Wednesday, November 30, 2005

First Good Rain of the Winter.

I forgot to tell all the geeks out there that we are video podcasting.
Just go to your ITunes Music Store and Click Podcasts, and then search Shaneslogic, or kayaking or something like that.
And you can subscribe to all the videos and sound that is posted on my blog. Anyway back to the story.

Woke up yesterday morning and there was 2 inches of rain in the rain gauge.
I must be spoiled but it seems like forever since the last good rain. Everything was
cranking. Lots of stuff was too high and it looked like Overflow might be out the roof but
the gages took the turn down and we took off for Overflow hoping that the levels would drop
enough for us to be able to get on it.
Yonton, Rob, Robert, and I put on at 2:30 at a primo level of 1.5 probably. A truly perfect level. It has a little
juice to make it exciting, but the river was still very manageable. The fun part for me is that none of the other
guys had done this run before. Overflow is a gem in the southeast that everyone should make sure to
get a few runs on at different levels.

The other thing that I really love about this run is the history of creeking on this river.
The first runs on this river were done in the mid 70s in long boats, and yes glass boats.
Some people say that boofing in the southeast started on Overflow. Who knows for sure but its probably
not far from a true statement. As soon as you think about being a bad ass paddler think about Alan Singley doing
the first descent on this river solo in a very long boat in the 70s. There are a couple recollections of the history of
running overflow on the American Whitewater page. I took some clips from those stories and posted them below.
I think they are a fun read.

We had a great day. The rain stopped in the morning and the sun came out and we got off the river before dark.
So I would call it a great day. I love the tradition of sending newbies down Singleys Falls blind. You get to see some pretty big eyes when they get to the bottom.

Here is a link to the video of our trip.
Overflow Video, Click This!

Here is a couple stories told by those that did this run in the early days. I copied these from American Whitewaters description of the river. Very cool to have this history as a part of the story of Overflow.
Thanks to Bo and Robin for supplying the storys and some facts.

Alan Singley entered West Fork
history. He had hiked Overflow, Holcomb, and Big Creeks a good deal by then
- as well as the north fork Chattooga Sections 1, Zero, Double Zero, and
Minus 1, and even Scotsman's Branch. One fine day, I believe in 1975, or maybe
1976, he dropped his boating and camping gear off at the culvert bridge, now
famous as the Overflow put-in, drove his truck to the West Fork bridge, and
hiked back up to spend the night. The next afternoon, about 5 miles and 8 or
9 portages later, Alan emerged with wondrous tales of a fantastic whitewater
run, with the improbable name of Overflow Creek. The fact that he *soloed*
the exploratory doesn't surprise anyone who knows Alan.

Alan's spectacular, if somewhat unbelievable, tales fascinated everyone, but
failed to gain him a partner for another descent. Undaunted, Alan proceeded
on another *solo* run, this time with 5 or 6 portages. Finally he convinced
another boater to accompany him, none other than Robert Harrison, an open
boater of some renown. Alan and Robert survived, but, alas, Robert's Old Town
Tripper was finished, thanks to Pinball. If I recall, Robert made about 7
portages on that trip. Should have been eight. Robert's account of that
descent convinced everyone that Alan Singley was not only crazy, but a menace
to society in general, and to paddlers in particular. It was truly amazing to
watch Robert's face as he told us of - the Terror That Was Overflow. This
sufficiently warned everyone, so again Alan could find nobody to paddle
Overflow with him. So, typically, he made the 4th descent solo, this time
with 4 portages. This was sometime in 1977.

That year Diane and I moved to Highlands, NC, situated on top of the ridge that
separates Overflow Creek from the Cullasaja River. I was glad to get
re-acquainted with Alan, who previously had introduced me to the Watauga. One
fall afternoon, Alan and I were settin' around jus' doin' nuthin' (that's how
it is said up there), and he casually mentioned that I ought to 'take a look
at' Overflow. Before I knew it, we were crashing through the rhododendrons
with our boats, just downstream of the culvert. We put in on this beautiful
little gurgling creek, in incredibly beautiful surrounding, and then Alan took
off, with me in tow. I can't tell you how many times I followed this young
giant, sitting up high in his C-1, down some unforgettable adventure into the
unknown, but this was to be the most memorable of them all!

About a mile later, my head was spinning after running some of the most
incredible rapids I had ever done. We pulled into an eddy, for the first time
since the put-in, and Alan said "what do you think?" I was nearly speechless,
but his next sentence struck me dumb! "We're starting to get close to the big
drops, so stay close." "Big drops?" I stammered, "What have we been running
for the last mile?" He said nothing, but smiled and peeled out. I got really
nervous when he eddied out in a few yards, and said "this is a pretty good one
- just stay right and you'll be fine". Then he took off, and disappeared
over the edge. I thought I'd seen him for the last time. I scrambled out
onto a rock and looked at the horizon line, expecting traces of wreckage, and
finally saw the tip of his paddle waving. Not wanting to be left, I swallowed
hard and . . .

It was unreal! I asked Alan how many times he had run that 15 foot falls, and
when he said "Once - today", I knew the name of that drop immediately - Blind

The rest of the run was like a dream - a whitewater dream. Singley's Falls
waited for another day, and we stayed permanently away from Gravity and the
Great Marginal Monster. Robin D. Sayler Meldrim, Ga.

It was the summer of 1978 and the Chatooga had just got the big rain. Several
of us working for NOC and Southeastern had all our trips cancelled, even
Section 3 was too high for a trip that day. We had all heard about Overflow
from the locals, knew there were a few drops still unrun and decided we'd give
it a shot. I'm bad with names and don't remember all the SE boaters but this
was probably the biggest group to hit Overflow up to this point. Some of the
folks with us were John Kennedy in a Mark V, John Regan in a Sauna, Les
Bechtel in a 14' Phoenix baot ??, myself in a Slipper, Chis Spelius in an
NOC saftey boat - a Hallowform, Bill Baxter and Gary Duven both in NOC safety
boats also and I have pretty much forgot all the others but believe Jim
Schelander was also along for the ride and we must not forget Rex Shawberg who
gave us all the scare of our lives at Marginal Monster.

I believe this was the first trip that all the drops were run on Overflow and
the West Fork. We had some great lines and some not so great lines but had
a great group and some great fun. I actually have some great slides and
pictures I haven't looked at in years. My favorite is the one of Les running
Blind Falls in that 14'+ boat. This guy was unbelieveable and now the owner
of Canyons Inc out in Idaho if you ever want a great trip down the Middle
Fork of the Salmon.

By the time we got to the take out all the Hollowforms had about 6" to 1' of
the nose pointed towards Heaven. John Kennedy went through the hole at
the bottom of Marginal and we watched as his stern seams blew out on both
sides. The nose of my Slipper and John Regan's Sauna also would require some
minimal repairs also.

Rex Shauberg had the crash of the day at Marginal. He ran the first drop and
got a little back ender that took him away from the left side of the next drop
and sent him towards the right and the undercut, which at that time had some
tree debris in it. I've got some pictures of Rex while this was happening but
there wasn't much any of us could do to help him until he got away from the
undercut. He, of course, was fine but gave us a good scare.

This trip is one of several of my fondest memories of
paddling and Overflow/West Fork will always be a Southern Classic run to me.

The next day it was section 4 at 5'+. A really great break from raft guiding
in the summer of 1978. May get some of those pics to a scanner and post a URL
for anyone who'd like to see some of the pics at a later time. -Bo

I hope that folks are okay with me using these clips.
Don't mean any harm.

Shaneslogic Comments