Do the R-2: Tiny rafts, steep creeks, big fun

first_imgLinc Stallings running Class IV+ dueling waterfalls. See the full gallery. Photo: Jeremy Rogers“I’ve got a 50/50 success rate with that drop. About half the time, I swim,” Linc Stallings tells me after he negotiates our boat over a 10-foot waterfall into a deep pool flanked by massive boulders. We’re running the North Fork of the French Broad, a small stream that drops off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western North Carolina. It’s a rain-dependent creek with class IV+ vertical drops, deep pools, and technical boulder gardens scattered throughout a two-mile stretch that’s popular with creek boaters. We’re running it in a small two-person raft called an R-2. Across the Southern Appalachians, a handful of boaters are beginning to take these small, 10-foot rafts down narrow, class IV-V creeks that have previously only been run in kayaks and the occasional canoe. It’s a niche sport that even some creek boaters think is a little crazy.“People freak out when they see rubber coming down a creek,” Stallings says. “There are only a few people who would take a raft down these narrow rivers, so people still think it’s wild.”Of those few R-2 boaters, Linc Stallings is easily one of the most experienced. The 36 year old has been guiding rafts down class V rivers for 15 years, working the biggest rivers in the South and Colorado depending on the year. He’s a rare breed: a professional raft guide, someone who’s committed to this as a career, not just something to do between college and “the real world.”“I always thought I’d do it and move on. But I just kept doing it,” Stallings says. “I love it. I love taking people out on the river. I love hanging out with other boaters. I love the water.”R-2 creeking is essentially what raft guides do on their day off. They borrow a small two-person raft from their bosses and push it, scrape it, and paddle like hell through tight rain-dependent creeks in the mountains. The North Fork of the French Broad is one of Stallings’ favorites. He first learned to creek boat here while attending Brevard College’s wilderness immersion program. He knows the nuances of every significant rapid the way a tween girl knows the lyrics to a Justin Bieber song.“A ton of people have run this creek in a kayak,” he tells me as we begin to paddle toward the first class III rapid, just 50 yards from the put-in. “But running it in a raft has a completely different dynamic. Running tight drops in this big boat is fun, but there are some logistical things you have to work out. It’s like doing a math problem.” 1 2last_img read more

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Minister reassures Jamaicans after 10 killed in bloody weekend

first_imgNewsRegional Minister reassures Jamaicans after 10 killed in bloody weekend by: – June 27, 2012 Share Tweet 68 Views   no discussions Sharecenter_img Sharing is caring! Share Security forces redouble efforts after murders in St James, St Ann and St Andrew between Friday and Sunday.KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday June 27, 2012 – It was a case of scream bloody murder in Jamaica last weekend as 10 people met a violent end in various areas across the country.Between Friday and Sunday, four persons were killed in St James, two in St Ann and four in August Town, St Andrew, according to reports.In the wake of the killings, National Security Minister Peter Bunting has assured Jamaicans that the security forces are continuing their relentless efforts to fight crime.“We have to redouble our efforts going forward, continue what we are doing and be confident that over time, it will work,” Bunting said.The minister visited the August Town, St Andrew community following the killings, which reportedly resulted from a gun battle between rival gangs.“I don’t want this weekend’s murders to set back in any way all the effort that has gone into bringing August Town to where it is today,” Bunting said.“I sympathise and understand the hurt and frustration, but we cannot give up on the peace process. We recognise that it can be a setback, but the residents have to hold on to what they have achieved over the years,” he urged.A 2008 peace treaty between factions from the five districts in August Town put an end to a violent, bloody era that devastated the community with everyone living in fear. Several subsequent peace initiatives had helped to drastically reduce crime, with murders down to two last year.“I encourage those who have been working with the PMI (Peace Management Initiative), community development committee and other entities to overcome this and to understand that if they don’t want to return to those days, they have to keep working at it and ensure that it doesn’t gather any momentum. They are not to be concerned with any retaliation, just allow the police to do their investigations, pursue the criminals and bring them to justice,” the security minister said.Bunting assured that a number of initiatives would be implemented to protect the community from further attacks from the gunmen, as well as increased efforts to bring them to justice.“I’m just asking the residents to have faith and don’t come off the track that they have been on,” the minister stressed.Residents of August Town, meanwhile, say they are fearful following the killings.According to Senior Superintendent Derrick Knight, there were two separate shooting incidents on Saturday, one in the morning and another in the evening. He said one of the incidents could be a result of one of the deceased being a witness in a court case.Dead are Deveon Harris, 23; André Bennet, 19; Tamica Gordon, 19, and Rohan Simpson, 39.The month-to-date murder rate compared with last year is reportedly the same. Eleven hundred and twenty-four persons were reportedly killed last year, 89 in the month of June.Caribbean 360 Newslast_img read more

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