This summer I had the opportunity to work with Falling Creek Camp on their first ever of its kind Advanced Creek Week. The idea, the brainchild of head kayak instructor Jez Blanchard, was pretty simple: to offer the top level of campers a chance to push their skills outside the boundaries of the normal camp kayaking experience. When Jez approached me about helping out with the week I jumped at the chance, if there's one thing I like more than kayaking myself its getting the opportunity to help show other people just how far you can go. For most of the kids their only kayaking experience had been during the summer at camp and had been confined to the Nantahala, the Pigeon and a couple other rivers local to Western NC. Nothing to scoff at by any means but there's so much more out there! So Jez and I started talking and came up with the following itinerary (it helps that Jez is an Aussie and pretty much up for anything under the sun).
Day 2- Upper and Middle Ocoee
Day 3- New River Gorge
Day 4- New River Gorge
Day 5- Upper Gauley
Day 6- Run out to the Green Narrows
Day 7- Triple Falls
Might not sound too ambitious but when you've got a group of 15 with no non-kayaking days, that's a lot of rivers and ground to cover in a week! Well lets just say we made it with style:) There where some late nights (make that super late nights), getting lost in the backwoods of WV looking for a campsite (Ben the New River Campsite is right next to the river by the way), a blown trailer tire, a couple of swims, and all sorts of awesomeness! I'd like to congratulate all the boys who made the trip for their personal first descents of the New River Gorge, the Olympic course on the Ocoee, the Upper Gauley, the bottom mile of the Green, Triple falls, and their first vertical drops ever. I had a great time and am already looking forward to next year which promises to be bigger and better! For more info on Falling Creek Camp and their kayaking programs you can check out their website.
and also take a look at the video
the kids put together of the trip. And here are a couple of pictures all thanks to Doug and Bryan. Many thanks to Falling Creek Camp, Ben Williams, Jez, Doug and Bryan for rallying on the mission and most of all to all the campers for making it fun!
The crew in front of the New River Gorge Bridge
Our trusty van and trailer on the way to the Upper Gauley
Dropping some vert on Day 1
The new River Gorge