White Water Rafting in the Lower New River Gorge

Trip Start Jun 07, 2007
Trip End Sep 01, 2007

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Where I stayed
Songer Whitewater
What I did
whitewater rafting

Flag of United States  , West Virginia
Saturday, July 28, 2007

Songer knows that Darrin's group from Paddles, Poles and More likes to party so they think its funny to book us on the early rafting trip. We were told we had a 7:15 meeting time and we'd be heading to the river after that.

Saturday we got up early to have breakfast and sign waiver's before we could go rafting. Everyone was pretty hungover and tired and I think a few people still looked drunk.
We were given our helmets, life jackets and paddles at the center before we boarded the bus. We took our stuff to decorate our helmets on the bus with us and we did that for the 20 min ride to the river put in at Cunard.

We looked hysterical, the other rafters on the bus were laughing at us. We got the whole safety lecture from the guides on the way. When we got the to the put in we got all our gear on and found our guide and raft.

Our guide was Doug, he was one of 4 Songer guides doing our trip that morning. We took our raft down the river where we were video taped putting in. We were told the river was running at about 2.5 ft. which is optimal level for huge holes and big waves for the New River.
About a few hunded yards from the put in was our first rapids. It was called Pinball and had a nice wave train. We got through that one no problem. The next set of rapids coming up were the Railroads. We watched the first 3 rafts of Songer's team go into the rapid and do pretty well with only a few swimmers. As we hit Upper Railroad the raft spun to the side and flipped over completely. Everyone got dumped! Both Bob and I got caught under the raft in the Cunard Stripper which apparently its a class 3 reciruclating hydraulic. It was scary as hell in there! I had to keep fighting to get out from under the raft and it just kept pushing me back down and the whole time my body is circulating around in the water. It was like being flushed down a giant toilet bowl with a raft on your head!

I was trapped under the raft for quite a while, finally the Stripper spit me out and I got to swim through the next set of wave train rapids they call Chicago! At the bottom Mercer's raft picked me up and got me in until Doug righted our raft and picked all the swimmer's up. Mercer dumped me back in my own raft so we could continue on down the river to Lower Railroad. All of this was caught on tape! Unfortunately the lower ball of my eyebrow piercing got lost in the fray.

Just down the river was Lower Railroad another class 3 rapid where our video man was set up on a rock taping us coming in to the rapid, catching the eddy and paddling up to surf the hole. Our raft got into the hole and a huge wave knocked me over board and I got trapped under the raft again!  A few people have died in this hole. Thankfully I got out ok, and without as much trouble as Upper Railroad. My raft picked me up and we went into the eddy to surf yet again! We did this like 3-4 times. I managed to stay in the boat for the rest of the surfing attempts. 

After Lower Railroad was Swimmer's, a small class 2 rapid. Doug told us we could get out of the raft and swim the rapid if we wanted. I opted to stay in the boat since I just swam 3 rapids involuntarily and I swallowed quite a bit of river water! Bob got out and did it. He did good til he hit the Toilet Bowl and got sucked in and spit out again. We got Bob back in the raft and went down stream through Stripper's another class 3 rapid with a large wave train. We all managed to stay aboard and had a good ride. We went through the Ender Waves til we got to the Upper Keeney's.
Doug told us to hold on for dear life because the Keeney's are a set of 3 nasty rapids that range from class 3 to 4 to 5 back to back! Its not rapids that you want to swim! We got through Upper Keeney no problem, everyone was bracing hard and hanging onto the chicken line. 

 After Upper Keeney we went right into Middle Keeney which has some huge waves. We manged to get thorugh it without any swimmers. We pulled over on the side of the shore at Middle Keeney and had our lunch and watched some of the other rafting companies coming down the river. Songer had a nice lunch of sandwiches, pasta salad, chips, nachos, cookies and water for us. We were there for a little bit. I took some video of some of the other rafters going through Middle Keeney.

After lunch it was time to get back on the river and tackle Lower Keeney and the Meat Grinder. I could see why they called this the Meat Grinder, there were tons of huge boulders all over the place just waiting for the river to slam you into them. NASTY! We manged to get through Lower Keeney without swimming. This is where I think our rafting pics were taken.

After passing the Keeney's we went through Lollygag, a small bumpy class 2 rapid. It was on the way to Double Z the biggest, most technical rapid on the New at class 5!

Doug once again told us not to fall out of the raft. We got through that one fine. Then we came up to Greyhound Bus Stopper, a churning class 4 rapid with a good surfing hole. Doug told us with the river running over 2 foot that breaking the eddy to get into Greyhound was going to be difficult and if it was too difficult to get into we prob. didn't want to get into it anyway. We watched one of Songer's other rafts make a few attempts and get rejected and a few swimmers get flung down river. Doug told us he wanted to get closer to watch the other rafts make the attempt so he had us paddle up river toward Greyhound. At the last second he cut our raft into the hole and had us surfing! It was awesome. We were only in for a minute or so before we got rejected but it was cool. We caught the eddy and paddled back up to try it again. On our second attempt we side surfed and a few people on the right hand side of the raft got knocked overboard, including me! 
Thankfully the raft didn't drift too far and I didn't have to swim too much to get back in. While I was swimming the raft bumped into a small rock and knocked our guide overboard. All the other guides started pointing and blowing their whistles...they thought it was hysterical that Doug fell out in calm water. At some point in this rapid I lost the other piece of my eyebrow ring.....the New River just ate it! LOL!

We all got back into the raft and continued downstream. After Greyhound is another class 4 rapid called Miller's Folly with a large undercut rock, not a good place to get trapped! We charged through that and went onto our last rapid of the day Fayette Station. Fayette Station is a choppy class 4 with tons of waves, its bumpy and fun. This is where the take out for the river is. Our camera man was set up on a rock to film the rafts doing their grand finale for the video. We all put our goofily decorated helmets on backwards, donned our "breastplates" and turned our paddles backwards for the finale. Bob gave the pig CPR as we were being filmed. It was hysterical. 

It was a great day on an awesome river. I loved it! I went there hoping my raft would flip and boy did I get it! I would do it all over again!

Once we got off the river we unloaded the gear from the raft, had our picture taken and got on the bus....where they served us beer! They told us that about 40 min after we got back our rafting video would be done and we'd all be able to watch it back at Songer.

We got showered and went to the office to check out the video. It was awesome. You can see me get tossed all 3 times and you can see me getting trapped under the boat in Upper Railroad and getting spit out of the recirculating hole of hell! I had to buy the video and some pictures. I'll post them shortly. After we watched our video we went to the bar! Where else. We drank from 3 til 7 when they served dinner.

Then after dinner the Beer Olympics resumed with Flip Cup, Beer Pong and No I Never. There was also a crazy Noodle Fight. We wandered back and forth between the bar and our party site all night.
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