by eraBrian 

Has it been dry this year?!!  The Southeast, parched from a year of pitiful precip, became all but a desert by September.  It wasn’t that the rivers dried up.  There was sand pouring down their washes.  Atlanta was in a panic.  The city water planners had issued a report giving the city’s water supply another 90 days.  It had to rain soon and hard and long, or else people were going to thirst. 

I left and went north.  It couldn’t be much worse, could it?  With some others from the ERA crew, we hit the Gauley and the New.  It felt strange to paddle in West Virginia in a t-shirt, but I got over it.  Sunny skies, clean lines, and great friends sealed another wild and wonderful weekend, and we all left smiling.  jessyough-1.JPG

 

Two weeks later though, there we were again.  My sister Jess and I had a free weekend and were deciding where to go.  

“If we got up 3, we could be at the Black at 10… hit the Moose by 3…run the shuttle…”
 “What time does it get dark?”                                   
 “7:30.”
 “Try 6:30.”
 “Is the Moose even running?”
 “Might be?”
 “Okay, what about the Russell Fork?”
 “That’s 7 hours away.”
 “So’s the Black.”
 “Yeah, but you’re not doing the Russell Fork.”
 “Well…what else is there?”
The reality was, that there wasn’t anything else.  jessyough4.JPG Reservoirs were the only places that still had water, and they certainly weren’t giving it up.  It was hopeless.  Scrolling through the gauges, I felt defeated.  Low, low, low, info unavailable, low, medium – what?!  The Lower Yough!  Of course.  Appalachian whitewater’s last stand. 

It wasn’t the gnarliest thing around, or the most playful, youghgold6.JPGor even the most scenic.  But it had water and rapids and hey, fall foliage could turn any canvas into art.