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Huck-tober in Virginia

Heavy sustained rains in early October brought some of the most treasured creeks in Virginia up to perfect levels. We were lucky enough to spend several days chasing rain from Roanoke through the Shenandoah Valley and into the fabled Nelson County region of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Here are some images from “Hucktober” in Virginia.

With rain starting to fall we headed to Bent Mountain to catch Bottom Creek at a primo level. Melissa Vaughan became one of only a handful of women to paddle this scenic class V stout. Here she is finishing up “Two Blind Mice” at the end of the Waterfall Section.


“You only get one chance to run a drop blind.” Melissa V. gets her first glimpse of “Two Blind Mice” the traditional way…totally blind. Bottom Creek, VA. © Gordon Dalton


Josh P. enters the righteously infamous “Gorilla North,” Bottom Creek, VA © Gordon Dalton

Next morning started off with some portage-free laps on the North Fork Tye River just 15-minutes from my house. Backyard boofing!

Gordon on the last of three consecutive boofs in “Cushion” Rapid, North Fork Tye, VA. Photo by Art Barket

Gordon Dalton, “Packsaw” Rapid, North Fork Tye River, VA. Photo by Art Barket

It is usually a bad idea to drive away from good water, but after a great session on the NFT, the crew pushed on to an exploratory run just over the mountain near Lexington, VA. When we got there it was clear that levels had dropped to less-than-optimal for this unknown run. There was much debate about whether to hike in or not. In the end I stuck with my own motto: “It doesn’t have to be running to be runnable.” It wasn’t hard to convince Josh or Andrew – in fact they were the most eager to see what this promising waterfall run had to offer. Especially Andrew since this run had been calling his name for some time. Thanks for sharing Andrew! This creek has a clean, vertical 20′ falls (actually twin side-by-side falls), several defined ledges, and a mini-gorge narrow enough to jump over. The travertine formations are like something out of Mexico. This will be an awesome option for those days when everything else is blown out.

Andrew Epperly on the first 20-footer. © Gordon Dalton

Andrew Epperly explores “little mexico.” © Gordon Dalton

The creek culminates in this multi-stage travertine cascade at the take-out. We gave Andrew the first-descent honors, then Josh and I dropped in:

Josh P. gets a geology lesson in one of several fine travertine waterfalls. Exploratory Mission, Shenandoah Valley, VA. © Gordon Dalton

The next day was Sunday, so we all went to Church!:

CHURCH! The North Fork Tye takeout. © Gordon Dalton

It was good to make a couple laps with an old friend of the Pyranha family; Trafford McRae.
Here we are routing through “Cushion” in an Everest and a Burn III:
“Cushion” on Vimeo

All in all it was a stout start to creeking season in the mid-Atlantic. THINK RAIN!


Pyranha Creeking Quiver: Shiva, Burn III, 9R!  © Gordon Dalton