Chris Baer checks in with his first run of the “off-season”… the Toxaway.
This run has been on my hit list for years, and last Wednesday I finally got it.
Chad Pickens texted me at 8 am: “Toxaway”. I sprung from bed and cruised into Brevard to meet Chad and a posse of other boaters.
The rest of the guys wanted to run a section that i had ran the day previous. That left Chad and I separate; we wanted the Toxaway. We headed towards the Upper East Fork of the Tuckasegee and turned off to see if anyone was at the Toxaway take out. There they where: Billy Jones, Drew Duval, Garth, Lorra Farrel, and Jacob. We piled boats and equipment in and took off to the put in. The hike down to the river only took a couple minutes, and as soon as we got there I knew all the dreams and fairy-tails of this run where true. The put in slide is really low angle but covers a huge distance.
Down stream it was heads up, read and run Class V slides, into more slides, into boofs, into, into into. It just kept coming and my smile kept growing.
As we entered into the big ones I knew I was going to have one of those amazing days. Everything felt good, the skies were blue and the water level was spot on.
I hate seal launching…. well I’m just not good at it and looking at the seal launch for Punji Sticks, or Mini-Land Bridge as Billy would like it to be called, or possible Punji Bridge, or I like Mini Stick, lol, I realized it was game on. It was an 8-10 foot seal launch into a crack. By the time I reached the bottom of the slide 5 seconds later, I had a huge smile and was ultra fired up.
The big ones keep on coming
I missed photos of Land Bridg,e as I was puckered about another seal launch.
After Land Bridge there is another small portage and I crossed the pool to meet up with Drew and Garth, the only two not scouting and Drew asked me simply if I wanted to just run it.
I didn’t hesitate a bit with “I love running shit blind!”
Drew gave us a tiny discreption, of a huge rapid, Winter Green. Drew then instantly peeled out of the eddy, Garth hollered at Drew “I’m right on you”, in turn I hollered at Garth that “I’m on you”. All three of us where within 30 feet of each other at the lip. As I slid off the lip down the 20 or so foot drop into an explosion of water. I quickly cleared my eyes to see a huge horizon line that just domed over. All I could do was smile.
We got to the bottom within seconds of each other and a bunch of hooting and hollering ensued. We then turned our attention, and cameras towards the rest of the crew everyone looked pretty good for such a big drop. Billy even came down the second half with only one hand on his paddle, we all thought he was showing off. Turns out Billy hit something in the landing zone of the first drop and really hurt his ribs, he was holding his ribs all the way down the second slide. We reconvened at the bottom of Winter Green. Billy was going to hike out with Garth, and the rest of us where going to boogie down to the take out.
We cruised to the take out through blind corners, sticky holes and lots of wood. Once there, the second half of the adventure begins a 4 mile hike out. It sucked.
All said and done, Toxaway is the shit. The slides are huge and dangerous, the portages are nasty, and even with an incredibly strong crew this is an all day affair. Especially with that ridiculously long hike out.
Another adventure brought to you by Chris Baer
Stay tuned, Nov 10th I leave to Peru, Chili, and Argentina for 4 months it’s about to get epic.