Sunday, December 27, 2009

Watauga in December...Hand paddling with no gloves!!!

Finished out the year 2008 by getting on Watauga for my first time. It was mid-December and rather cold. Having broken my paddle earlier that winter, I decided to hand-paddle for a while. The only problem that day on the Watauga was I had forgotten to bring any gloves, though I quickly remembered their abscence when I first put my hands in the water. Eric, Justin & myself met up with a large crew from MRP to paddle this superb class IV creek.

Part of the crew below Hydro

Will & Andy from MRP acted as our guides and did an excellent job, as having twelve boaters in our group, we had a fairly smooth run down the creek. When reaching Hydro, we all got out to scout and our trip leaders did some excellent work on safety. Most all made it through without a hitch but help was there when needed.

Justin hitting a boof at Hydro

Andy throwing a line in the midst of Hydro

We soon made it to the prize on this classic creek....Stateline Falls. All got out to scout, a few decided to walk and the rest fired it up with varying results. After scouting the rapid & watching another group run it, I was ready to get back in my boat and head to the eddy at the lip of the drop.

Justin scouting the Big One

Group of boaters firing up Stateline

The falls on the Watauga is certainly a formidable rapid & deserves respect. That being said, it is definetely an awesome feeling being in the eddy above knowing you have to hit this one in just the right spot and with just the right angle to not crash into the rocks below. Though my line wasn't perfect, it sure felt good plunging through the landing & surfacing in the runout below. The perfect ending to an amazing year of boating.

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