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  1. #1
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    Default Anyone Aqua blazing in 2011 ?

    Wanted to know if any NoBoers' had thought seriously about doing this?Aqua blazing is one way to beat the heat in Virginia during the summer.

    There are a quite a few options for Aqua blazing Shenandoah Nat'l Park.
    * Waynesboro is the southernmost put-in point using Rockfish Gap Outfitters. www.rockfisfgapoutfitters.com/ Aqua blaze the Shenandoah River all the way to Harpers Ferry,WV or maybe a shorter trip to Luray.

    * Luray also has a great Outfitter , www.shenandoahriver.com
    that can hook you up on a aquablaze with take out points at Front Royal and Harpers Ferry.

    One warning though; the water levels can get low during the droughts like we had this past summer which makes for a tougher time navigating the river. All said though , the experience can be great.
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  2. #2
    Registered User Speakeasy TN's Avatar
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    Default

    Not so much planning it, but I'm open to the possibility. If the conditions are right I may go this route. I can hike the Park to fill in later. Fall in THE valley would be great!

  3. #3
    Registered User dirtnap's Avatar
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    Default aqua blaze

    I did the aqua blaze in '03 from Waynesboro to Harper's Ferry. It was not so good. Nice for a change, but the Shenandoah is wide, slow, dirty, and filled with pooing cows. Poor water quality and a very boring rafting trip.

    If you want to aqua blaze I suggest taking a canoe instead of a raft so you can move along at a better pace.

  4. #4
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    Default Correction on Aquablazing

    Here's some info on Aquablazing the Shenandoah River. Rockfish Gap Outfitters does NOT do this. You need to head further North to get a livery company that rents canoes and does drop off and pick up. The river in Waynesboro is the South River. It does flow into the South Fork of the Shenandoah, but is generally not the best river to do a mulit day trip on. It gets low early in the season and twists and turns a lot (not to mention the hungry alligators and piranha). The following are several companies that do rent canoes and will allow you do multi-day trips of various sections.

    Shenandoah river Outfitters Luray, VA
    800-6-canoe-2


    Front Royal Canoe-Front Royal, VA
    540-635-5440 or 540-635-5050


    Shenandoah River Trips-Front Royal, VA
    800-727-4371


    Shenandoah River Adventures-Shenandoah, VA
    540-478-5032 or 540-298-2385




    Hope this helps some.

  5. #5

    Default

    I would add Downriver Canoe Company to the list They're located right on the river in Bentonville. My daughter and I rented from them last summer when we paddled the Shenandoah and found them pleasant to deal with.

  6. #6
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    Default

    Just yesterday I finished an aquablaze with 2011 hikers Badger, Road Dog, and Whoop. We did Dooms (just north of Waynesboro) to Elkton. This translates into roughly Rockfish Gap to Swift Run Gap on the trail. I'd disagree that the South River isn't a good run. It's narrow and beautiful, and the class I and II rapids are more interesting than those on the Shenandoah, which has a slack current for long stretches. Our leg involved Port Republic to Elkton on the South Fork of the Shenandoah, so I feel like we got the best of both worlds.

    Porter99 is right that RGO doesn't do a shuttle and rental service, but they're still good guys. The South River is more of an adventure and requires more logistical wrangling, but it's worth it.

    There is a rapid in Grottoes on the South River that should definitely be portaged. I tried to post about that this morning, but WB signed me out while I typed. I'll retry again when I have more energy.

  7. #7
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    I'd add that I think the guys saw more wildlife on the 20 miles of the South River than they did on the hike from GA to central VA. Bald Eagles were out in force, and there were a few snakes, an otter, a few beaver, and other critters.

  8. #8
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    The south river is up big time right now, but if we end up in a drought or it stops raining on a regular basis, it will drop quickly. Sounds like you had a great aquablaze. Enjoy the rest of you trip.

  9. #9
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Seems a good many hikers are doing it this year. I know of at least 6 others also.







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  10. #10
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    Thanks, Porter. Good point about the levels. The South was at about 200 cfs at the Waynesboro gauge when we did it. I've run different stretches of it at different levels. I'd say 200-400 is a good time. I've done it at 600, but it takes a lot of concentration. Below 150 and it gets pretty rocky in spots. Luckily, the main hiker herd moves through the area just when river levels are usually at their best.

    Here's the gauge: http://americanwhitewater.org/conten...etail/id/8700/

  11. #11
    Registered User wishful1015's Avatar
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    Default Time Budget for Aqua Blaze

    Is it quicker to hike or aqua blaze?
    Brother of the Wind
    GA-ME Class of 2011
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by wishful1015 View Post
    Is it quicker to hike or aqua blaze?
    Probably slightly faster to paddle. Depending on the levels, the Shenandoah will move an actively-paddled canoe down the river between 4-7 miles per hour. The river has many bends and meanders though, and you have to cover more distance than you would on the trail. Also, paddling seems to tire people out more since it's a different muscle group from hiking, so the days tend to be shorter.

    I have a group going out this morning doing the entire Shenandoah all the way to Harper's Ferry.

  13. #13

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    I aqua blazed from Waynesboro to Harpers, "Team Aqua Blaze 2011" Segway-AAA-Stitch-Old Crow -Goopah-Old Spice-Paddle Dancer-Pebbles-Wiggles-Driftwood-Daydreamer-Mouse-Pickles. WE HAD A BLAST!!!!!! If you start where we did make sure the levels are above 1.80- when you get near Grottoes there is a nasty Rapid that will dump you also as well as Compton rapid mile marker 17 on the Shenandoah..Be sure to stay left and wear a life jacket. You will have a blast!!!! To get canoes yogi around Waynesboro and when you get to Harpers rent a U-Haul or get the outfitters for the river adventures to shuttle you and canoes to their owners. Either way its roughly 280 bucks to get them back. you can map your trip with this site and check mileage etc. http://web.eecs.utk.edu/~dunigan/at/

  14. #14
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    Kip Wing, I think I saw a note that you guys left at Elkton. That was an epic trip!

    There's a portage (small path to the road) at Grottoes, right before the river turns 90 degrees left into that nasty rapid. I'd encourage everyone to carry the boats around that mess.

    No need to yogi around Waynesboro, just PM me for canoes and you won't have to worry about paying someone to get them back at the end.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kip wing View Post
    I aqua blazed from Waynesboro to Harpers, "Team Aqua Blaze 2011" Segway-AAA-Stitch-Old Crow -Goopah-Old Spice-Paddle Dancer-Pebbles-Wiggles-Driftwood-Daydreamer-Mouse-Pickles. WE HAD A BLAST!!!!!! If you start where we did make sure the levels are above 1.80- when you get near Grottoes there is a nasty Rapid that will dump you also as well as Compton rapid mile marker 17 on the Shenandoah..Be sure to stay left and wear a life jacket. You will have a blast!!!! To get canoes yogi around Waynesboro and when you get to Harpers rent a U-Haul or get the outfitters for the river adventures to shuttle you and canoes to their owners. Either way its roughly 280 bucks to get them back. you can map your trip with this site and check mileage etc. http://web.eecs.utk.edu/~dunigan/at/
    Did you "finish" the trail? Did you do your flip-flop?
    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

  16. #16

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    Still hiking, im in boiling springs now debating the flip flop... But I will "finish" and loving every step/paddle/hitch its amazing

  17. #17

    Default check low water level in river

    I would echo what a previous writer said: the rivers are quite low now - you have to do a lot of work. The hikers that I have met coming off an aquablaze in Harpers Ferry report that the first couple of days were great fun and the fun tapered off after that. Not to mention drowned phone, drowned camera, etc. Research what you are getting into.

  18. #18

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    Vitamaltz, we are doing a aqua blaze next season so we will see you then...and yushan, the people who had complaints with the aquablaze are lazy and just expected to skip a section of the trail and float.. Fact is you gotta earn the rewards of the river! And the turn at Grottoes is a BITCH!! Flipped us and another boat

  19. #19
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    Kip Wing, I'll have boats and coolers all ready for you. Glad to hear you're coming back!

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by yushan View Post
    I would echo what a previous writer said: the rivers are quite low now - you have to do a lot of work. The hikers that I have met coming off an aquablaze in Harpers Ferry report that the first couple of days were great fun and the fun tapered off after that. Not to mention drowned phone, drowned camera, etc. Research what you are getting into.
    Haha...yeah, that was Triton and me. We lost our cells, some gear, our paddles and our canoe...but I would do it again, my time on the Shenandoah was a blast. Beside of cuts and bruces we came out of this quite unharmed. Our problem was, noone told us it was highwater...you would expect the boatrental gues to mention, but they didnt. Luckily the Canoe was ours, so we werent charged for loosing it...
    We had to rest a couple of days, which we did at the HF KOA. The manager there gave us a cabin for free, the only reason why we didnt stay at Teahorse...
    I remember the lady there was very nice and helpfull to me.

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