I paddled the Covington from the Rt. 622 put in to Rock Mills with 4 other Blue Ridge Voyagers Canoe Club members on Aug. 5 after a deluge made the Battle Run USGS gauge hit 2,000 CFS around 2 a.m. It had been wet all week and the gauge had dropped to 500 by 8:00 and, and everything in the area was running high and after heavy rain the night before. We finally put on around 1 pm with an estimated 10” of water and fell to about 3” by 5:00.
Anyhow, we had been warned* about a dangerous strainer around a blind corner where the river makes a sharp turn to the right due to a cliff on river left. It may be visible from the tiny, one boat eddy on the left-side eddy just above the turn. I marked the landing/portage point on river right (an easy drag around) with hot pink plastic streamers like surveyors use. The strainer in question is medium sized pine tree that can be cut with a chain saw, and the dangerous branches that point down into the water could be removed with hand saws at low water. The strainer is located about 500 yards above the first bridge.
This strainer is a deadly trap for anyone who winds up in it, so heads up to anyone who runs the river while it remains there.
The other obstructions were easily visible by eddy-hopping. Tip: Don’t crowd your probe or the boat in front of you to have a great time when you run creeks like this.
Logs bar the usual route at Volkswagen Rock. The rapid was runnable by setting up on river left and ferrying across right above the main log. One of our group made the move; one swam under the log, while the rest of us opted for an easy drag around.
Another strainer further downstream required a short drag around; We fit under two limbo logs with no problems for open boaters, and had a few tight squeezes .
What a joy is was to run this gem in August sunshine!
*Thanks to Bharris for his 6/24 report here and to BRV members Ron Knipling, Jenny Thomas, and Jim Long and others who sent descriptions from their trips earlier after I put proposed the trip to the BRV and CCA email lists. (gauge at Battle Run at 1:00 was 155 cfs, implying 100 cfs at Mike's put-in - Alf Cooley)