The much heralded Gauley Season guarantees big whitewater. That is the draw and the fear. It is six successive weekends in the fall and serves as a month and a half long boater reunion. Paddlers come in from all across the world to sample the dam control released river. My wife and I (Vince), had lived in Fayetteville, WV, home of the New River Gorge, for 8 and 11 years respectively, before moving to Farmville in May, and she has paddled the nearby Gauley River for over half her life. We love the great state of West 'by God' Virginia. We were married at The Confluence Resort above the meeting of the Gauley and Meadow Rivers and our daughter was born down the road, in Beckley WV. So, after being gone four months, we were pretty elated to head back to WV for a friend's wedding at the Confluence on our daughter's birthday and during Gauley Season! A road trip back to those 'Country Roads' was set.
We stayed with great friends who have a giant compound set up outside of Fayetteville. Both our daughter and the family hound, Muggs, entertained themselves running free in the Mountain State.
The New River Gorge region of WV is a recreational eden. When my wife, Harriet, and I met, I was an avid rock climber and trail runner, and she was a life long paddler. We both love to get outside. As most new parents know, sacrifices have to be made in the personal recreation department when children enter the picture. My wife typically gives me the bulk of the solo recreation opportunities in Farmville, so I felt compelled to pay back the favor on our trip. I still got in a great trail run along the rim of the New River Gorge and drank adult beverages with impunity every night. I know it sounds like I once again got the goods, especially since my wife served as the Designated Driver for the wedding, but she did paddle both the Lower New and the Upper Gauley with her friends over the weekend. And I ran shuttle and took care of the little nugget during her paddles. :) The fine line that is marital balance can be a tricky dance when done by two headstrong recreational enthusiasts. I think we do a good job. I cherish the shining smile on my wife's face after a day on the river.
Now for the gear goods. Harriet paddles a Wave Sport Project X 45 and a Pyranha Burn. Both are lime green. She is always harping on me to paddle a bright boat for emergency purposes, and she has a point, they are easy to see when you are in trouble. I stuck a GoPro HD Hero2 cam to my wife's helmet over the weekend and made a video with the footage. Harriet's AT Flexi blade and Seals Pro Shocker Skirt are featured rather prominently. She also wrapped herself in the Kokatat Rogue Dry Top which was apparently "super dry" and comfortable. We forgot to use the Anti-Fog Inserts, so the video gets a little puffy, but I think it turned out fairly good anyway. We mounted it to her Sweet Protection lid. It held strong through two days of whitewater. In the following video (our first action footage) you get a first hand look at paddling in southern WV.
We had a great time. The wedding was perfect and it is always a pleasure to celebrate love. We arrived back home in Farmville on Monday afternoon, spent and ready to sleep. Rather serendipitously, when I arrived back to work on Tuesday, we had a truck load of the new Jackson Kayaks to unload. These boats all come with GoPro mounts already installed! Not only can Jackson whitewater boaters tape themselves shredding, but Jackson fishing boaters can now capture proof of their big catch.
The move from Fayetteville to Farmville was a tough adjustment for my family, but we are settling in. While the trip to West Virginia was filled with friends, family and fun, these are the same things I have found at Appomattox River Company. Â It has been a great couple of weeks here at the shop. New plans are popping. We are attempting to increase the engagement with you, our customers. Bear with us as we find the right way to share the authentic charisma of Appomattox River Company. The Facebook page is hopping, the Twitter zone is alive and we have a Pinterest, but even as these social media sites give us a chance to express ourselves, they also give you a chance to interact with us. Tell us about your adventures, your favorite products and places. I sincerely hope you do. The enjoyment of wild places and the gadgets we use to recreate in them, are the ties that bind our tribe together. The great big world and all the people in it are increasingly compartmentalized for easy categorization, but those who pursue outdoor recreation are not so easily labeled. We come from all walks of life, all political persuasions and all regions of the world to recognize one thing, our passion for getting outside. In this blog, I will attempt to capture the soul of this shop, the collective soul of all those who endeavor to celebrate outdoor pursuits and the essence of my own wilderness wanderlust. It's a tall order, but it darn sure seems like it'll be fun and I hope you enjoy it.