Tuesday, November 16, 2010

South East, Green Race

Down to the Russell Fork,
Sieves, Undercuts, and a whole lot of fun especially when the evening party is fueled with local Moon Shine. As the weekend finished up there was a couple of us that had nothing better to do, so we drank more Shine and played with cameras. During that evening Brandon Gonski managed to catch the best shot of the Wrec Center ever.

Brandon Gonski took this incredible picture,

Horse Pasture light,
Well it wasn't a light hike. It seems I have been bringing the rain to the South East for a few years and this year was no exception. With the rain pounding down I meet up with Gareth Tate, we cruised out to pick up Lee Timmons and heading to the Horse Pasture as we past over the Toxaway I had to stop and check the gauge, it was in!, but it was also 1:30 pm, and way to late in the day to start a huge mission into the Toxaway. So we drove on and got to the Horse Pasture, the level was on the high side of good. We hiked to the river and the thunderous put in falls almost blew me over. Lee had a bad vibe from the get go, but was willing to play along for a bit. Gareth and I where on our usual style, LETS GET THIS SHIT! We bombed off the first couple drops and Lee decided to bail, and hike out. Gareth and I managed to push down stream and get to the bottom of Stair-step before we started loosing light. With a small, inexperienced crew, loosing light, we made a good decision and hiked out. By the time I made it back up the hill to the Wrec Center it was already time to break out the Petzel head lamp.
Gareth getting a great last stroke

Chris Baer sliding down stream, photo by Lee Timmons

Who says class 5 isn't fun, look at that smile, photo my Lee Timmons

Gareth looking back up at Stair-step
That was my extent of rain bringing to the Asheville area, it stayed dry from that evening on. When there is no rain in Asheville there is one fun thing to do still, Green River Narrows Laps. I did a bunch of them again this year, and as the race grew nearer I felt good. It was the first time I had entered the race actually knowing where I was going to go around the next blind corner. On the other hand I don't take kayak racing very seriously, and as I came into the Notch that shit talking caught back up to me again. I went into the eddy yelled at Arlyn Agababian to grab my bow, and reached into my lifejacket pocket to retrieve my fun whistle. I put it in my mouth, gave Arlyn the nod, spun around, and gave the whistle a huge blast as I pumped my fist, the 500 person crowd standing on the other side of the river showed their appreciation with a huge cheer. I paddled back out into the flow and gave the whistle another big blast as I flew off the launch pad of Gorilla. I flew through the Speed Trap and down the rest of the slides to the finish line blasting the Fun Whistle all the way.
Chris Baer blasting the Fun Whistle in the Notch eddy
Chris Baer getting his boof stroke and one last blast in the Fun Whistle
Chris Baer practicing, 1
Chris Baer practicing, 2
Chris Baer practicing, 3
Chris Wing coming off Gorilla
Jeff Clewell with a big Flying Squirrel move
Big Crowd at Gorilla
Chris Baer racing through Nieces Pieces
Crowd looking into the Notch
Chris Wing racing through the slides

Panting to the Finnish line
Another pretty line
Resurfacing through the Notch
Crowd at the lip of Gorilla
Frog men in action
Best safety in the world, especially if you get your helmet ripped off
Big Gorilla boof
Jason Hale running Gorilla switch after catching the birthday eddy
Hale disappearing
Another great line

What nightmares are made of
Another backwards run off Gorilla

 Chris Baer finding his way through Go Left

Check out post race fun
Everybody Shines from 7 Finger media on Vimeo.

So I have been up in the air with what to do this winter and I finale pulled the trigger, Round trip ticket to Costa Rica for two and a half months. I am hopeful this trip will also include some other countries as I have spoken to a few people in Columbia that sound game for some exploratory missions.

Next update will be coming from Central America until then go big and smile bigger and give your fun whistle a big blast.
Chris Baer

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gauley and such

WOW Fall was busy
West Virginia sun set from Rick-O-Shay's ultralight
Commercial raft guiding on Gore Canyon was great until I crashed kayaking and messed up my ankle in Cheeseman canyon, what to hear the whole story click here ouch.

Commercial raft guiding in WV on the Upper Gauley is always rewarding. I have a stealer group of return clients that allow me to play hard and work on new and not so standard lines. Including the Double Death Spiral into Iron Ring, and just letting them go through the Box Canyon on there own.



During the Gauley three day mid weeks it is up to us to find some trouble, like flying in Ultra lights and Caving 

Ridding with the master of all that is sketchy Rick-O-Shay.
Casey and Hammer above a 20 foot drop deep in the cave
Casey and Hammer Checking out some stalactites
Hammer repelling
Tubing the upper Gauley with Casey Tango,
There had been so much shit talk about it after my good friend Mike Edwards accomplished the amazing and definitely stupid feat of tubing the Upper Gauley, we had to follow suit. The next friday we had a bunch of coffee, talked a little more shit, and went down to the local tire store looking for inter-tubes. The guy behind the counter was more then happy to help, what size you need, I reach my arms out beyond my sides, about like this, we are going to go tubing down the river. Well this is what I usually sell to folks that are going to take there kids out. Perfect we'll take two. That was that we had tubes next up a little padding. We stopped over at River Expeditions and grabbed a couple wet suits. We tossed a couple extra beers and a roll of gorilla tape (our patch kit) in our support raft and hoped in the river. It was off to the races, we had solid left lines through Insignificant. When you bump your feet off of Pillow Rock while siting fat man style in an inter-tube there is no doubt you had a great line. Next up the scary one Lost Paddle, Casey and I had lines that would put most raft guides to shame big Hawaii 5-0 hits and supper clean lines into Tumble home. Once in Tumble home the shit talk caught up to us again and we both went through the Mail Box Slot. At this point we were feeling pretty sure of our new found skills and Casey called for a left left line at Ship Wreck. I in turn called out for Death Spirals into Iron Ring, I went a little further right then expected and had some serious down time in the top hole just to pop up right before taking a big Wood-stock hole hit. As we floated into Sweets falls we both under stood what was about to happen, we looked at each other and simultaneously the words came to our lips, MELTDOWN! Tango managed to style it on the other hand I got totally beat down. As I slowly found my way out of my pounding I looked over to see Casey stamping his tube and getting pulled up on Postage Due. I went for the same line and got blown off into the Box Canyon. I had a great line through the Box, and climbed up the back side of Postage Due to celebrate a very successful tubing mission of the Upper Gauley.

Casey Tango getting a hand up onto Postage Due

Upper Youghiogheny, Seems there is always some issue with the damn release on the Youghiogheny, it is early, it's late, There is always some rumor of something usually not true. Last year International House Of Pancakes Falls burnt to the ground, but it looked good this year. Anyways the initial big three day midweek release did get canceled and as Gauley season rolled on Casey Tango and I got more and more restless about missing one of our favorite traditions. So fifth weekend we got the heads up that the river was going to run, unfortunately my personal favorite part of the Upper Youghiogheny was closed. The Riverside Hotel, they do the best vegetarian food anywhere, and it is one of my favorite restaurants any where. O well there is always next year, and the river as always produced some great entertainment.

Let the show begin
B-Real boofing International House of Pancake Falls
Casey enjoying the show
Some of the paddlers even like to pull there skirt and still paddle to the eddy
A small but excited crowd at National Falls
Another great time spent in West Virginia and Marry Land.
Chris Baer