1. Wilderness - this is why mind blowing runs like the North Fork of the Payette will never top my list. I need wild animals and minimal people with epic vistas.
2. Quantity of rapids - Bailey Canyon on the North Fork of the South Platte is out.
3. Quality of rapids - Sorry Upper South Boulder Creek, but you are basically golden boofs found in a choss pile of rocks. Minimal portages also counts in this category.
4. Full Day Length - The Green River Narrows has all of the above laid out in short coarse format. The Raven Fork of the Oconaluftee drops 1,000+ feet in 2.6 miles.
5. Fun Factor - insanely subjective category that includes glory boofs, photogenic character, relatively limited danger score, and utterly variable things such as boating partners, weather and my own personal sense of zen. Hence, everyone has their own set of favorite runs likely different from mine.
|doublet to lighting it up|
Up until last month if asked about the best single day run, I could easily fire off a single run: the Big South Fork of the Cache La Poudre. It is a multitude of clean challenging oversized drops laid over 12 miles of crystal Wild and Scenic water that has nary a portage, but a multitude of moose, elk, trout and raptors roaming high alpine meadows. The Big Steezy, no question.
|Leif Emberton stomps Cool World at ridiculous flow while National Geographic Adventures of the Year stood by in amazement.|
|Yours truly bringing pink back, double.|
|Mr. Steezy McStafford glory boofing perfectly slideways|
Don't get me wrong. West Prong, Vallecito, Robe Canyon, USB, Kokatai, Chirripo Pacifico and the Crystal Gorge among a lot of other runs will all blow your mind. But the Steez just has the quan. Then a curious thing happened.... it rained, on a Saturday, over the Linville River and a crew turned up after many inquires. One of them you 'rado boaters may recognize:
|Scotty Peaches, who once went GA to CSU but currently considers medicines in Augusta.|
|The LVM smoothness, Toby MacDermott|
The first legitimate challenge is getting into the gorge. Options include a lengthy mellow float or 45 minutes straight downhill charging:
|Enjoying a moment of sunshine before the chaos ensues|
The Linville has a ridiculous number of rapids and an overnight session is definitely a possibility for an unwary or over zealous group. There certainly are more portages on the Linville that the Big South, but some of them lead to impressive places:
|Toby demonstrates Cave Falls|
|One of those completely original drops|
|This is called the Bob Ross gorge and I suppose it is because he'd paint a happy little tree on top of a happy little gorge that contained a happy little boof session overlooked by a happy enormous table mountain.|
The Cathedral Gorge is one of those committed, tight, dangerous, adrenaline fests that just keeps calling me back over and over again. It truly kicks the Linville into the creme de la creme of kayak days.
|The Ducky feeling minute but basking in South East glory|
|Good friends know how to provide good rally motivation! Col Cold PBR represent!|