As everyone knows, the Gauley is classic. I'm fortunate enough that my Dad has been rowing a raft down the river at least once a year since before I was born. I'm also fortunate enough that he agrees to put up with me and my kayaker friends as tag alongs in exchange for helping with rigging and breaking down rafts. This results in a night in the lap of luxury on the side of a beautiful river with better food and drink than I ever get at home. While the 26 miles from the damn to Swiss can easily be paddled in a single day, there's still plenty to be offered for a two day trip. Despite the less than ideal camping (rafting companies own most of the nicer camping spots) and less than full on wilderness (logging roads in the canyon are frequented by locals on ATVs), the Gauley as an overnight offers a great opportunity to experience the river in a new way.
I won't say too much about the Raven Fork overnight trip here other than it's the best class V overnighter in the Southeast. This is also the most true overnighter. It could be done in a day but it would be a long day and the water levels work out better if it drops for the second day. The logistics are a little difficult as you need high water, good weather, and an open straight fork road. The upper section is rarely paddled and is some of the best class IV wilderness paddling around. The campground at Enloe Creek is one of my favorite official campgrounds anywhere. The lower section is the best class V creek on the east coast. It's all tucked in one of the most remote areas of the southeast. It's as good as it gets.
|Ben Warf killing it on Caveman on a non-overnight trip through the lower Raven Fork Gorge.|
|Kirk Eddlemon enjoying the serenity of Upper Clear Creek.|
|Sometimes the scenery is big too.|
|The comforts of rock house camping.|
|Four Mile Creek Falls is just a nice little bushwhack away.|
|One of a few spots where the family canoe is not the vessel of choice. Still, it works.|
|Mark Newton drives into the awkward pinch at Billy Goat Bluff.|
|This photo tries to make it intense.|
|Glamor shots at camp. Look at that body...|
|Classic whitewater in the main Obed Canyon.|
|Daddy's Creek Canyon is classic. Even when it's low.|
|Camping in the Obed Canyon does not suck.|
|Full moon camping on the Chattooga is where it's at.|