My wife and I decided to take a weekend float/fishing trip on the beautiful Greenbrier River, again. I say again because we attempted a trip earlier in the year on the northern part of the Greenbrier. We put in during a thunderstorm, and the rain never ceased. I felt as if I should start collecting animals two by two. We ended up paddling 21 miles that day in what was supposed to be a three-day relaxing weekend. We were prepared with dry bags, rain gear, plenty of zip-locks. Even though we stayed relatively dry, we thought it best to do the trip in one day since the river has a history of rising rapidly and potentially stranded boaters. We look back and can now laugh, but at the time, we were afraid we were going to start growing gills.
The Greenbrier is one of the only undammed rivers left in our part of the country. The second trip started on a Friday afternoon after raining all day. Expecting the worst, we were prepared for anything nature would send our way (if there is such a state of readiness). We proceeded to our drop-off point near Anthony, WV. Once we loaded our Mad River Teton, dressed in our rain gear, we set out for relaxing weekend, although the look on my wife's face was that of deja vu. As if by some miracle, the rain stopped, the clouds began to break and the sunshine even came out. Much to our amazement, this was the beginning of a great weekend.
We decided to paddle around 7 miles that afternoon, set up camp, and stay there and relax for the rest of the day and the next day as well. The campsite was opposite a great rock cliff. During the evening, we could hear the hawks and even the eagles, screeching in search of their prey. We spent some time in the cool river, soaking up the surroundings. The fishing wasn't as good as I had hoped, but this is understandable since the rain of the previous couple of days made for some murky water. Even with the popularity of this river among weekenders, we were virtually alone, with the exception of the occasional canoe quietly floating by.
On our last day, we packed our boat and proceeded downstream to the take out at a rather slow pace. I finally found a nice fishing hole and spent some time playing the game of cat and mouse. I caught a few, enough to satisfy my need to fish. As we neared the end of our relaxing journey, we were joined on the river by many day-trippers on a Sunday afternoon float. We pulled out at Caldwell, WV, packed our gear, and unfortunately, entered reality again. I must say, we will be back. And even if I don't catch a thing, it will all be worthwhile.
Just one bit of additional advice, we went during the month of August and had no problem with hitting bottom. However, this is rare. We even had a couple of Class II rapids, but the were easily navigable. Usually we would have to drag (I hate even thinking about that) our canoe in several spots.
Well, if you are rich and like to through money away, you can stay at the five star Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs. But there are also more affordable ways to go. There are several bed and breakfasts near White Sulphur. There are also motels in White Sulphur, nearby Lewisburg or in Covington, VA.
We caught a shuttle from Outdoor Adventures in White Sulphur Springs, WV for $35 from their headquarters to Anthony, WV on US219 north of I-64. We left our car at the takeout at a boat ramp near US60 near Caldwell, WV. You can get more info from the Outdoor Adventures website at www.wvoutdooradventures.com or by calling them at 1-888-PLAYWVA. (I have no affiliation with the company)
The directions are very simple. From points west of the Virginia/West Virginia state line, drive east on I-64. For points east of the state line, drive west on I-64.
Be sure to plan accordingly and check out the USGS river gages for that area (Kanawha River basin) online at http://vs01dwvchr.er.usgs.gov/rt/