Epic. The real kind. The Greek Mythology kind. White water rafting? Yes, but so much more. We live for Gauley River season! With only six weeks of water released from the Summersville Dam, your window of opportunity is brief for the biggest wave hits of the year.
Remember day care? Lattes? Cubicles and traffic? No, you don’t. Something prehistoric in you rose up and ate them.
Hop in, hold on, push off into fog and boulders into a scene straight out of a heart-pumping, adrenaline-packed movie.
You’re about to feel like a bearded action hero seized your heart and grew a mustache on it.
You bring the oomph. We’ll handle the hydration and hydraulics.
The first Class V attacks. You are General Patton. Ghandi. Joan of Arc. In your arms and chest, heart and soul, a giant squid is locked in mortal combat with a pirate ship. And then it calms. You’re through. Victorious. Four thwarts, some tubes, a floor. Your soul has been tattooed and it reads “Upper Gauley Rafting.”
Why can't you hear anyone cheering? It’s because they can’t see you. You're off in another dimension. Now five more rapids just like that, and 20 others in between, lunch on rocks, a cold beer and your life awaits. Has this changed you? Does an engine transplant from a European sports coupe change a mini-van into a NASCAR car? Don’t worry. You'll blend back in. Somehow.
Lower Gauley. 10 a.m. You and seven people who would travel back in time for you to fight a giant alligator hit the river like a flock of ninjas with lit dynamite. Above, the sandstone cliffs and virgin forests speak to you. Something in them knocks the rust from frozen pistons that you didn’t even know were hiding in you. Your inner child just fired up your inner Harley. (Headed where?)
Headed towards monsters, in the shapes of giant waves whose souls do not subscribe to cable.
There are no maps for this. As you hit that first Class IV, you become the primal scream in “Welcome to the Jungle.” Who’s this? While you weren’t looking, somebody apparently injected you with concentrate of unicorn and samurai. It feels like Disneyland met Six Flags at a water park and they played drinking games and leg-wrestled in a vat of baby oil. This is white water rafting, West Virginia style, on the Lower G. Don’t back down. Never back down. Your friends are watching. We have the video to prove it.
Bruce Lee said, “be like water.” On the Gauley, that means busting from the dam like Judgment Day.
Also, raging down eight miles of jumbled boulders that look like Thor took out his frustrations on a mountain range. Five miles of rugged beauty follow, then it’s back to nine more of stair-stepped madness.
Even water takes a break, right? So we’ll camp out riverside with dinner, some fireside time, plus breakfast in the a.m., but don’t worry. We promise not to tell Bruce Lee.