Wild Wonderful West Virginia

I hadn’t planned on a technology hiatus, but that is just what I needed. Unplugging is detox for my overly connected soul. 

We headed up to Canada last Friday to visit family. Then returned to Charlotte with a stop off in West Virginia. We rented a little cabin on the New River and survived two days with no cell phone reception, no television and no internet. It was a much needed break from the real world.

Thursday we opted to run the lower section of the New River with the Songer White Water rafting company. I would highly recommend this outfitter if you plan on rafting the New River or the Gauley {which my brother has done and encouraged us to do}. Our guides were awesome and gave us the “big” trip that we requested. My philosophy is “you go big, or you go home.”

We started our trip by purposefully flipping the raft over in calm water. Daniel and I have run several rivers together and this is the first time I have flipped over – purposefully or otherwise. Sometimes it helps to know what is coming so that you are prepared when it happens.

The water on the New River was low so the rapids were more technical with less humongous waves {though we did have some of those}. We started with Pinball rapids {class III}. Our guide told us that if we fell out, we might as well walk back to the bus because we were pansies {we didn’t fall out}.
Next up was a taste of class IV with the Upper Railroad followed by the Lower Railroad {also class IV} where we stacked the boat in order to spin off a big rock {stacking the boat means we all got in the back of the boat}. Daniel and I managed to fall out on this run.

Next up was Swimmers {class II} where we all got out of the boat and floated through the rapid. Then we traversed Stripper {class III} named for the fact that if you fall out, the current may strip you of your clothes {that would be awkward since we didn’t actually know the other couple we were paddling with}.

We surfed the boat at Endless Waves {class IV}. I think we surfed for at least a minute. The other couple in the boat fell out while surfed {as did our water cooler}. Daniel and I managed to ride out the entire surf time {though my leg did get pretty scraped up when the cooler fell out}.

Next up was three class IIIs {Piece of Cake, Hip Kick and Upper Keeney}. I don’t remember which one it was, but we got out of the rafts and jumped off of a rock into the rapid. The current sucked you down and spit you out about 30 feet down river. Pretty fun ride.

Middle Keeney {IV} and Lower Keeney {IV/V} were next – some serious waves through this section. Then Lolligag and Dudley Dip {IV} before pulling over to get out and jump off of Jump Rock. Daniel opted out of jumping off this 16 foot rock. I did it, but once at the top of the rock I realized I hadn’t cliff jumped in close to 10 years. It felt like a lot bigger drop than 16 feet {as in I had time to regret on the fall down}.

Next up was Double Z {IV/V} followed by Hook 99 {IV}, Harmon’s Falls {IV}, Greyhound Bus Stopper {III/IV}, Upper Kaymore {III}, Lower Kaymore {IV} and Miller’s Folly {IV+}.

At Thread the Needle {III} we got out of our rafts and floated through with the current. These out of boat runs reminded me of canyoning in Switzerland.
Last, but not least was Fayette Station {IV+} where we stacked the boat again, but no one fell out this time.

It was a great trip. We are seriously thinking about coming back in September and running the Gauley. Our guide suggested coming on a Sunday or Monday to avoid the crowds. If running on a Thursday is in indication of what a Sunday/Monday would be like, count me in. I am all about avoiding throngs of people.


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