Monday, February 11, 2008

Raven Fork!

Razorback - Photo by Andy Jordan

I recently began running the Raven Fork, a tributary of the Oconaluftee River that flows through the Eastern Cherokee Reservation here in Western North Carolina. Previously to running this creek, my favorite run was the Green, though it is still a close second. Remote creeks are the best but the Raven Fork clearly stands far above and beyond the other places I have paddled a kayak. Anywhere there is information on the Raven Fork, you will notice talk of how steep the run is. What does not always come through in Raven Fork lore is the pool/drop nature of the creek and its very long window of runnability after a rain for a stream of this type.

Though similar to the Green in that you can bite off as much as you want in the way of whitewater, the Raven Fork takes this analogy to a whole different level. The difficulty is strong, full-blooded class V for the duration, with a consequential 30-foot drop in the very midst of the gradient storm, known as Big Boy. The quality of the water, bedrock, and the rapids is unbelievable! Add the incredible beauty of the gorge this creek lies in, and you have a winner!

Fortunately, I live near enough to the Raven Fork that running this creek often should be possible, even while I’m in nursing school! Paddling here leaves me up on cloud nine for days afterward – this run will take precedence over most others every time it rains for me.

Now for a plug for Pyranha. The Burn is a great creek boat that I thoroughly enjoy paddling…but hello Everest! The Everest loves this type of river! Loaded with equipment, it paddled beautifully Saturday afternoon. I feel like the Burn M is a little small for me with the equipment I usually bring along on trips like these but the way the Everest handles it is fantastic! Without feeling too big, the boat rides high and resurfaces quickly in all situations. The combo of a flat hull/beveled edges allow you to zip around and make moves without being trippy like the H:3 or at times, the Burn. A true class V machine! I look forward to continuing to paddle this boat!

**As a side note, last weekend Emmanuel’s driveway was blocked and some boaters “wore out their welcome”. Everyone likes company but sometimes it’s easy to for company to wear you out. Please be considerate and respect Emmanuel’s wishes, and don’t forget the gift!

I’ll leave you with a few photos of a recent trip.

Chan in Headless Horseman - photos by Jacob Black

Jacob in Headless Horseman - Photo by Chan Jones

Sliding into Razorback - Photo by Andy Jordan

Jacob Black in Mortal Kombat- Photo by Chan Jones

Chan Jones in Wet Willy - Photos by Andy Jordan

Chan Jones in Wet Willy - Photo by Jacob Black

Big Boy doesn't look so bad from up here...

The crew at Big Boy - Photo by Jacob Black

Gorge below Big Boy - Can you name the rapids?

Chan Jones in Mike Tyson's - Photos by Jacob Black

Andy backwards off the last drop in Mike Tyson's - scary, but turned out fine

Chan Jones running the entrance to Caveman - Photo by Jacob Black

Jacob Black sticking the boof at Caveman - Photo by Chan Jones

Garen Stephens in Caveman - Photo by Chan Jones