GREENBRIER RIVER- 38 miles. Beard to Caldwell, WV (385 CFS)
Had an amazing journey on the Greenbrier River. Ed put me in at 12 noon in Beard right off of the Greenbrier River Trail. Water was low, but amazingly peaceful and flowing. My boat (16 foot We-no-nah Royalex) was light and floated along like a leaf. I paddled until 5pm, as the sun glare on the river made it difficult to read the river and avoid rocks!! I passed a few groomed sites, but chose the other side of the River- I prefer stealth, primitive camping. Stunning flowers and wildlife- turtles sunning themselves on warm rocks, colorful waterfowl, abundant deer, and even a billy goat and her kids among the rocky ledges!! I camped on a rocky beach with stream, using my Hennessy hammock- started a fire and proceeded to move my canoe with food and gear upstream away from my site in case of visiting bears. 25 yards away, a beautiful black bear was entering the river and swimming to the other side. My camera was in my PFD back at the campsite. The picture will forever remain in my mind and spirit. Slept well. Awoke at dawn. Refueled the fire, made coffee and was startled by a loud gunfire very close behind me. I tried to recall what season for hunting I was amidst!!! 15 minutes downstream I met Elzie and Annette Thayer and their Jack Russell, Maggie. I was invited into their rustic, family of generations- cabin for coffee. It was their single shot that brought home, hanging from the porch- a huge gobbler! "My bear" had destroyed their shed that night. I am glad I did not turn into a pinata' ! Back on the River for 8 hours or so- easy, but strategic paddling to avoid rocks- several class II rapids with one class III rapid the locals warned me of and advised paddling left. No problems. Peaceful night- skinny dipped on my private beach. Next morning only a 1.5 hr paddle to Caldwell Park takeout- swift rapid under the last bridge. Unfortunately this incredible river has a small window of opportunity to paddle- early Spring only. Will be a great river for veterans who are novice paddlers. I will be sure to bring my fishing pole next time!
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