Friday, December 15, 2006

Elk River

Watch Elk Video
Got on the Elk river with the rain that we got a few weeks ago, and it was a pretty epic day! Directly after the put-in, is a 50' waterfall aptly named Big Falls. None of us thought we were actually going to run it, but when we scouted it looked good. After scouting it from the bottom as well, Cooper and I decided to run it. Coop and I scouting from the top.

Coop off the lip

Fading off, while Coop films in the corner.

The gorge was really cool, lots of class IV+,V big water slides.

Here is a shot of me rolling off the lip of the 35' at the end of the gorge.

Watch Elk Video

check yo' self

Nathan Silsbee

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The one and only... Toxaway

I have thought about this run a LOT, and I finally got on it. It's even more awe-inspiring then I expected it to be. It was 70 degrees out, the rapids were way bigger then I imagined, the portages were more heinous then I envisioned and it was relatively high water. A truly epic day. The last part of the put-in slide:

We weren't sure if it would run the night before, but with two inches of rain in in 24 hours, Gragtmans called me Friday morning and he thought it would run. Good enough for me. Turns out there was more then enough water! I packed up my crap and met Gragtmans, Spencer Cooke, Brad Key and Dylan Bruce at the BP off the Asheville airport exit. We were all really pumped up, and someone was saying it was going to be pretty high. We all loaded up in Dylan's car and Spencer's truck and headed towards the river where we met Paul Stamilio. We clambered down the mountain next to Toxaway falls, and got to this one 20' drop-off where we had to push our boats off. Gragtmans and I pushed ours off to the right, and Dylan decided to try and fire up the left line of the cliff. He chucked his boat off and it bounced down about twenty-five feet before pitoning straight into a tree, bending the bow up. What a hilarious start to the day.

The first slide is super long and not too steep until the last 50 yards or so where it drops off into the pool below. A really cool warm-up for the rapids to come. We cruised through the boogie water, until we got to the first of a series of class IV+ gradual slides. These were super fun, and we just blue-angeled our way through, briefly stopping at the bottom of each rapid to regroup. The first major rapid is called Minigizer, it has a tricky entrance where you charge left then slide down sideways and brace into a big curler. Here's a shot of Gragtmans cruising down...
Dylan "the blue blur" Bruce, moving fast on Minigizer.

Paul on Minigizer

A few rapids later we got to Energizer, another extremely narrow, very steep chute. We got there just in time to see someone from the group in front of us spin out half way down and run the rest of it backwards. Hmmm... Here's a shot of Gragtmans on Energizer.

Dylan enjoying the Feeding Trough...

Sorry, didn't get any good photos from the two biggest rapids, Landbridge and Wintergreen, but stay tuned to the Riot Blog for video of the trip... We got to the take-out just as it was getting dark, and hiked out in the moonlight. Luckily it was warm and clear, so hiking out in the dark was not an issue. I felt truly privileged to get on this run with such a great group, and such good conditions. On a more serious note, the Toxaway is a truly irreplaceable treasure, and I would hate to see anything happen to ruin our access to it. Please be extremely careful when running this gorge, and always remember to leave a note telling the rangers that you are in the gorge. Be safe out there!

-Nathan Silsbee

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