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Rising early, Mike, Bone, and Greg grabbed a quick breakfast in Beckley ("where the men are men and sheep are scared !") at a Pancake House with a 20 foot Cowboy in the front. Which bizarre since West Virginny is know for hillbillies, not cowboys.
"No Beer !! We will cross that Bridge Shortly"
On their way to the North American River Rafters (NAAR was the company the Boys were floating with) they passed over and iconic span. New River Gorge Bridge is a steel arch bridge 3,030 feet (924 m) long over the New River Gorge between Beckley and Fayetteville. With an arch 1,700 feet long, the New River Gorge Bridge was for many years the world's longest steel single-span arch bridge as a part of U.S. Route 19. The roadway of the New River Gorge Bridge is 876 feet above the New River. When it opened in 1977, the New River Gorge Bridge was the highest vehicular bridge in the world. On an earlier trip, Mike and Bone crawled onto the Catwalk under a full moon with too much moonshine in them !!!
The Morning Mist hiding the Rumbling Waters Below !
The New River was named because it was not known to early Atlantic Coast explorers. Despite its name, the New River is the third-oldest river in the world geologically, and the only non-tidal river that crosses the Appalachian Mountains.
Despite its name, the New River is considered by some geologists to be one of the oldest rivers in the world. The river is sometimes said to be second in age only to the Nile River and thus the oldest in North America. The New River flows in a generally south-to-north course, against the southwest-to-northeast topography and geological texture of the Appalachian Mountains, contrasting with the west-to-east flow of most other nearby major rivers in Virginia and North Carolina. This peculiar direction, together with the river's many cuts through various erosion-resistant Appalachian rocks, may mean that the New River's formation preceded uplift of the Appalachian Mountains themselves.
The New River Gorge is not only quite scenic, but also offers numerous opportunities for white-water recreation such as rafting and kayaking. Many open ledges along the rim of the gorge offer popular views, with favorites including Hawks Nest State Park and various overlooks on lands of the New River Gorge National River.
The New River has a number of class III and IV rapids, which
include: Surprise, Pinball, Upper Railroad, Lower Railroad, Swimmers, Upper
of which would be very interesting as the day progressed !
,Middle Keeney, Lower Keeney
,Double Z, Hook 99, Greyhound Bus Stopper, Upper Kaymoor, Lower Kaymoor, Thread the Needle, Fayette Station
. One of which would be very interesting as the day progressed !
Put in on the River!
The get thing about riding the New, is the water is typically the temperature of bath water, so getting splashed in the steamy mid-90's temps feels great. Putting in the first few miles are fairly uneventful which gives you a chance to oogle the beautiful Gorge and scenery, soon however, everyone got as the Chinese would say "Supplies!"
The first big hydraulic is called Surprise. It is actually a very powerful rapid but fairly safe since after the rapid, the water is deep, obstruction-free, and fairly safe. In a previous trip Mike and Bone went on a two day trip where the first day ended at Surprise in Ducky's. On that trip, the Boys went over, and over, and over through Surprise in the duckys (highly tip-able inflated single person kayaks), where the where dumped over 60% of the time. So Surprise with the right supplies is a boat load of fun!!!
Riding Railroad with Bungee Jumpers in the Foreground !
As Mike, Bone and Greg, queued up for the Rail Road Rapid, the Boys marveled at the boinging bungee jumpers above them.
Queuing up to "Surf" the Keeneys"
Hitting the Keeney's hard provided everybody a good bath which cooled everyone off from the steamy late morning.
Jump Rock !
One of the fun spots on the River is Jump Rock. The Boys spent the next 20 minutes playing lemmings by repeatedly jumping off the rock. It is a pretty simple and fun game for simple guys !
Launching from Lunch
After working up an appetite the Team stopped for an awesome lunch filled with sandwiches, pasta, and permission-free (Greg!) beer!
Ominous Waters Ahead
Post Lunch the caravan went through a few minor rapids., preparing for the two biggest rapids of the day, two Class V rapids Greyhound and Double Z!
Bone Want Beer !
Mike Want Beer !
"No Beers !" (Now, Mike and Bone have Tears !)
Queuing up for Greyhound
Greyhound is named after the big rock in the background that is the size of a Greyhound bus. There are a significant number of other rocks in the area that make it a very challenging rapids to go through. While Mike, Bone, and Greg didn't swim many, many other rafts and rafters went swimming that afternoon!
The next big Class V was Double Z, where the river zigzags through two switch backs or a "Double Z." Now the guide got real serious on this Rapid in that "You really do not want to swim this one !" Words to reflect on because - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Double Z: "Big Water ! Big Water ! Bii --- "glug" "glug", "glug" !!!
Immediately on going through the first switchback as Bone was roaring "Big Water!!" (Something he annoyingly does on every big wave), a big wave tipped the boat and Mike, Bone, and Greg went swimming in the worst part of the worst rapid on the River!!!
Mike got fished out just fine
Greg, was first swirled by the current towards the very Rock that numerous people have been pinned and drowned on, fortunately the current swept him away from the Rock at the last second and he floated safely out of the Rapid to be picked up downstream
Bone thought he was ok, until someone kept pulling him under, He was caught in a Hydraulic that kept pulling him down into the drink. Once he started to see red spots he know he was in trouble and against the advice of the Rafting Guide he swam his brains out and was able to cling to a rock in the Rapid until a kayaker could get him out coughing, puking, and sputtering water for the next 10 minutes.
"Big Water" became "Big Fun" in Double Z !!!
The end in Sight !!
Take out is typically just past the big ole Bridge which is even more breathtaking (which is helpful after almost drowning) on the River !
Taking Out on a Awesome River
All in all,, it was an AWESOME boat ride !
Trip, Post Script
The enforced no drink zone on the ride back made the end of the Trip long, sullen, and uneventful. We love Greg, just not as the Driver, and yes, we will drink to that !!!