I decided spur of the moment to go to Gauley Fest this year out in West Virginia. Basically this is a festival about all things white water. And boy do these people know how to party. Good thing I had earplugs with me. I arrived Thursday evening and started helping to volunteer. Since I didn't know anyone, I thought this would be the best way to get to know people and at least I would have something to do other then listen to music. I still don't have any white water gear of my own. I was kind of hoping I would win a boat but I knew that was slim. But since I was volunteering I did hear about an opportunity to go white water rafting. Someone had a few spots available in their raft on Saturday that they wanted to fill and me plus someone I was volunteering with dropped everything and went. I ended up switching over to another raft that had even less people in it and eventually the other guy did too. So we were 9 people spaced across two rafts. It was perfect. The water was a little cold, but great. There were two raft guides in the raft I was in and we had such a great time. As this was not a paid trip, they were in it to have fun and fun was had by all. I managed to get some great pictures
of the rapids before and after, and shot some video
too. This was some really big water as they were doing releases from the dam. We did the Upper Gauley river which has a lot of class III to V rapids.
On Sunday four of us went out again on the Upper Gauley and thankfully the two guides managed to wrestle up a couple of helmets and an extra PFD for the two of us. Between that and my gear bag, we managed to dress warmly enough. I was kicking myself for not staying up Saturday night and enjoying more of the party. At least I should have tried to pick up a helmet. I did manage to snag a great deal on a rain coat. It normally retails for 300$ but the guy was selling for 25$ and no that is not a typo. I'd have picked up another for my dad (and I did ask) but they didn't have anything larger then a extra large and the vendor said it was closer to a large. Oh well, I do have extra rain coats now and will give him one from the pile that fits him.
We didn't get off the water until almost 5 then I still have 5 and a half hours to drive back to DC. That was a long drive and I was really tired. I feel like I am still recovering but I had such a great time. I am definitely putting this on my calendar of things to do next year. Hopefully I will have my own gear so I can actually go and play on some of the Lower Gauley.
Labels: weekend, wwkayaking