Friday, November 11, 2011

Dog Days to Another Missed Green Race

After Quebec, things really wound down around K-town as the dog days of summer kicked in. We had a few good days here and there (Juicy Crooked Fork, Thunderhead into Tremont), but in general it was Ocoee and mountain biking time. I even had some time to sneak a few good hiking trips in there.

Acadia National Park from Schoodic Mountain.

The Smokies have some great creeks.

This unpaddled one has plenty of bedrock.

Smokin' Steve Rappin' through an Impressive Place.

Since I hadn't paddled with my brother in forever, I decided to kick off September with a quick hitter to Colorado. The 4 day trip yielded Gore, the Black Canton of the Gunnison, and Bailey before I had to hop right back on the plane. A few notes from the trip:

- Gore rocks and makes me wish the Pigeon Dries would run again.
- Whether or not you run the super gnar, the Black is good for the soul.
- The portaging and hike out of the black are much more enjoyable with fully functioning lower appendages.
- Coloradans carnie as much as southeasterners do on predictable damn releases close to town.
- While gear dries much faster out west, the gate area in the Denver airport is still suboptimal for rapid drying operations.

Trying to Avoid having my Balls Crushed (Photo: TJ)

Gettin' my stomp on before gettin' my portage on (Photo: TJ).

Rolf droppin' into next gen, which was sick above 1000, although it's sick under 1000 as well (Photo: TJ).

TJ styling the move that led to my torn MCL in 2009 (Photo: I don't know)

When I returned home it became evident that the dry southeast I has left had since been saturated. Unfortunately levels receded quickly as the parched earth soaked it up like a sponge, but CPac and I were able to sneak in an after work West Prong as flows dropped out. It was even better that both the upper and lower were portage free other than major wood residing in big tree. The rest of September on in to October continued to deliver with runs on the Blackwater, Gauley, Green, Gragg Prong, Wilson, Russell Fork, and Tellico (never even took the camera though).

Unfortunately the last Sunday in October I tweaked (tore some scar tissue?) in my surgically repaired left shoulder in Boof. I was still able to complete the run and another race pace run, but come Monday the pain and swelling kicked up. After a week of going easy on my shoulder rehab work, I got to test it the day before the race on an after work low water Lilly to Nemo run. The results were not promising and after waffling for too long I made the smart decision to miss my third straight green race with an injury. Demoralized by the decision and not being much of a spectator, I decided to push myself in a different way: by hiking from Sugarlands to snowy Mt. Leconte (about 22 miles round trip with 5200 ft. of gain). The views were spectacular from Myrtle Point and my only advice is wear good shoes or your feet will hate you.

Looking down into some of the best creeking on the east coast.

Gotta love those Smoky Mountain Vistas.

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