My son Garrett Hill and I started our kayaking trip around 11:00 am, Saturday August 4th at the Hwy 421 and New River Hills Road access on the South Fork of the New River. We drove up from Concord NC that morning to spend some quality father/son time in celebration of Garrett's birthday. We also took along his dog, Tate, as he loves to be outdoors pretty much anywhere Garrett goes. The last couple of weeks were very rainy in the Boone area so we expected the water to be relatively high and flowing good. The weather was perfect from the start, about 75 degrees and mostly sunny. The water had been very high but, to our surprise, had receded seemingly overnight according to some fellow paddlers. From the grass laid down on the banks, it had been as much as 4' higher in the previous days. Non the less, the water was still higher than normal and moving along very nicely. Our plan was to paddle through to Todd and take out and the River Girl Landing. From what I had read, this was about a 10 mile run and should take no more than 4 - 5 hours given current water flow. Not having talked with anyone that had actually paddled this run, we didn't expect to encounter so many low bridges. Most of them we could lay down on the kayaks and pass under but there were a few we had to get out and portage around. We had a scary moment when Garrett's kayak rolled and washed under one of the bridges while trying to get his dog out, but he and the dog came out the other side with nothing hurt but pride. The scenery along the way was absolutely beautiful. With the recent rains, all the foliage was very thick and green. We saw a few blue herons and a very large hawk that fished ahead of us for at least a mile. Beautiful homes and cabins on the riverside were all beautiful as well and we even passed by a riverside wedding in progress. We did encounter a good shower around 3:00 but it passed by within an hour. As it turns out, the run to Todd is more like 15 miles as it took us all of 6 1/2 hours to complete with no more than a handful of stops of 5 - 10 minutes each. All in all, it was a great day to be kayaking. I would suggest only making this run when water levels are higher than normal or you may be in for a very very long day.
River/Creek (Up to Class II)
Number of Portages:
Two low bridges you could not get under with the days water levels. One portage was due to a tree blocking our way.
Sporadic to no cell service. Be prepared.
Sit on top kayaks, life jackets, water proof speaker for your favorite tunes, bottled water, beer, snacks, and a great dog.
Perfect conditions for the day.