Sunday, December 06, 2009

One must always keep in mind that the journey is more important than the path, and the vehicle we choose is very important. Whether the trip is life, kayaking, or work; we must have faith in our decisions and stay positive through times of trial and tribulation. Most recently, Nick Murphy and myself decided to go to the Toxaway River after a good 3'' rain in Highlands, NC; whereas, Chattanooga got a meager 1/2'' sprinkle. My main veggie vehicle is currently on the operating table getting a new engine and tranny. So, I decided to do a quick veggie conversion on my older non-turbo Benz Wagon, in hopes of running on free veggie oil I had already pre-filtered. After a few hours of changing hoses, drilling holes, and tightening hose clamps, we were rolling on Vegg Power towards the Toxaway.

We didn't get very far before things started to fall apart, quite literally. One of our tires was disintegrated by an unseen evil force lurking along highway 64 near Cleveland, TN. Forgetting that my spare was in no shape to spare us unneeded time chilling on the road, I was forced to call my brother Andrew and get him to bring the spare from my rust bucket parts car. We got the spare spare (no grammatical error there) and drove to the nearest gas station to fill it up with air. However, as we were waiting on my brother's aid, Nick decided to charge his Ipod and play some tunes to pass the time. This was a bad idea because (unknowingly) this killed my battery and prevented us from cranking the old girl up. I ran across the road to Bi-Lo where there was a good-old- boy scavenging the donations at the Goodwill trailer. After realizing I wasn't there to bust his party, he gladly yanked his battery out and used his bare hands to hold the wires to the battery. Twice now, we were saved by the grace of good people helping us out in our time of despair.

After inspecting the wobbly seeming spare, I decided it was good enough to get us there. After conversing with a late-night gas station attendant, who's reliability was definitely in question, we headed towards Tellico Plains in search of so-called 'Highway' 68. We knew the landslide was going to add some time to our trip, but the detour ended up being a horror tour. Curvy, dark, slippery, and tight are adjectives I wouldn't mind using to describe a girlfriend, but not a road. Furthermore, it started to become clear that it wasn't my battery that was dead, but to our dismay, the alternator wasn't providing crucial energy to power necessary accessories such as the lights and wipers. We would have been better off with Rudolph's nose so bright, and an inner city bum stuck to the hood trying to put kids through college by wiping our windshield. Anyways, we made it back to our preferred highway 64 in the town of Ducks, much closer to Chatty than had hoped, and charged to nearest Wally world in search of a new battery. One new battery, 75 dollars poorer than before, Nick asleep the entire time, bright lights, working wipers, and we were back on the path to priceless-ness.

Re-charged by the ability to see the road well, I drove through the night to the Highlands of NC. At this point, the wobbly tire I checked earlier was now in full throttle dance mode, shaking to the groove of the road. I thought the lug-nuts needed more tightening; so, I cranked on them as hard as I could, but this didn't fix the problem. Wobbling into the Subway of Cashiers, a lady followed us in and enthusiastically informed us of our raving tire. I realized quickly that we couldn't make it on this intoxicated tire, and luckily found the Cashiers tire shop.

I filled out some forms, and went to sleep in the parking lot, in typical dirtbag fashion, seeing the waiting room full of wealthy elderly people. After being woken up by the mechanic, he brought the Benz in, and checked out our situation. Much like waiting on a doctor's diagnosis in the hospital, we sat anxiously waiting to hear how bad off she was. The look on his face when he gave us the news wasn't priceless, and said they might be able to re-thread the studs, but that they might be irreparable, which would leave us stranded. The manager didn't like the idea of 2 hippy looking kayakers eddied out in his parking lot anymore than we did, and gave the mechanic some words of ecouragement. During our layover, Drew Duvall called and said the Toxaway was at a premium level of -2''. Our hopes were re-kindled, and our prayers answered because the mechanic was able to re-thread the studs and re-balance the drunken tire, getting us back on track to kayak one of the most amazing rivers in the SE. I commented on how we passed the test and were on our way to reap the rewards of our faith and perseverance.

Drew and Baker bailed on the Toxaway, but Dustin Marquart was fully in and stoked to see us come smoothly rolling into the take-out smelling of french fries. We geared up and headed to the put-in like a herd of turtles, slowly but surely. The level was dramatically more manageable than my previous run of +2'' on the gauge, and we began Charging the incredible Cali slides section. Nick loves to run big rapids, and the satisfaction on his face was evident that he, including Dustin and I, was loving it. We all had super smooth lines and accomplished the portages in quick fashion. Arriving at the put-in for Landbridge, Nick looked downstream at the ominous horizon line and asked, "is that Wintergreen?" I quickly responded, "yea, but if you're gonna run Landbridge, you better focus on it first." Landbridge and Wintergreen are like kayaking crack. They are so big and smooth that it makes you feel so high that you're never going to come down. Luckily or unluckily, depending on your perspective, the 3 mile hike-out brings you back down to Earth, where one belongs anyways.

We made it back to the put-in, and were pleasantly surprised that the Vegg-Wagon cranked right up and began purring down the mountains towards the flatter and easier route we chose to return on through Georgia. However, after pouring another 5 gallons of Liquid Gold into the tank, with the temperature right around freezing, and lacking an in-tank heater, the vegg power began to dwindle and I realized we needed some Dino-Diesel to thin the oil down a little. So, we stopped at gas station in Georgia for Diesel, and I also realized the hand-primer was getting sucked closed along with the battery losing juice. I started asking people at the gas station to give us a jumper cable boost, and a load of mexicans in a pick-up offered some assistance. I figured since the mexicans were going to give a boost that I could shut down the engine to remove the hand-primer without spraying fuel everywhere. I figured wrong because the mexicans had put their jumper cables under their epic mound of "stuff", and the task looked to daunting to dig them out. Once again, I began asking people for help, and even asked the attendant if he had any jumper cables, but he said, "no, and you can't be soliciting customers or leave your car parked at the pump." At first I thought the guy was a jerk, but he ended up letting us use his phone to call the police to come and give us a jump. I don't know what it is about kayaks and cops, but they don't seem to get along. The cop reluctantly boosted us up, and seemed more interested in locking us up.

Back on the road, our lights began to faded to a mere flicker. Not feeling safe under these conditions, and lacking the money to buy another battery, we pulled off the highway and went to sleep with the engine running knowing that we would have no way of re-starting it at dawn. We didn't exactly awake at dawn, but started the drive feeling much more rested than the night before. The trip was coming to a close as we got around 30 miles from Chattaboogie, when another tire was disintegrated into a million shreds by another unknown evil force. We were disappointed to say the least. However, it gets darkest before the dawn, and the dawn was elusively approaching. Without cell phones or much money, I started walking through the woods next to the interstate searching for somebody who could help. Luckily, whether it be faith, luck, or randomness, I found a good soul willing to help us out. He knew the owner of a tire shop, and got us a brand new tire in less than 30 minutes. Finally, we completed this epic journey feeling as though we had been to California and back. The rapids aided in the feeling also.

Even though we were faced with great difficulties along the way, there is no doubt in mine or Nick's mind that the trip was worth it. From the words of Alfred in The Dark Knight, "Why do we get knocked down master Bruce? So we can learn to get back up again." Never stay down, and don't hesitate to charge the path you feel leads towards your enlightenment. Here are a few shots I got from the Toxaway.

Peace, Love, and Charging-- Will Pruett

Thursday, November 12, 2009

One Fine Charge

One must be balanced and poised on the edge to be ready for the battle that takes place in so many deep, dark, and scary places. The path is traveled by a few chosen brethren, who feel compelled to ride the blood of the earth that has been so rampant upon us so recently. Many warriors are now willing and able to take heed and Charge the turbulent and often trying waters of, not only, our greatest earthly treasures, but also the roads that men have paved. 

Curt "Bag" is back on Sunshine Left

Luckily, when one generates positive energy for the whole, and not just oneself, everyone benefits from the effort. In recent case, the Green Race has spawned a new breed of lifestyle, competition, and community that embraces everyone's ability to enjoy an amazing natural resource. The Green River near Asheville, NC has a unique structure which generates renewable energy, while also providing recreation for kayakers, tubers, anglers, pon-tooners, and carnage seekers. 

Tim Bell guiding the last few racers into battle.

This years Green Race was my first year to compete. I haven't paddled the Green River near as much as I would like to, and I have a great respect for the locals who live and train around the Knarrows. With that said, I went into the race with the mindset that I was out to have fun and post my time. My first day in a long boat on the Green was in my Corsica, which my Dad, being an OC-1er, bought to try and teach me how to kayak in a Dancer XS. Being 9 years old at the time and my Dad, having only canoeing experience, proved to be a rough learning curve, but I prevailed and found the old long-boat to be quite exciting on the Green. Thankfully, Woody offered Toby's old Liquid Logic Remix 100% to me, and I graciously accepted. 

The Stingers. Photo stolen from Shanes blog.

Long-boats are really fun on the Green, and any river you feel comfortable with for that matter. Especially new-school long-boats that are actually designed to run big burly drops and stay upright and fast. Anyways, after a few killer practice sessions, and a few outrageous party nights driving down the switchbacks in the WreckCenter, I was ready to Charge the legendary Green Race! Despite registering extremely late, hurting by back with a bowling ball, and leaving some safety gear at Whale Tale; I had a great run and think that next time I should actually try to paddle hard instead of just styling my lines and avoiding throw ropes. 

All I heard was Charge coming through the Notch. Photo courtesy of Chris Bell

The party was... well... if you were there... then you were there... and if you weren't... then you should be there next year. I found my safety gear the following day, and drove over to Joe Barkley's crib to discuss the fluid dynamics of veggie oil. We awoke the following morning to find the Cascades flowing at a most optimum flow. I decided to test the Hungee out on the some different water, and found myself at the take-out alot faster and gripped than I thought I would be. Lets just say I took the Grande on the next run. 

Photo by Arlyn Agababian

The 82' Benz Veggie wagon is a tank. No seriously, on my return through the Ocoee gorge, I came screeching to a halt when a BEAR came Charging across 64 dripping wet with whitewater. Luckily for Yogee, I have 4 wheel disc brakes, and only clipped him/her in the rump, wounding Chattanooga's most prized natural resource... no, we don't actually kill bears. However, be it omen, irony, or randomness, the skies once again dropped the blessed liquid that would bring Bear Creek up to, according to Bryce, an optimal level of 19 inches. 

Javid Grubbs looking small below Stairway to Heaven.

The sun shone forth and we embarked on the arduous 20 minute drive, 15 minute shuttle, and 50 yard hike to finally arrive clothed in armor and ready to do battle with our favorite nemesis. The Chattanooga Chargers aren't too keen on scouting, portaging, or going slow; so, we decided to Charge portage free. I was able to jump out of my oh so roomy Grande and film some of the boys firing off some of the flatwater. I would like to dedicate this here movie picture to our fallen comrade who pioneered and cleverly named the rapids of the Bear... Ron Stewart. Here are a few pics with names of rapids and chargers. There is a video too, but its speaks for itself. Charge peace.

Ryan Allen on Surrealistic Pillow

Scenic view of Cosmic Trigger below Stairway.

Bryce Evans in Revelations

Jason Rodwell heading into Armageddon. 

Javid and Paul Hubbard rallying some typical boogie. 

Taylor Martin amongst a big bad boogie hole. 

Bear Master Bryce finishing up Omega.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Balling the Burlfest

Soon after my last update/rant, the heavens once again opened up, releasing the liquid that brings us kayakers so much pleasure, and sometimes, so much pain. Summer creek boating can be very elusive here in the South East corner of US n A because of our water chugging lush vegetation. Therefore, even after a serious downpour, some creeks may not come to life as the trees, lawns, and pools tend to hogg all the water. Nevertheless, a Chattaboogie local creek did get enough rain to bring the Dragon out of its Lair long enough for a few Chargers to take a ride on Falling Water. By the time Team Jib rallied its senses and launched our blessed kayaks, the water had fallen significantly, leaving us with a medium-low flow of 1.5' on the bridge gauge. Wielding our Werner swords, we entered the Lair and defeated the Dragon without hindrance. The sun fell quick to the West and we were forced to evacuate the gorge via a steep and treacherous trail back up Waldens Peak, arriving at our take-out higher than where we put-in, a rare scenario Bryce Evans so eloquently pointed out during the hike. I believe we were the only ones to capture some sweet free- flow this day, as many brave kayakers were skunked by this strange band of storms.

The week to follow would include a sojourn in West (by God) Virginia for the annual Gauley Fest. I returned to my roots on this trip by taking my Dad's open boat down the Upper on Saturday. I was pleasantly surprised to have a righteously smooth run without a dip in the drink. This adventure was also especially special because this is when I began my life as a Grease Bandit, always on the prowl for a good, dark, clean, trap to stick my hose in and suck the liquid gold that fuels my 82' Benz veggie-wagon. Woody and I are on completely different wave-lengths b/c I got knocked out of Ro-Sham-Bo (SP?) in the first round every time, and then I made the mistake of trying to wrestle the Beast that is Woody.

Luckily, all the ritualistic activities of G-Fest must have appeased the River God, as another huge band of rain came ripping through the South, bringing many waterways to wicked nasty flood levels that would alter some creeks forever. I was tempted to stay around Asheville for some super ultra micro creeking, since everything else was off the Richter scale, but upon receiving word that the Bear was high and on a rampage, I rallied back to Chattanooga for some Local Suck to get me prepped to do battle with the Bear the following day. The Bear receded quicker than expected, forcing us to rally early and take a stroll down the Stairway to Heaven at slightly lower than recommended juice. However, the run is almost completely free of wood, allowing us to Charge all but one minor boogie rapid due to a log being laid across the creek.

A certain creek like none other in the land received torrential amounts of rain from the previous storm, and I got word that it was going to be good-to-go the following day. After filling up the Benz with Soy Oil from our local Panda Chinese restaurant, I was rolling down the road headed towards the land of waterfalls with high hopes of paddling the Toxaway river near Cashiers, NC. Sleeping at a school-bus stop is not a good place to catch some sleep, as the energetic children find a veggie smelling wagon interesting before they get on the bus for school early in the morning. So, I got going early and picked up a Subway 12'' veggie patty before checking the level above the mighty Toxaway Falls. The gauge read 2'', and after conversing with our members of previous descent, decided it was still good-to-go but pretty high for some newbies. I had heard that you want more water than less on this run, and decided to Charge the massive put-in slide without really thinking about how all the water pulsating in the eddy below would inevitably feel pretty big in the gutter-like gorge that thundered downstream. My buddies Tim Collins and Chad Pickens joined me in the white-knuckled gallery as we were blown away by the Burlyness of our first experience in the Toxaway gorge. Billy Jones, Adam Bixby, and Dustin also concluded that the water felt significantly pushier than previous 2'' runs, but we were still able to keep it safe in there and discover some incredible changes to the geology of the riverbed. A giant landslide deposited a boulder into the middle of what was known as Minigizer, creating a new line we dubbed the Mini-Landbridge. However, the hole at the bottom of Minigizer looked awful hungry, and the pungy stick was dangling down right where you wanted to be, so we portaged down to Energizer. Dustin fired it up and had a good line, and inspired me to run the stout. Rocketing into the flow after a high-speed seal-launch, I decided to bust a 180 into Switch mode and take a rodeo ride in the rowdy hole at the bottom for extra style points of course. After almost stepping on a silent, deadly, and super-camoed Copperhead, we found another landslide below Landbridge that deposited some unfriendly looking trees into the run-out rapid after Landbridge. There wasn't really a landbridge at this level or an eddy below the drop; so, we decided to push back into the jungle for yet another burly portage. We all stared long and hard at the monster that is known as Wintergreen, and some decided to Charge while others chose a slower route. The boogie section below Wintergreen is no joke as is the 4 mile hike-out. In the words of Mr. Hilleke after his leisurely hike-out of Yucca Point in the 7 rivers expedition, "If you're not beat down now (After the Toxaway)... I can't help you"!

I got some pretty good vid from these recent adventures and decided to put together a little glimpse into what I refer to in the recent weeks as a Burl-Fest. The Liquid Logic Grande has been an excellent craft during the festivities. Take care and never hesitate to CHARGE!

Peace-- Will Pruett

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Grande Green Summer

Yo Yo Yo,

As the world turns and our ever changing planet shifts seasons, its time to get fired up about cool weather, falling leaves, pumpkins, the Gauley, and (off course) the return of water into our free flowing rivers. El Nino is supposedly back, and for those of you who don't speak Spanish, that means "The Nino" in English. Why El Nino gets the credit for one temperature gain in the Pacific eludes me, but if it means more snow in the Sierras and more rain in the SE, then I'm stoked that he/she (not sure its gender) is back.

Anyways, those of us who have been stuck in the Dirty South all summer have been forced to get our fix from damn dams. Not that I'm mad that we have dams on certain rivers, but they are just so mechanical and unforgiving that they force us to enact schedules into our lives. The Green River Narrows is a saviour to the creekboating community, which is more addicted to boofing than hot chicks are to drama. Thankfully, Duke Energy gives us our fix through generous water releases on the Green, and we are able to stay sane in a world of cars, computers, chaos, and crack-heads. Creekboaters aren't that different from crack-heads, and get pretty upset when the Duke doesn't give us our Fix by releasing the Gorilla. 

The Ocoee and Rock Island have also been running thanks to their dams. I have been boogie boarding lately and its a great way to stretch your legs out after a long playboating session and get your board on bro. Rock Island is pretty tough to catch since its big powerful current is tough to ferry across, but once your in it, its Full Throttle for sure.  I recommend wearing a cup, because the violent foam pile can be rough on the berries. Hell Hole on the Ocoee is quite a bit tamer than The Rock, and is much easier to catch since you can literally jump into the heck wave from the bank. Make sure to wear your constricting PFD, or old johnny law dogg might hit you with a hefty fine that will cut into your Hedge Fund heavily.

I have been Charging a Liquid Logic Jefe for quite a few years now, and was a little hesitant to convert to the Grande when I saw its massive characteristics. I thought to myself, "well, I'm a medium sized guy, and the Jefe is a medium sized boat, so I should just stick with it". However, after hearing raves and reviews from fellow Chargers of the same stature, I began to wander what this Grande was all about. Breaking my regular boss Jeferson after a solid year of Charging, Ryan Allen was kind enough to let me take his great white whale, aka Moby Dick, aka white Grande for a spin. Moby Dick was the king of the sea, and it was easy to see. The Grande is the King of the Creek, and its easy to see.

It almost makes things too easy... NOT! So stable, forgiving, fast, maneuverable, comfortable, and Charge-able that even a Caveman could paddle it. 
So, I made a little vid to get fired up about the upcoming season of giving... given er' hell that is.

Peace-- Will Pruett

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

LL Biscuit 55

Liquid Logic's newest playboat, the Biscuit, is one radical machine. Named after designer Shane Benedict's crazy hyper dogg Biscuit, this boat doesn't let down the dogg in its plastic form.

Thanks to the friendly folks at Rock/Creek outfitters, Jamie and Taylor, for letting me borrow their fresh Biscuit SS demo for its inaugural run of Rock Island. The dam was releasing; so, we decided to Charge off the Mill Side of the Falls. The Mill Side is a straight up waterfall, and I was surprised how tall it was after cresting the lip. So, I went for a reverse McNasty and nailed it with style. Check the Vid. After that, we hiked up to the Spout, the one everyone hucks off in LVM, and threw a freewheel into the foam. The Biscuit was treating me well.

The hole next to the put-in waves was good at this level. I forgot my overthruster, and wasn't able to get as high as I would have liked to, but the boat cartwheeled smoothly and looped good for not having an air dildo. Super stable in a side surf. You could sit their all day.

The main hole was beefy, but the Biscuit's no fear attitude gained control of the Maw and sat rather smoothly and gracefully in the pit. I couldn't believe how much pop this thing has. I missed my blunt stroke because it goes so big.

The Brave Wave was sitting tall and proud at this level. Not much foam to keep you, but the Biscuit had plenty of energy to catch and rip up this haystack. Very fast, loose, and controllable, I was able to wear myself out surfing until I felt like getting off the wave. The Biscuit also rode up on top of the turbulent waters following the wave, which is where the name Brave Wave comes from, and allowed me to catch the eddy everytime. No walks of shame for me.

I went back to the Rock at a regular 3,600 CFS day in the Biscuit and couldn't believe how easy it was to catch the finnicky Brave Wave. Of course, the Main Hole was hungry for Butter Milk and ate me and Biscuit whole a few times. Good training.

For reference, I'm 6' tall, size 11 feet, weigh 165 lbs, single, and looking for a good time. The Biscuit is loose and easy to go big. I think I won't be the only one looking to take her home in the future. Charge on.

Heres the vid.

Suck Creeking

Suck Creek is Chattanooga's local roadside gem. If you are wondering why its called the Suck, its not because it literally Sucks. The reason lies in the history of the Tennessee river before it was dammed. Back when the Tennessee river was wild and scenic, some considered it the Grand Canyon of the East. The river was, and still is high volume, gorging out the surrounding sandstone mountains to create a magnificent canyon perfect for rock climbers, hang-gliders, mountain bikers, and of course kayakers. Now, I'm not saying the Tennessee is good for whitewater boat riding today, but in its pre-dam stage, I'm sure it had some Big ole' Burlers in there at the right water levels.

That being said, this is how the name Suck Creek came about. When the river was still wild, and the river was the best form of transportation around, many a boat captains challenged the mighty Suck rapid on the Tennessee. There are stories that say 100' long barges were know to get sucked into this knarly hydraulic and flip, causing all passengers and cargo to go for a swim. Suck Creek supposedly flows into the Tennessee right where this rapid used to be.

I can't say that the Suck Rapid dishes out its fair share of beatings anymore because its now flat-water, but Suck Creek sure does. When they built the road that runs parallel to the creek, workers blasted and hucked huge jagged ricks into the streambed. During some road repairs, they even chucked peices of scrap asphault infested with rebar into our beloved Suck. As you can tell, this gave our local gem quite a knarly character.

Nonetheless, Ron Stewart, Mike Culberson, and my dad Paul Pruett were planning the first decent in the early 90's. Ron was one of the greatest whitewater pioneers around. He claimed first D's on most of the steep creeks in the Chattanooga area in boats like the Cosrsica and Freefall LT. When the rain arrived and the time came for the first D of Suck Creek, my dad was forced to work and bail on the mission, but warned Mike and Ron that 2 people aren't enough poeple to set proper safety in the case of a pin. Hungry to slay the beast, Ron and Mike put on by themselves anyways. Unfortantely, Mike got pinned on one of the first rapids we believe is now called Road Construction and Ron wasn't able to free him. Mike died that day on Suck creek. Ron was especially remorseful of the situation, as was my Dad, and neither or them ever paddled the run again.

Ron Stewart also recently passed away this past Spring after battling Cancer for many years, still teaching Calculus at Baylor, my High-School, up until the very end. I want to give my greatest respect to Ron and Mike for paving the way for all the Chattanooga Chargers. I dedicate this vid that I shot on a low water day to both of them for Given'er Full Throttle.

My Dad always warned me that Suck Creek is not to be taken lightly, and I didn't my first time down in a Space Cadet. But with people achieveing such crazy feats as running 100' waterfalls, and the Middle Kings in a day, its hard to step-back and realize that without the old-school chargers, we would never be where we are today. I hope we will continue to make them proud.

Heres the vid. Charge on Brothers and Sisters.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Ridge Riding

Howdy Ya'll

The element of life once again fell generously from the skies attempting to lure the Bear out of its den, but was only capable of catching a Lil' Possum off gaurd. Misled by the amber colored aqua I found at the take-out, I gave word to Team Jib that the Possum was high, but was quickly corrected at the put-in when we found a minimal flow of 4 tubes @ 60% capacity. Nevertheless, we were there and ready to Charge. So, Nick Murphy fired up a first D on the left tube, and we paddled down to Biggy Smalls formerly known as Immodium. Various entry angles resulted in various levels of pain/pleasure from the low aerated 25' waterfall. Double Drop comes quickly after Biggy, and I showed by example that the river right flume is good to go at this flow. Burl Master Bryce felt obliged to show the youngens that the old-school, high-water, left-line is also open for business at low flows. White Out is the last big rapid of the run, and dished out a fair amount of Carn for the Team. We narrowly avoided the rubicon of trees that plague the lower section of the run, and were stoked to have succesfully scraped down Walden's Ridge in relatively good time.

Being just 3:00PM when we finished off the Possum, Bryce baited us to go and get a taste of Henderson, which he was certain would have more water. After a quick stop at a up-scale dining establishment in Dayton, TN, we climbed the Ridge once again in search of a small trib with some stout drops. The gauge at the put-in read -7'' which doesn't sound like enough, but it was. The 3 miles of flatwater aren't exactly scenic when you're stroking for broke to make it to the steeps before the sun falls in the west. However, we made it to the sweet boof above Spinal Adjustment, and performed a mini-stomp technique to preserve our Cords of Nerves. Adioslave pulsed through my mind as we approached Spoonman, Jeremy's stylish line gave us confidence to Burl-On. Next up, the hardest rapid in the greater Chatt-town area, Fire Escape. This rapid is a multi-tiered, complex, and highly consequential rapid that has served more carnage than any other rapid I've ever seen... besides that angry low-water monkey. Jeremy's Jefe got a little impatient while we were scouting, but wasn't very succesful without Jeremy's jedi master skills guiding it and got stuck in a sieve. Determined to finish the run, Jeremy jumped across the creek, and rescued his kayak. We escaped the wrath of Fire Escape safely and continued downstream to the juicified Richland portion of the journey. We got off the Rio right at dark, and had to call our buddy the Sheriff to open the gate for our final escape. It was quite an endeavor we completed in a day for us to run Possum and Henderson in a day, and we had alot of fun. Lessons were learned from our epic day of Charging, and we all walked away braver men from the experience. Keep on Charging!

Heres some vid I got from the adventure.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chattanooga Chargers

Salutations fellow cyber-spacers,

    Thanks to all the kayakers ritualistically doing rain dances, prayers, and checking the radar. The blessed rain returned to defeat the evil drought that gripped the Southeast so tightly in its grasp. The parched earth took a mighty drink from the frequent yet minor showers that hit during November and helped establish the water tables that were close to extinction. These minor showers weren't enough to get the mighty Bear to rise from its deep slumber. It wasn't until the leaves had reached their final resting place in December that the big guns rolled in and dropped the blessed bombs of liquid pleasure that would fill the earths gutters enough for the Bear to come out of hibernation. 

 The Chattanooga Chargers were not caught off guard. The Legends of Team Jib rallied at headquarters to decide when and where we would make our move. One look at Lookout Creek gauge and the decision was clear that the Bear was ready for a visit. Upon arrival, we found a steady yet stout level of 22'', and casually geared up for what would be a day of ultimate Charging. Stairway to Heaven was travelled at great and blinding speed as the whitewater highway would pose no speed-limit or hinder freestyle. A new log in Big Bang made more than a few contemplate the throw and go option, seeing as portaging is not an option here, but Bear master Bryce would lead the calvary to freedom with a smooth line despite the wood. Not everyone would make it through the infamous Boulder Gardens unscathed. A section, which at 22'',  proves to be a perfect training course for the legendary Middle Kings. A booty beer for me would please the river gods and allow safe passage for the upcoming downpours of the beginning of 2009. 

 The Gulf of Mexico brewed up the perfect storm to start 2009 with a torrential downpour unseen in the most recent past. Finding every single local creek breaching its banks, I decided to look at a supposedly un-run 30'er on Daniel Creek, a major tributary to the Bear found in Cloudland Canyon. One look at the entrance and it was quite clear why this waterfall remains a virgin to white-water boat riders. Feeling humbled by what turned out to be a 50'er on Daniel, and with the Bear raging at 27'' and dropping slowly, I decided to go and try to tame a different animal. Little Possum beholds one of the cleanest 28'ers around Chattanooga. So, we rallied up JC Sprayer, and found the Possum to be an admirable waterway. Of course, after the Burly runs loose their juice, our local Suck holds well and allows the Chattanooga Chargers to continue get their Boof on days after the animals have receded. Until the next rain arrives, we will give the playboats some action at the mighty Rock Island, seeing as its lake is still rather full. 

I captured much of the Charging on film and want to share a glimpse into some of the gems we possess in the greater Chatt-town area. Little River Canyon, South Suck, and Johnnies can also be found in the video. Hope ya'll have been getting wet also. Charge on... 

Chattanooga Chargers from Will Pruett on Vimeo.