FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Gauley River, Rafting

Mar 1, 2010
2010 / March 2010

I rafted the Gauley River once,” said Eddie Bennett. In golden dusk we were sitting on the porch of his bed and breakfast in Fayetteville, W.V. Eddie, a retired school principal, was immaculately dressed in a linen suit and bow tie. It was impossible to picture him careening down one of the most dangerous rivers in North America.

“This was a couple of years back,” he continued. “There was a very attractive young woman in the boat. When we hit the first rapid, she fell right atop of me.” He paused to sip his drink and savor the memory. “Best day of my life.”

The stability and tranquility of Eddie’s porch was far removed from the inflatable raft in which I had spent much of my day. I was still buzzing with adrenaline. A gash on my shin throbbed sharply; my muscles ached; my right shoulder was heavily bruised. Like Eddie, I had tackled the Gauley River — the “Beast of the East” — and I had lived to tell the tale. But it had been a close-run thing.

It hadn’t been my intention to take on the vicious waterway when I left the house that morning. My itinerary was to include a lazy voyage down the nearby New River. But at the ACE Adventure Center, the plans changed.

“Have you rafted a Class V?” asked the guide, Fred, as I arrived. I thought he was making small talk.

“Yes,” I said. “The Zambezi and the Orinoco.”

“Great, you’re in. We’re one person short. You’re coming with us on the Gauley.”

“But I didn’t enjoy either river,” I replied in a frantic attempt to backtrack.

“You’re not meant to enjoy a Class V,” said Fred. “It’s a survival thing. Come on, let’s kit you out.” And so, an hour later, I found myself in the boat, committed. We set off from beside the outflow pipes of Summersville Dam. For six weekends each fall, the dam’s floodgates are opened, and flotillas of rafts rampage down the river in what has become known as “Gauley Season.”

“It’s easy then,” said Fred. “During the season, it’s just like those big-water rivers you’ve been on before. You go with the flow and hold on. But today the river’s at its spring low, so it will be highly technical. We’ll need all our paddling skill to get down safely.”

The world’s rafting rivers are graded according to an international classification system. Class I is the easiest, with a few gentle rapids along the way. Class V is the toughest, usually featuring regular raging torrents. Until the 1960s, the Gauley had been regarded as a Class VI — officially unraftable. Niagara Falls, for instance, is a Class VI.

Over the years, a few reckless pioneers tackled the river, looking for navigable routes. By trial and error — some of the errors were fatal — a relatively safe course was found, and the Gauley was downgraded to a severe Class V.

So down we went, paddling mightily each time the craft was drawn into a set of rapids. Only later did Fred reveal how close we had come to catastrophe. “Remember when we were pinned against Pillow Rock? We were almost sucked into a hydraulic. If that had happened, we’d still be there. Like being in a washing machine. But deadly.”

That evening on the porch, I relaxed my battered body and got used to a somnolent world that didn’t consist entirely of angry water.

“Best day of your life, would you say?” Eddie asked.

I raised my beer. “I vow that I will never again raft a Class V river.” We clinked glasses. “It is now.”


FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Explore Excursions


Insta Feed
May 17, 2024

Hawk’s Cay Resort Launches New Vacay Pup Program

For travelers who take their dogs everywhere, Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key in the Florida Keys would be a great destination. The largest resort in the Keys has started a Vacay Pup pet-friendly program that includes an array of special amenities and experiences, including the resort's Pup Planner, select dining options, unique activities and additional features, all created to enhance the stay for guests and their pet(s).

Unearth Seoul’s Hidden Gems

Filled with hidden treasures waiting to be discovered, Seoul invites travelers to unearth its many gems, and Seoul Tourism Organization is here to help travelers do just that. Through thoughtfully created initiatives like the Theme Tourism County Competition, Seoul Tourism Organization works closely with local districts to identify and showcase what makes each district unique and charming in all seasons.

May 17, 2024

InterContinental Dominica Offers Complimentary “Luxperiences”

InterContinental Dominica Cabrits Resort & Spa sets a new standard in luxury travel by offering premium amenities with immersive local experiences. With a demand for more lavish accommodations, hotel guests who book luxury accommodations can participate in unparalleled comfort while exploring Dominica’s vibrant culture.

May 17, 2024

Hilton’s Expansion and Openings in 2024

Hilton will expand its global footprint this year with plans to enter five new markets. The company now has more new rooms under construction than any other hotel company, with approximately one in every five hotel rooms under construction globally slated to join the company’s portfolio.

Revel in a European Summer with AmaWaterways

Pedal through sun-drenched vineyards, hike amidst blooming wildflowers and take a refreshing dip in your ship's sun-deck whirlpool. Indulge in the flavors of the region with delectable dishes featuring luscious Wachau Valley apricots and succulent Serbian plums. As night falls, watch as the cities along the rivers come alive, pulsating with an irresistible electric energy. The sun-soaked days and vibrant nights offer a compelling reason to embark on an AmaWaterways river cruise during the upcoming summer months.

May 16, 2024

Germany’s Museum Ritter Presents Laurenz Theinert: Missing Darkness

Based in Stuttgart, contemporary artist Laurenz Theinert moves photography into an ethereal dimension using a blend of light and his own imaginative intuition. Through Sept. 15, visitors to Museum Ritter in Waldenbuch, Germany, can immerse themselves in Theinert’s world of visual language as expressed through light and sound performances, light art, installations and photographic works.

eFlyer News
May 15, 2024

JetBlue Announces New Year-Round Service from New York (JFK) to Puerto Rico, Bonaire

JetBlue announced its first year-round, non-stop service from New York (JFK) to Bonaire (BON), providing travelers with more options in getting to the Dutch Caribbean island. The frequency of this flight is to be announced at a later date.

Welcome to Wyndham Monterrey Ambassador Centro

Wyndham Monterrey Ambassador Centro, operated by Aimbridge LATAM, opened its doors, welcoming guests to one of the most iconic and traditional properties in Monterrey, Nuevo León. Boasting 229 rooms and suites, the hotel, part of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, is ready for discerning travelers. Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is the largest hotel franchise company in the world with approximately 9,100 hotels in more than 95 countries.

eFlyer News
May 15, 2024

Qatar Airways, Cardless Debut U.S. Credit Cards

Qatar Airways’ loyalty program, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, and Cardless recently launched two new credit cards for the U.S. market. Qatar Airways Privilege Club is the first international airline loyalty program to introduce a Visa Infinite credit card in the United States. Cardless, a leading financial technology firm, is the inaugural fintech startup to introduce this card, as well.