by Jon Torrey
I just returned from my second run down the Upper Gauley. Ranked second best rafting on the continent (next to the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon), seventh best in the world, and best single day trip anywhere it is a beast of whitewater. Our six person crew all wanted a good rough time and our guide, Richard, delivered. Running point through many of the rapids he manhandled the boat into lines that rocked and tossed the raft around.
We passed over several smaller surf spots in favor of Hungry Mother. Running this surf spot third we watched one boat lose four of the six clients and another boat not make it in. After setting up for the run we slipped into the ideal spot and were promptly flipped, capsizing the boat, and spilling all six of us clients and Richard into the water. Pillow Rock once again delivered as a great ride and we won among our trips boats for getting the most paddled on the rock. Insignificant and Lost Paddle were just as fun as last year and I remembered the exact spot during Hawaii 5-0 where my friend Kevin muttered an, “Oh shit!” the first time through. As we approached the end of the big water a distinct rock face loomed ahead. I knew Sweet’s Falls was coming and got giddy. 14 feet is a pretty big waterfall.
As always, ACE Adventure was fantastic and I’m glad I made the drive down. Next year I’m getting in a four man raft and requesting Richard. He’s made some promises of really showing us a good time.