Team Z Road Trip
by Jim Sullivan
Team Z members Ben Natusch, and James Sullivan along with Zoar Outdoor employees Adam Ducomb and Adriana Isaza had a marathon of a paddling weekend. Late after work on Thursday we decided that if we wanted to paddle the upper Youghiogheny River we would have to leave right then and there. So after a little conversing, phone calls and somewhat quick packing, we loaded up for an all-nighter. Most people hear all-nighter and think party, but for us it’s an all-night drive. We reached the Yough at 7AM ready for a great paddling weekend, right after a short nap.
The Youghiogheny River was awesome as always. We meet so many fun paddling groups that didn’t care that everyone continually got pushed to the front of the water release. The water release is a funny and unusual scene for anywhere but the Yough. You nap, not camp, at the put-in waiting for the water to fill up, only to catch up to the front at some point along the river and by the end of the day everyone is upfront regardless of how late they put on. Afterwards we meet up with Zoar Outdoor instructor Sara Dorsey who has been spending her fall working in West Virginia and the group continued on to the classic Gauley River in West Virginia. Five people, five boats, one car and a group that over packs.
First day on the Gauley River we paddled the upper section and enjoyed the evening festivities. They had great bands playing and everyone was psyched for the nice weekend of meeting up with old and new friends. On Sunday morning we dropped tents on each other until everyone was wide awake and ahead of the crowd into the buffet breakfast. Always important to be well fed before doing a plan that seems like a good idea in the evening. Marathon time, the Gauley River marathon is to combine the upper, middle and lower sections for 26 miles of good boating. Oh yeah and of course us being us we were in playboats. Exhausted and stoked from a good run we loaded up and drove to the New River.
When you’re on the no plan, plan you just have to roll with it. We camped somewhere, we ate somewhere and we went paddling on a really low river. I had been to the New several times before, but only really at levels exceeding 15,000cfs, Monday it was probably at 1,500cfs just a wee bit lower. It was a nice flat paddle with ledges and a couple cool drops, totally different then the continuous wave trains I had experienced on the river before. We did know that on the way over and it was fun to see the change. One last long drive and we were back in MA by 3AM.
Other Team Z news:
Mike Porter and Elaine Campbell stayed local and competed at team trials for US national wild water team, more info to come, and Tino Specht of course is still running big things in Chile. Happy Paddling