Echols Dorm: Brick Wall By Side Door
Ray's Campground (Hico, WV)
The following is a message I sent to the club. If you have read it and are only interested in details of this trip, scroll down. If you want to learn more about the NRG Extravaganza, keep reading:
WHAT IS THE NRG EXTRAVAGANZA?
The New River Gorge (NRG) Extravaganza is a choose-your-own-adventure megatrip that the club puts on in the fall (some years; hopefully this becomes an annual tradition) to one of the best outdoor recreation destinations in the nation, perhaps world, which is only 3 hours from C’ville. The New River itself is 1 of 10 National Wild and Scenic Rivers in the US, and the gorge and surrounding area (including the Gauley River/Summersville area) hosts excellent white water kayaking for all levels, rafting, mountain and road biking, rock climbing, hiking/backpacking, and caving. Due to the outdoor rec opportunities and natural beauty, this area of West Virginia is also very popular for tourism. The club makes various trips to the NRG area each year but the goal of the extravaganza is to bring all of the club’s popular genres/activities and people together for 1 amazing weekend.
HOW IS THIS TRIP DIFFERENT FROM LAST YEAR?
Last year’s trip was a great success. There were ~50 people and everyone got to go on at least 1 adventure and seemed to have an excellent time. I set up a general “New River Gorge Extravaganza” trip that anyone could join, which allowed me to make transportation, food, camping and gear arrangements for everyone and to keep tabs on the entire group. Then individual leaders set up adventures for that Saturday, Sunday, or both, and departed from our campsite. Some of those adventures required previous experience. This worked well but made a lot of extra work for me and other organizers. So to make things easier for me this year, and for other potential organizers in the future, I’m going to try a different model: have individual trip leaders handle ALL of the logistics, including adventure details, for their own trips. I’m going to organize a beginner-intermediate (this trip) and intermediate-advanced white water kayaking trips, and hope to entice other trip leaders to put something together. If you are not a trip leader in the club but are interested in becoming one, perhaps for putting something together to turn this into an extravaganza (hikes are super easy to organize and require little gear or experience, in some cases, as is white water rafting), then drop me or the club officers a line.
BEGINNER-INTERMEDIATE WHITE WATER KAYAKING
Now for the details of this adventure:
The section of the New River above the gorge is a 7 mile stretch from Thurmond to Cunard, WV and has 5 class 2 rapids separated by a bit of calm water and ends with the famous class 3, “Surprise” rapid. This is a great place for beginners-intermediates to get an intro to big water, and work on river skills like reading rapids, ferrying, eddy hopping, and combat rolling. This stretch also serves as a warm-up for intermediates who want to step up their game and run the gorge. We’ll start Saturday with a hearty breakfast (I might do camp food, get breakfast from the campsite – Ray makes a mean breakfast – or, most likely, hit Cathedral Cafe – the best pre-adventure meal experience ever!) then pack a lunch and our gear, and get to the water. We’ll be on the water for several hours so please be sure to bring plenty of food and water (which the club will provide).
For more info about the river check out:
MY WEEKEND PLANS:
Get to the campsite (see info below) Friday night, set up camp, get a campfire rolling, eat, drink, and be merry. Rise with the sun on Saturday, eat breakfast, then set shuttle (drop cars at put-in and take-out). I plan to put-in at Thurmond as early as possible and paddle to Cunard where the beginner types will take-out and shuttle back to the put-in to pick up the other vehicle(s) and then shuttle to Fayette Station, the take-out for the lower section and where the intermediate-advanced crew will end (which I will set up as a separate trip). I’ll explain more (in person) later…My Sunday plans are up in the air – planning to get my family out for a relaxing day of hiking or biking. Will probably head to the Gauley if they don’t make it.
A few important notes:
1. PRIOR EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY. You must have taken the intro to kayaking class with me or have similar experience to go on this trip and have been on at least 1 river trip through at least class 2 rapids. Since I will have to screen your qualifications your name will get added to the waitlist upon signing up, and then moved to the trip list if appropriate.
2. You will have the opportunity to paddle Saturday and/or Sunday. If a lot of people are interested in paddling, I will set it up to try to get everyone on the water which means you will probably not get to paddle both days (I expect lots of interest).
I am NOT “leading” on any of these rivers, I am only coordinating some logistics and transportation to the rivers, you are responsible for your own safety and the activities you choose to participate in while on this trip, and you agree to have read and will abide by the American Whitewater Safety Code http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Wiki/safety:start?
Those with the appropriate skills may join as “Common Adventurers”
I do not plan to do any cooking but will get groceries for us to share. This will include: easy breakfast items like granola/cereal bars, poptarts, fruit, OJ, instant oats, bagels, etc.; lunch items like bagel sandwiches with cold cuts, tunafish, cheese, etc. snacks, and fruit; dinner items like instant pasta preparations. The allotment from the club is $8/person/day so will take the number of participants x $8 x 2 days and go to Sam’s Club. If you have any specific requests you can note them in the questionnaire upon joining this adventure. I will eat out for breakfast for at least 1 day and dinner for at least 1 night (mmmm, “Pies and Pints”!). I’ll bring my camp stove and at least one of the clubs.
We’ll be staying at Ray’s Campground: http://www.rayscampground.com/
There is plenty of space, bathrooms/showers, firewood to purchase, and good people. For directions you can follow the link above or the “adventure destination” link posted with this adventure.
The club will cover your camp fee ($8.50 per person per night)
I’ve put $5 as the fee to make sure all gas gets covered. The club will reimburse up to $150 per car but that can quickly get exceeded with all of the shuttling that takes place and with the current gas prices. I might increase the fee to $10 depending on the number of people to sign up and who ends up driving.
**Please note that some of the adventure details may change as the date draws near, including the departure time. I will let you know when I make changes.
The Club provides: boats, spray skirts, paddles, pfds, helmets, noseplugs, drybags, float bags (limited quantities), neoprene booties, paddle jackets (limited sizes/quantities), boat transportation, shuttle ride, camping gear (if you need it), camping fee, some food, ga$.
You should bring: swimwear, footwear that can get wet (though the club has an ample supply of neoprene booties), towel, change of clothes, sunblock, food/snacks, water, your boat and gear if you have it, camping gear (if you have it), a way to entertain yourself for when you are not paddling (which may be one of the two days that we are out there), toiletries, money