Trip Report: Weekend on the Watauga and the New.
- After reading Mitch's chainsaw adventure, I feel almost guilty about have three great days of mountain paddling. Almost. Christine Bashore, Jim DePree, Omer Register and Tom Goodwin were the paddlers. On Friday, Jim and Tom paddled 9.2 miles on the South Fork of the New River. This section is about 15 miles from its headwaters at Moses Cone Park on the Blue Ridge. Water was pretty high, allowing us to finish in two hours 10 minutes. The only wildlife spotted was a group of about 20 tubers from a nearby outfitter. Saturday (Happy Birthday Omer!) all four of us paddled the Watauga. We put in at Valle Crucis and paddled 7.5 miles to the 321 Bridge near Sugar Grove. the gauge was at 2.3 feet, nearly a foot above the minimum. It is a beautiful section that is seldom paddled. Jim, Omer and Tom decided to try the next four mile section, labeled as class II (III) in "Carolina Whitewater". We had to portage our rec kayaks over a twelve foot drop off near the start. Omer swears that one good stick of dynamite was all we needed to paddle through. Maybe next time. After that it was four nearly continuous miles of class II, I whitewater. We took out at the entrance of Watauga Gorge --- maybe because of the names of the upcoming rapids --- Bump-and-Grind, S-Kicker, Hydro and Watauga Falls. The final day on the water was on a seldom paddled section of the New River -- the North Fork near Creston, NC. It was a quick 5.2 mile run, four of which were nice class I's. The only downside of this trip was seeing the highway 88 bridge, telling us that out weekend of paddling was over.