Lower Yough Loop

Trip Start Feb 17, 2011
Trip End Oct 23, 2011

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Where I stayed
Ray's Campground
What I did
whitewater kayaking
New River Gorge Visitor's Center
Lower Yough Loop
Pies n Pints Pizzeria

Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Friday, July 29, 2011

Today Kathy, John, Lisa and I ran the Loop section of the Lower Yough since we were in the area before we continued on our journey into WV. 

We met at noon in Ohiopyle near the private boater change house to get changed and set shuttle. Since it was Friday we did not need launch permits from the state park. 

The first mile of the Lower Yough is referred to as the Loop because the river actually does make a loop and you end up across the street from where you started so there is no shuttle necessary. We decided to only run the Loop because we still had a 2.5-3 hour drive to make to get to Ray's Campground in Hico, WV which was going to be our base for the New River. Also Kathy has never been to WV and wanted to see the New River Gorge Visitor's Center and the New River Bridge

When we put on the Lower Yough was at 1.6 ft which is low enough to run the Ohiopyle Falls. John decided to run them so Kathy, Lisa and I set safety at the bottom of the falls. Ofcourse John styled the landing and didn't need our assistance at all. 

We paddled down river and played and surfed a bit in class III Entrance. rapid. Since it was at a lower level there were alot more rocks exposed than last weekend which required more maneuvering.  In trying not to get in the way of people surfing various spots in Entrance I ran too far to the right and discovered Bryson's Hole got flipped and rolled! I hadn't managed to hit that hole before and it really catches you off-guard. 

I have to say I really prefer the Lower Yough at a higher level, like I had the weekend before, 1.9 closing in on the 2 foot level, alot less nuisance rocks. In class III Cucumber rapid I set my line and ran clean of the holes at the top but let my guard down and got flipped and rolled in one of the lower holes. I was somewhat glad this happened because it was proving to me that my roll really was working despite my injury. 

In class I Piddly rapid I ran the right hand side into the pour-over, that was sorta fun. We stayed here a bit and ferried. In class II+ Camel and Walrus rapid we did some boofing and side surfing. We played around here for awhile. 

In class II+ Eddy Turn rapid we had to do some raft dodging so we pulled alot of eddies on the way down while zigzagging between rafts. I always forget about class II+ Dartmouth rapid on the Loop, its very similar to Entrance but smaller, we played around here as well and allowed the rafts to get in front of us and clear Railroad before we entered. 

In class III Railroad rapid I went down the "frog's back" slot, there was still water to be able to do the slide but it was really getting low, I'm not sure how much lower this would be runnable at. As I was making my way down the drops in the second tier of the rapid I could see Lisa and Kathy flip at the same time. Lisa rolled right up but Kathy needed some help from John. We played around in this rapid some before getting out, Kathy had a swim at the very end. 

Next was the class V hike up through the Loop take-out, this is one of the most difficult river takeouts I've experienced yet! After we changed we went to Wilderness Voyagers to look at some gear. Both Kathy and Lisa were looking for flotation bags for their kayaks, I was looking at new pfd's and John was waiting for us to finish shopping. 

When we were finished we got back on the road and headed into WV. We went right for the New River Gorge Visitor's Center since it was about 7:00 p.m. and we were losing daylight quickly. Kathy loved the view of the Bridge and the river. She didn't think that Miller's Folly rapid looked to bad from the overlook.......while we were there Bob B. found us and ended up going out to eat with us. 

We drove over into Fayetteville and went right to Pies n Pints! I love this place, they have some of the best pizza I have ever had! As always it was packed but by getting seats at the bar we got waited on much quicker. We ordered three small pies, the Spinach Garlic pie, the Margherita pie and the Classic pie. All were fantastic, we had some Lager and talked about river levels, rapids and the next day.

It was dark when we pulled into Ray's Campground. Thankfully Kathy and I had rented a cabin so there wasn't much to set up. We got everything arranged quickly, made plans for the next morning, got a shower and went to bed. 
Lower Yough info: http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/1687/#tab-rapids

Ray's Campground: http://www.rayscampground.com/

New River Gorge Visitor's Center: http://www.nps.gov/neri/planyourvisit/crvc.htm

New River Gorge Bridge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_River_Gorge_Bridge

Fayetteville info: http://www.visitfayettevillewv.com/
Pies n Pints info: http://www.piesandpints.net/
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