The Day the Gauley River Rained a Rainbow of Leaves


Sunday I had a “moment of being” while paddling on the Gauley River. You know, one of those moments where all your senses are engaged and you just feel completely “in” the moment.  You’re probably thinking this was triggered by one of the world famous rapids on the mighty Gauley River, but this moment had nothing to do with whitewater.

First, you must know this was a sunny 70+ degree day on the Gauley. Not only was the weather perfect but also the leaves were approaching their peak colors. This was truly one of those perfect Gauley Season days.

Somewhere after Sweet’s Falls, as the sun shined bright through the array of colors the fall foliage provided, a wind gust blew through.  And suddenly, the sky was filled with a cornucopia of leaves above the river. Quite literally it was raining leaves for about two minutes. As my husband and I smiled in awe of the beauty, I remembered someone once telling me that if you caught a leaf in your hand as it was blowing above a river it was good luck. I told my husband this fable and we both scurried around the raft trying to catch a leaf.  We were living perfectly in the moment with the kind of joy kids posses so readily.

I was lucky enough to catch a large leaf as a kayaker paddled past us. We made eye contact and without speaking, she too, was in the moment.  It was like we were sitting inside of our own Gauley River-style snow globe. Later that evening as a group of paddlers met up for some post-river grub, it seemed the feeling was mutual. We all had experienced the day the Gauley River rained a rainbow of leaves.

The next time you see a leaf falling and you find yourself trying to catch it, remember that somewhere, someone may be on a river doing the same. And some fables are made just to make you smile and remember to stop and really enjoy that moment of being.

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