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Old 07-16-2008   #1
Gainesville, Virginia
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4
Calling all east coast rafters

Hey all , I've been looming around here for some time now and have already benefited from lots of experience here.

I'm looking for some advice from anyone with significant experience on the New River, WV.

let me lead into this... I consider my self an intermediate rafter, I have canoed the New River from Hinton to Thurmond with 3 days gear in high water (a little hairy!), and I have rafted the same trip twice (more like a relaxing float compared to the canoe), with 3 men in a 12' raft with full gear. I have also been on 3 or 4 guided trips on the Lower New and Upper and Lower Gauley.

My question to those more experienced is if I should paddle the new from Thurmond to Fayetteville in a 12' raft with full gear? I have a solid frame, cooler, dry bags, rescue rope, and boxes so Im not worried about losing anything but the biggest rapids I have done with such a heavy load were not-so-technical III's. Is it a bad idea to take this trip with a raft full of gear and 3 paddlers? the raft can be sluggesh to manuever when its loaded down, but seems to carry momentum through small holes.

I really want to finish out a 3 day trip with the last day being on the Lower New. I have read up on all of the rapids and prepared my own maps and I have a fairly good understanding of how to navigate the water but I am looking for some opinions.
so flame on and thanks in advance to those who respond!

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Old 07-16-2008   #2
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,404
Are you planning on taking out at Cunard or Fayette Station? If you're heading to Cunard you'll be totally fine, though Surprise rapid could, well, surprise you if the water is above 2 feet on the little bridge. It's absolutely rowable and at 2-3 feet it's THE BEST hit on the river! It's class 3.

The Lower New (Cunard to Fayette Station) might be a little stiff for you, depending on when you go. Fortunately for you it's getting in to low water season so some of the giant holes are rocks now. Lower Keeny's is definitely class 4, as are a few of the other rapids. Below 2 feet it's not very flippy, expecially in a gear boat, unless you count some of the rocks toward Fayette Station. There are undercut rocks all over the place, but the water isn't too fast for a decent oarsman to avoid them.

I would suggest getting someone to run safety for you. Call Rob Dobson at West Virginia Adventures in Glen Jean. The number is (800) 292-0880. It's right across the street from Thurmond. For a little cash he or one of his guides will safety boat for you and/or help with your shuttle. Make sure to tell him Randy says hi.

The New is an amazing place. I'm jealous of your trip!

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Old 07-16-2008   #3
Gainesville, Virginia
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4
I was thinking about camping a mile or two before Cunard and then continue to fayette Station on the final day. I figured I would have no problems at all between Thurmond and Cunard. and I would have lightened up my water and food by then.

Right Now the boat is a paddle boat, I have thought about buiybg the NRS oar towers and some oars but the last two trips I guided from the rear with two paddlers up front. Do you think I'd be crazy to try and paddle the lower new in a gear boat?
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