I survived all these Whitewater Rapids, and I am so excited about it.
- Insignificant (Class V – ironically so named because the first expedition reported “nothing significant before Pillow”.)
- Pillow Rock (Class V – accessible via a steep trail from Carnifax Ferry Battleground site. Extremely powerful and intimidating rapid.)
- Lost Paddle (Class V – a long, treacherous rapid consisting of four sub-rapids: First Drop, Second Drop, Third Drop, and Tumblehome.)
- Iron Ring (Class V – so named for a large iron ring which had been anchored in a rock near the rapid by loggers many years before. The ring was cut and removed by vandals in the 1980s.)
- Sweet’s Falls (Class V – named for John Sweet, a canoeist and pioneer of the Gauley.)
Justyn and I went down the river two days in a row. The first day was fantastic, but half way between Iron Ring and Sweet’s Falls I suffered a massive headache from not having coffee. Ouch.
The second day was even better. We had a delicious breakfast at Cathedral Cafe in Summersville, WV., where I gulped down copious amounts of organic fair trade coffee. I enjoyed a scrumptious frittata as well. Right next to the Cathedral was a portrait art studio that had some funny paintings in the windows. I could not help but to smile.
I was really scared to go down Pillow Falls again the next day, because its real quick and you head for a rock and you drop down the river.
Justyn is the best guide in the world and we made it down the river just fine. It is really a gentle giant.
I respect the Gauley River so much. I enjoyed sitting on Pillow Rock where we people watched. Boaters would navigate through those rapids and it was interesting to see if they made it without flipping there raft or canoe. It reminded me of the Roman Colliseum days of old, where you are a spectator watching doom and gloom through the uproarious crowds. Photograhpers on Pillow Rock were busy shooting carnage and hecklers shouted paddling commands. So crazy this Whitewater world is. The Gauley River is amazing and I hold so much love and respect for her.