Has it been dry this year?!! The Southeast, parched from a year of pitiful precip, became all but a desert by September. It wasnt 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 citys 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 couldnt 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.
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?
Is the Moose even running?
Okay, what about the Russell Fork?
Thats 7 hours away.
Sos the Black.
Yeah, but youre not doing the Russell Fork.
Well what else is there?
The reality was, that there wasnt anything else. Reservoirs were the only places that still had water, and they certainly werent 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 whitewaters last stand.
It wasnt the gnarliest thing around, or the most playful, or even the most scenic. But it had water and rapids and hey, fall foliage could turn any canvas into art.