© 2011 Adam Johnson Adam Johnson catching air on the New River Dries

WV’s 2011 Spring Marks Record Water & Whitewater

Spring 2011 will undoubtedly be remembered as one of those springs you always want to repeat. From running Real Manns Creek on January 2nd, to surfing the New River Dries at optimal flows on a weekend in the middle of March, to doing double doubles on Red Run and the North Fork of the Blackwater in the middle of June–the action just never stopped.

Oliver Grossman in the entrance to Gladiator, January 2011

Oliver Grossman in the entrance to Energizer, Real Manns Creek, January 2011

One very cold day in early January we decided to rally south down towards Fayetteville (since it is indeed warmer down there). When we arrived we met up with some Fayetteville locals, Todd Richendollar and Stewart Caldwell, who proposed we do a run on Mill Creek and then head over to Real Manns. We had a great run on Real Manns with a level around 5 inches. The run was short but action packed. I’d say we scouted nearly every rapid. A highly recommended run.

There were a couple obligatory--and cold-- North Fork of the Blackwater Runs Jan-March

There were a couple obligatory–and cold– North Fork of the Blackwater Runs Jan-March

Red Creek in late February. It was damn cold.

Red Creek in late February. It was damn cold.

Red Creek begins in the headwaters of Dolly Sods. Since this is the case, many of the Forest Service roads–like the one to the putin–are closed during the winter due to snow. When this is the case, you have the option of hiking in through the Timberline side of Canaan Valley & Dolly Sodds.

On this particular day, the wind was absolutely ripping up the mountain. Snow was blowing sideways and we were one cold crew of kayakers. There were times when I had to stop hiking because I thought the wind might blow me to the ground otherwise.

To add to the awesomeness, we got lost on the way to the putin due to heavy snow and low visibility.

To add to the awesomeness, we got lost on the way to the putin due to heavy snow and low visibility.

We did go kayaking, eventually. Definitely the coldest day of kayaking I can remember. Geoff Calhoun runs Mood Ring, Red Creek, WV.

We did go kayaking, eventually. Definitely the coldest day of kayaking I can remember. Geoff Calhoun runs Mood Ring, Red Creek, WV.

Geoff Calhoun on Rainbow Room, North Fork of the Blackwater, WV on a nice day in March

Geoff Calhoun on Rainbow Room, North Fork of the Blackwater, WV on a nice day in March

Chris Schwer running a stout hole on the Lower Blackwater--a great alternative to the hill on those cold, snowy days.

Chris Schwer running a stout hole on the Lower Blackwater–a great alternative to the hill on those cold, snowy days.

High water Swallow Falls, Top Yough. Left line.

Sam Burke on high water Swallow Falls, Top Yough. Left line.

One river that will always be a special place for me is the New River Dries. I cannot think of another place that offers such a varied array of river waves in such close proximity to my home. On top of that, they happen to be some of the best features in the world. I’ll let the photos do the talking.

Ben Marr came down from oh-so-cold Canada for some epic surf. He was without question doing better than the rest of us out there. Photo Bryan Kirk

Ben Marr came down from oh-so-cold Canada for some epic surf. He was without question doing better than the rest of us out there. Photo Bryan Kirk

Shane Groves was also out there collecting frequent flyer miles. No doubt from the nightly after work sessions on these waves. Photo: Bryan Kirk

Shane Groves was also out there collecting frequent flyer miles. No doubt from the nightly after work sessions on these waves. Photo: Bryan Kirk

Kirk getting out from behind the camera. Photo: Ben Marr

Kirk getting out from behind the camera & getting some air. Photo: Ben Marr

Surfing the middle wave at the dries requires you to be out of control and in the air 40% of the time. This is me hoping I land without incident. Photo: Kirk

Surfing the middle wave at the dries requires you to be out of control and in the air 40% of the time. This is me hoping I land without incident. Photo: Kirk

One of my favorite shots. You can see just how big this wave really is. Adam Surfing, Kirk on the Lens.

One of my favorite shots. You can see just how big this wave really is. Adam blunting, Kirk on the lens.

I think Ben spent more time in the air than surfing the wave. Very impressive. Photo: Kirk

I think Ben spent more time in the air than surfing the wave. Very impressive. Photo: Kirk

A common pose on the dries. Photo: Kirk

A common pose on the dries. “Oh $%^*!!”. Photo: Kirk

More stupid rediculous air for Ben. Center Wave on the Dries at 53,000cfs. Photo: Kirk

More stupid rediculous air for Ben. Center Wave on the Dries at 53,000cfs. Photo: Kirk

The view from the large boulder at the putin. There's some legit 5.10+ climbing up the hill and to the right of this photo.

The view from the large boulder at the putin. There’s some legit 5.10+ climbing up the hill and to the right of this photo.

More great days on the Uppper Blackwater. Pendleton falls in the background.

More great days on the Uppper Blackwater. Pendleton falls in the background.

No spring is complete without a little climbing double double at Seneca Rocks, WV.

No spring is complete without a little climbing double double at Seneca Rocks, WV. Chris Heim on lead.

Ever seen Blackwater Falls from river left? It looks a lot taller.

Ever seen Blackwater Falls from river left? It looks a lot taller.

8 Boats. 1 Small Truck. Check.

8 Boats. 1 Small Truck. Check.

One fine April day it was raining and we had a good mind that Bull Run was, indeed, “running” (pun intended). After putting in a half day at the office, Chris Schwer and I went out for an afternoon jaunt.

The Matador! Adam Johnson routing, direct, down the stout on Bull Run, Masontown, WV.

The Matador! Adam Johnson routing, direct, down the stout on Bull Run, Masontown, WV.

I’d been wanting to run the Matador, the steepest rapid on Bull Run, direct from top to bottom for a very long time. It’s a three stage drop–the top portion being a tricky slide boof, the second half being a boof onto another slide where you must stay left, and then the third drop you see above. While the 3rd drop is the most impressive, lining up the first two are without a doubt the crux. I ended up boofing off the middle at the top (a first for me; note that it’s not all that deep) and proceeding directly into stage two (there is a small eddy that is usually caught. I opted to continue downstream). Stage two: Boof, hit the slide, duck the undercut on the left, stroke and tuck to fall off the last drop.

Post stout brown. Stoked on a good line. Photos: Chris Schwer

Post stout brown. Stoked on a good line. Photos: Chris Schwer

Chris Schwer running Blind Betty. He ended up going through the left slot instead of the normal right slot. It goes.

Chris Schwer running Blind Betty. He ended up going through the left slot instead of the normal right slot. It goes.

Chris stoked to be on Bull Run after a half day at the office. Morgantown is a sweet place to live, work, and boat.

Chris stoked to be on Bull Run after a half day at the office. Morgantown is a sweet place to live, work, and boat.

That’s all for now folks. I write this from Oregon, just after spending a solid week with Ben Ledewitz creeking in California and the Pacific Northwest. Stay tuned for that story and more debauchery¬†soon. As always, check out the¬†Picasa Web Album for all the sweet photos.

Be safe,

Adam Johnson

-Adam Johnson

One Comment

  1. john boylan
    Posted October 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm | #

    Very nice Adam.

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