderful time and, this time, Grant & I knew where the best playspots were to be had. One of my favorite playspots on the French Broad is now the wave and hole in the top of Pillow rapid. It takes some effort and determination to climb the eddies to get in these features but is well worth it.

Second Day at the Put-in

James leading the group

Grant catching air @ Pillow

Grant shredding it up

Kevin carving onto the wave @ Pillow

Surfing on the French Broad

On the second day, the group just ran down to Stackhouse. It was a shorter period on the water but was packed full of fun. A few were able to join us on Sunday that were not on the river with us the day before. Mercer was able to get in a little more practice swimming before the drive home, but so did I the day before at good ol' Frankie. All in all, it was a great weekend on and off the water with the SRVCC.

Mike Mabe running the bottom of Pillow

The group heading downriver

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