Monday, November 20, 2006

Late Fall Upper Blackwater

Another work free Saturday rolled around, and with gorgeous weather, I broke my general rule of thumb and went to the Upper Blackwater below 250 cfs. My excuse: a combination of weather, good friends, and a recent lack of other paddling. Ben Dunham was the best man in my wedding, and a recent resident of our guest room. Ben Badger is a Morgantown area friend looking to get his first run in on the Upper Blackwater. We loaded up boats, a bike, and a big dog, and headed towards Canaan.

We droppped the bike in Douglas, and circled back around to the put-in. Upon arrival, it was confirmed that the Blackwater was low. Like 200 cfs or less low. Oh well, it still goes, and it was blue skies and high 50's. The photo at left is looking back up toward Blackwater Falls from the put-in. Most trips begin in the foreground eddy. The brown color of the water is not mud, but tannic acid, leached out of spruce, pine, and hemlock tree detrious in the headwaters of the river. This river and Red Creek and Red Run of Canaan derive their names from the tea-like appearance.

Ben Dunham running 100 Yard Dash, the first rapid of our run. The move Ben is making comes immediately out of the put-in eddy.

Ben Badger finishing off Tomko Falls. Higher water opens up several other lines.

Ben and Ben at the bottom of Pendleton Falls.
Ben Badger on the final ledge of My Nerves are shot, I can't take it anymore. The perspective afforded by my point and shoot does not do this rare bedrock rapid justice. The uppermost ledge visible in the photo drops 10-12 feet and is 50-60 yards away.
Ben Dunham climbing the hill from the Blackwater/North Fork confluence to the old railroad grade. 500 feet up and then a mile back to the parking area.

My priveledge for being the first back; shuttle biker. To save fuel, get more exercise, and enjoy company on the drive, we used a bicycle for the shuttle. The ride took about 40 minutes on the cross country bike. Single speed bike= great for the woods, slow on the Blue Highways. I was peevishly honked at/flipped off once, and a pick-up truck accelerated angrily around me, over corrected onto the shoulder, and nearly flipped into an oncoming Tahoe. Exciting.