The big white water on the New River always gets the glory — water exploding over the bow as the golden sun shines through the droplets and paddlers scream with delight.
And that’s cool. BUT, let us not forget the unsung heroes that keep the giggle factor high, smiles on faces and the fun flowing. These aren’t your class Vs, but they have a charm all their own — fun little moves, backward slides and hidden turns that, when you are finished, make you say, “Hey, that was fun!”
Even though it’s still winter, we can’t help but dream about hot summer days and New River rafting. So, read on fellow rafter, and start getting pumped for the 2012 rafting season.
At summer flows a jumble of rocks makes for some neat features, one of which is a submerged rock with a bit of a pillow. When your guide points the bow of your raft toward the right side of the pillow, there is a quick change in direction and, if the stars align, you’ll find yourself facing upstream, surfing across a small hydraulic toward the center of the river.
Named after former West Virginia Commerce Commissioner Lysander Dudley, this rapid is pretty straightforward all year long. There is, however, a fun line to the left that will get you wet even in the late summer and pushes the fun-o-meter up a notch. The line takes you just to the left of the left guide-ejector rock. If your guide is yelling for you to get down, he might be a hair too far to the right.
3. Hook 99
At summer flows your guide will point your raft toward a rock garden on river right. You’ll float past Echo Rock on your way to one of three chutes. But make sure you take the last chute; it’s the most fun AND your boat will actually fit through it. You’ll slide down the drop, hurtling backwards toward the middle of the river and maybe, just maybe, you’ll catch a glimpse of the plaque on the downstream side of Turtle Rock. You may be wondering what is written on said plaque, but you’ll just have to go down the river to find out.
4. Thread the Needle
When the water is up Thread the Needle is a playground with pillows and holes and whirlpools. Just remember: the best ride is in the boat. At summer flows this is a fun rapid to swim. As you float right toward the humpback rock, you might wonder if you’re going to go left or right (the most fun can be had going left). If you’re lucky, you’ll hover on the upstream face of the rock for a moment and get a true sense of the New River’s power.
So there you have it, four white water rapids on the New River that are sure to put a smile on your face. Any faves we forgot to mention or adventures you’d like to relay about these unsung heroes?
Just a reminder, the cabin naming contest ends at noon on Friday, January 27, 2012. Pop on over to the post to make your suggestion and enter to win a free night in the new digs.