Moments after I just sold my creek boat I received a call from my good buddy Alex.  Appalachian State had just finished finals and everyone had left town, Alex was looking for someone to boat with.  Boone had been slammed with rain and the Watauga was at a healthy flow, as well as Linville.  Scrambling to get a boat, I was out the door and on the way to the High Country.  It was the usual late afternoon lap and luckily we managed to bum shuttle to grab two laps before the sun shifted behind the mountains.  10 miles of paddling later and we were starving looking for food.  Planning on attending a party later I passed out before 9 o'clock.

6:45 came early the next morning, rushing out the door to meet the crew for a Linville lap.  But this day we planned on paddling from the falls to the lake.  A total of 16 miles, I knew it was going to be an enduring day.  Shuttle was set and we was bush whacking  our way to the base of the falls.  It was 10:30 and we were launching into the water.  The paddle to Babel Tower was new to most of the group, while John Grace, Eric Chance and Toby McDermott showed us the lines.  Following close behind Toby, I quickly noticed we were rolling up on Babel Tower and he was not stopping.  Fired up, we went straight into the rapid as seen:

Having multiple miles left, we charged hard within the difficult gorge.  At that speed, the rapids came fast and provided a new exciting challenge.  The group had great lines and made work of the miles presented downstream.  The following photo is of Cave Falls, luckily I caught the difficult line and rode the slide across.

We had lunch before paddling into Cathedral Gorge and took a break to rest our bodies.  Once hydrated and fueled we moved deeper into the Gorge.  Taking a few new lines was interesting and challenging for the group.  The shot is the final falls of Cathedral Gorge.
Surprisingly we were not finished with the difficult whitewater and still had about six miles left.  Exhausted we paddled on, navigating our way on down.  Miles later we were finally able to relax and paddle the runout.  

Trips like this give me a greater sense of how far one can push themselves within paddling and the great sport of kayaking.  This experience is one that I shall never forget and I day dream of when I will be able to explore again, with my boat and paddle.  Thanks WRSI for your support. (Photos: Eric Chance)

Kindly,  Ty Caldwell

No comments: