Saturday, March 22, 2008

West Prong / Raven Fork

The past few days of boating were epic!!! Great Falls, West Prong, Raven Fork, Brave Wave.... I'm still coming out of shock after running the Raven Fork for the first time. It all started after a perfect storm on Wednesday. Rock island started spilling Wednesday morning so we got to huck the falls and play in the hole at about 7,500 cfs. Great fun but it was only the start to my epic weekend...

Waking up Thursday Clay and I decided to head over to the West Prong to meet up with Horward Tidwell. The West Prong is the Smokies classic steep creekin fun run. Its so continues that the entire river feels like one long rapid that drops off the mountain.

Howard is like a West Prong legend, chances are if you've paddled the Prong then you've paddled with him.

I'm not sure what or if this rapid had a name but much of the run looks simler to this.

Making our way down to the lower I ran into an open boater that I knew from WI. Its funny how you run into the same people all the time just in different places.

Had a great day on the West Prong with every one there. Spent the night at Horwards in Knoxville which was super cool. Thanks so much Horward for the great hospitality and the place to stay. :) After breakfast Clay and I loaded up and headed for the Raven Fork, THE MOST AMAZING RIVER EVER!!!


Let me start off with saying the Raven Fork is a total adrenalin junkie run. Its a SUPER steep pool drop river with HUGE slides that will leave you screaming for your mommy and wanting more!!! Pictures and video can give you an idea of what this run is like but will do no justice for what its like to drop over the lip and be totally committed to whats down stream.

Depending how far you hike up, Anaconda may be your first rapid. Not much time for a warm up for one of the hardest rapids on the run.

Eddy out fast after Anaconda or you might drop into Headless Horseman without a scout. Bill Clipper starts off with a great boof to get through the first hole before the slide down past the Headless part of the rapid.

Razorback is the next rapid. Really fun slide but don't mess it up, stay far right and avoid EVERYTHING on the left.

Clay, Pat, Drew, Will, and myself all ran Big Boy, a 35 foot water fall about half way down the run. Clay had a perfect line off the falls but anything can happen when running a waterfall, even breaking your paddle. Pat was nice enough to loan his paddle to Clay for the rest of the run so he could work on his class 5+ hand paddling skills.

Caveman is by far the sweetest boof ever. If you miss the most amazing boof on the planet you may end up finding out why this rapid is called Caveman. So stay away from the cave on the right and enjoy the sweet boof.

The Mangler marks the end of the steepest part of the river. Don't worry, the run out is extremely fun just not as steep as everything upstream.

This river and the people that paddled it with me left an imprint on my soul that will never be forgotten. The people that you paddle rivers with become instant friends for life. Knowing that everyone there is willing to risk everything to insure the safety of a fellow paddler builds a bound that is unbreakable. That is what makes life long friends. We couldn't have asked for a better good Friday, clean lines, warm weather, and big smiles all around. A huge thanks to everyone that made this epic week happen. I can't wait to do it again....

Live from TN,
John McConville

I also took lots of video so I'll be putting together a short movie here in the near future...


Anonymous said...

hey John this is Bill Clipper the hand paddler w/yellow dry suit. nice pics can you e mail me mine and kieths pics. (we had yellow jefes and HP) and my caveman video when you get a chance. looks like you got some really good pics nice angle at headless dident even know you were there.
Bill Clipper

P.S. can you change my name at Headless and razeraback thanks

Karma by Morgan said...

i love your blog here! i love kayaking too and have so much respect for what you do...great job!

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Daniel said...

Hey bro, sweet paddling with you that day! Raven's was awesome.

If you may have gotten any photos of me I'd really appreciate checking them out... orange jefe/white full-face. I was near the front most of the time though, so maybe a no-go.

Sick shots by the way, look forward to the vid.

Peace, hope to paddle with you again soon

djstewart at gmail dot com

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