I've always been drawn to the sketches of David hunter Strother, who wrote numerous articles for mid- 19th century periodicals under the nom de plume "Porte Crayon".
Strother covered a wide variety of topics and places, but his words and sketches of the Allegheney Highlands, in particular, appeal to me. You can read about him at the WVU library, and see a huge catalog of his sketches here.
You can read his book Virginia Illustrated on Google Books. I conveniently linked it to open on a page with what looks a lot like Pendleton Falls, a tributary to the Upper Blackwater. The story contains themes familiar to anyone who has boated in the area. Logistical uncertainties, hiking under hemlocks, scrambling through seemingly endless rhododendron thickets.
Another visit to West Virginia, entitled "The Mountains" was written about for Harper's New Monthly Magazine, in April of 1872.
So how does this relate specifically to boating? I took a good hard look at several of the sketches I really liked, and tried to figure out where they were, and even from what perspective they were drawn. In particular, I chose two shots from the North Fork of the Blackwater; one of Douglas Falls, and one looking up toward Double Indemnity.