By Jay Young; photos too, unless otherwise noted
I may have the best job in the world, especially when Gauley Season arrives every September. At no other time of year do I leave my desk with such frequency to get out into the field camera in hand. And the good thing about taking pics on the river? I have to run ‘er to do it.
Here’s a collection of choice Adventures On the Gorge Gauley pics going all the way back to Spring. We’ve got Class VI-Mountain River, Rivermen and Songer collected herein. And hey, we’re not finished yet!
Captions below. Click a photo for a larger view.
From left to right and top to bottom…
- Ever wonder what the Middle Gauley looks like at low water? Wonder no longer. We pick the boats appropriate to ensure that there is no pony-ride level out there. Summer Middle Gauley Ducky trip. Photo: Matt Sloan.
- More from the Summer Middle Gauley trip. This river runs all year round, folks. and here it is at 450 cfs. Photo: MS.
- Many Gauley Rapids become even more intense at high water. Some, for example, Iron Ring get more intense at low water, too. Summer Upper Gauley trip at 1700 cfs, which is a little too high for duckies. Photo: MS.
- Opening day of Gauley Season 2012 finally arrived with guaranteed flows of 2800 cfs, and you can bet we were out there taking pics. Here’s Jack Dorsey and crew in the early morning light at Pillow Rock, Upper Gauley.
- They say one the most under-photographed of the Big 5 on the Upper G is Iron Ring. Not anymore! Here, a Class VI raft plows through the curler at the bottom of the slide. Pic 1 of 2.
- Pic 2 of 2. The looks on their faces tell as much about Iron Ring as the water in the air.
- Songer pops over the top waves at Iron Ring. Pic 1 of 2.
- Pic 2 of 2. Fidge and crew are virtually buried in foam!
- In my personal favorite of the Iron Ring series, Nugget and crew fight through the aerated water to safety.
- I’ve shot Sweets Falls from river left and even from atop the Meltdown Rock, but never from the classic river-right angle. On opening day, I decided to change that up. Here’s Derek and crew in the maw.
- A wider view gives a good perspective on the size and power of Sweets Falls. For Goldie and crew I’m sure the view was… different.
- Yet another odd angle on one of the world’s most famous rapids—this time from upstream—adds another perspective to the scale of it all.
- Scott Swain and crew fall down the Elevator Shaft in one of the most underrated rapids on the entire river, Wood’s Ferry. We run Wood’s as part of our Upper/Middle Gauley trip, which gives us a fitting climax to absurdly fun day!
- The AOTG Gauley Overnight: 2 chefs preparing a multi-course meal and hors d’oeuvres, hot tubs, hot showers, beer, wine, lounge chairs and glamping at Canyon Doors. After a leisurely sleep-in start and a full hot breakfast the next day, we run the Lower! What can you say other than that the Adventures On the Gorge Gauley Overnight is the best 2-day rafting trip in America, possibly the world. Pic 1 of 2.
- Pic 2 of 2. The scene around the fire at Canyon Doors on the Gauley Overnight—guests relax with a beverage while waiting for prime rib and roasted salmon.
- The Lower Gauley Jump Rock. We actually have an easement that gives us the legal right to climb up this rock and jump off it. Not that we wouldn’t do it anyway!
- Week 2 of Gauley Season arrived and I headed out once again, with a major goal of shooting at Insignificant. Terrific morning light gave this logo-blasting shot for Rivermen.
- Another virtually unshot rapid is Lower Stairsteps on the Lower Gauley. Here, Melanie and crew destroy the huge middle wave before drifting into the sea of roller coaster-y hay stacks.
- How’s that for water in the air? Here’s a wider shot, this time of Rivermen knocking every last drop of water out of the Lower Stairsteps wave.
- I walked 30 feet upstream to get this bizarre shot, also of Lower Stairsteps. These guys full-on table-topped.