Kings of the Rockcastle

Posted by Spalding Hurst

August 14, 2004

David Jury, John Mathews, Ryan Hamilton, Spalding Hurst

Saturday 400cfs
Sunday 275 cfs

I’ve had the idea of doing a two day over night boating expedition all summer long.  Well this particular weekend we decided to do it.  I chose the Rockcastle because it is a long stretch which provided time for camping and taking in the scenery of the most beautiful river in Kentucky.  The class II rapids of the lower narrows would provide some excitement for us and the new boaters.  I thought the lake level would be high and the long stretch of drops at the end would be buried under the lake.  This however was not the case.  So with the lower narrows running and the water level at a very technical 400cfs I would have to bump Sundays run up to class III.

We started out way up at Rockcastle Adventures.  We hired the guy here to run our shuttle.  They ended up locking my keys in some random car at the take out, but I got that sorted out.  There was also a large group from Bowling Green putting on about the same time as us.  So we set off at noon at Saturday.  We are paddling the two Blue Hole Canoes, the Crossfire and my Inazone.  The canoes carries all of the gear, food and beer, held in 4 dry bags and a cooler.

The first day of paddling is all flat water and class I riffles.  So no excitement, but David and Ryan got to feel out their boats.  After 9 miles of paddling, a little more than half way we decided to camp on a huge rock in the center of the river.

On day 2 we began to see some class II rapids.  David and Ryan did really good with these.  Then we came to Beech Narrows.  John ran it no problem.  I had to decide if my kayak could punch the hole that it was forming.  After attempting the run I found out I could not clear the hole.  I almost rolled out but instead washed upside down into the next rock.  I thought I might get pinned so I bailed and had my first swim this summer.  Sucks too cause I should have held on a little longer and rolled.  I would have had only one chance though cause the next rock that my boat ran into was even worse.  Good experience though.

Then we came to a whole bunch of class III stuff through the lower narrows.  This type of run would have been heaven for John and I, but after a few flips from David and Ryan they did not want to run anymore of the rapids.  So We had to continually run there boats down with no one in them, then recover them and wait for them to walk along the banks.  We made, but it was tiring and it took along time.  John also got pinned somewhere in there.  I didn’t see it until right before he got his boat free cause I was up stream towing a canoe back to Ryan.

The trip was awesome.  I can’t wait to go back and run the lower narrows again.  These rapids are just sitting right below the noses of a lot of Kentucky boaters it seems.  It is an easy day trip to some great whitewater when the lake level is low.

I’m just glad we got our 2 day adventure in before the summer ended.  Maybe we can squeeze one more in there.


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