Although
it rained all day ’til we reached the lake, it was warm and we had so
much fun we hardly noticed it. The downstream Hwy. 76 gauge read
1.38 when we put in, but the river had risen to about 1.8 by the time
we got to Sock ’em Dog. We had 11 boats and split into two groups.
Jeff Lankford led a group of kayakers including Mike Carey, Priscilla
Dixey, Joel Hunt, Neal Hunt and George Noe. Embarking soon
afterwards were kayakers Mark Albitz and Robert Staub and OC-1 canoe
paddlers Morgan Dicus, Robert Mingus and I. We joined together for
lunch at Seven Foot Falls and to run Five Falls.

We
had our share of upsets at the usual places but always had a
well-thrown rope where we needed one. As usual we set ropes on both
sides below Corkscrew. Preferably one can effect a rescue to the
right from the rock in the center of the riverbed just downstream of
the bottom hole. From there Jeff successfully pulled both paddler
and boat into the large river right eddy. I believe that setting a
rope downstream on the left is even more important than on the right
side, in case the left rope misconnects or the boater flips or fails
in his roll attempts in the swift water farther downstream, beyond
the reach of the right-side rope.

I
noticed last spring that the logs damming Center Crack had settled,
allowing more of the flow through this crack, even before the upright
log washed out of Right Crack. Both Left Crack and Right Crack
looked deadly today. We ran safely through Center Crack, although a
few kayakers flipped right at the bottom, because of a log pinned
diagonally and facing downstream at the top of the natural log dam
there. Due to the high water, we did not see it from upstream. A
few weeks later with the river at 1.16 it almost blocked our entry.

Jawbone
was really cooking when we and the muddy runoff got there. Our rope
set on the left below Hydroelectric Rock hauled a couple of us to
shore upstream of a mean-looking Sock ’em Dog. The hole to the right
of Handkerchief Rock was a stopper, particularly for decked boats.
Portaging there was in order for most, including Priscilla, who
aggravated an old shoulder injury eddying with a Duffek just above
Jawbone. She portaged Shoulder Bone and painfully paddled to the
lake. Jeff and I ferried her boat and her across the lake.

She
seemed to enjoy the leisurely ride, as the evening sun finally
appeared and set, so much that some of us wondered whether or not she
had really been hurt. Suspiciously she said a few days later her
shoulder was fine and that she could not wait to get back to Section
IV. Well, trips on Section IV are very healing and she did take a
drink from Copperhead Creek at the head of the lake, insuring,
according to legend, that she would return there safely. Thanks
folks for another great trip!

by Roger Nott
Sunday,
September 28, 1997
.