Friday, December 26, 2008

Red Run

Red Run is a small creek that drains the southern backside of Canaan Valley. It sports the same tannic acid stained water as the other Canaan creeks. I think Red Run is the most difficult of the regularly run Canaan Valley creeks, and offers a fine collection of unique boulder gardens with a few bedrock slides for variety. A big group of us met up in Hendricks back in May to decide on a plan. The water level was minimal, so group A headed up to do Red Creek, flowing out of Dolly Sods, while Ben Dunham, Jay Ditty, Matt Walker and I chose to put on Red Run. This would be Matt's first time, and my first time in quite a while. The run is tiny and busy, and almost always seems too low for the first mile or so. The first real, long slide gets your attention, and signals the beginning of the goods:

Ben Dunham about to glide through. The hole here can get really big.

Shortly downstream is a large, multi-tiered twisting drop.

Ben again, starting at the top.

Me, in the middle. Photo by Jay Ditty

Jay Ditty at the bottom 90 degree turn.

Immediately downstream is the "Watermelon Seed Drop" Most of the creek funnels through a folding slot, then spits you out, often in a tailstand, over a pourover. A unique sensation.
Scouting the Watermelon Seed. The spitter is on creek right, about where Jay is standing.

About halfway down the run, it steepens up again, with several big boulder piles, then a transition to bedrock slides just above the falls of Red Run. Here's a few shots of the funnest boulder pile:

Ben picking his way through the top.

Matt Walker powers through the next to last slot

Me finishing up the pile. Photo by Jay Ditty
It had numerous slots and choices throughout, and is just an awesome rapid. I was so excited to snap photos of it, that I slipped and fell while scrambling to get a pic of Jay, and the camera flew out of my hand and over the boof pictured. The camera was later found, and the memory chip made its way back to me just before Christmas. Hooray!
Just below camera eater is the Falls of Red Run, and another great mile or more of serious boulder drops before you hit the Dry Fork of the Cheat.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A complete and total skunking.

Saturday I made plans to meet Don Smith in Canaan and go kayaking. Here's how it went:

9:30am Depart Morgantown with entire family.
10am: My brand name roof rack system came apart on the interstate, sending my kayak cartwheeling across the roof of my car, down the side (where it smashed a window right behind my 3yr old son's head) and onto the asphalt at about 80mph.
It passed me as I stopped on the shoulder of the road. Sounded like when the videobaters go down the steps at Cunard.

I think, "Okay, everyones fine, the boat's not broken, I can save this". I finished the drive to my mom's in Clarksburg, dropped the boys off with their Grandma, and took off in her truck, bound for Canaan and the joys of gravity. Taping up the car window and getting my mom's truck ready took a little while, but I can still make it. Its about 11am.

Stop and get a sandwich in Elkins, smell antifreeze, and find the upper radiator hose has a hole in it. I hurry to an Advance auto parts, change the hose, and have the truck running and topped off with coolant again. It is now 12:30 and I'm freaking a little.

Finally arrive at the Red Creek take out at 1:10 or so, and see a bunch of cars, including Don's. He is about 20 minutes ahead of me, and I figure I can still catch them on the hike or at least in the paddle-in to the steeps. I CAN STILL SAVE THIS!

Halfway up the mountain I realize I don't have a skirt.
I'm Doomed.
Why I forgot to put it in the gearbag, i don't know, but it ain't there. I drive on, hoping to catch someone with a spare at the put in, but no luck.
Back down the mountain, and I leave a note on Don's car. I'm sorry you had to wait so long man.
Decide to head for the North Fork of the Blackwater, hoping to borrow a skirt there for a quick run, but on the way out I discover the fuel gauge does not work below 1/2 a tank and run out of gas.
2:30pm: take a pleasant walk on a country road with my wife.
3:30pm:depart Canaan with my tail between my legs, and hope for better luck next time.