Jackson Wright - Gauley First Descent

>> Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I climbed out of my car and stepped onto the muddy ground at Swiss, the take out for the Lower Gauley River. I was assigned by American Whitewater to shoot the Girls on the Lower G with Anna Levesque, one of the bigger fundraisers for AW over the traffic heavy Gauley Festival. I introduced myself to Anna and we went over some of the logistics for the day. I kept peering over her shoulder at a old busted up rig with two huge glass looking kayaks on top.

My curiosity got the better of me and I wondered over to an old fellow sitting in the door way eating a slice of ham. A sticker on the door read; "Have a good day."
I introduced myself and asked to take his photograph, he was delighted and said he should introduce himself. "My name is Jack Wright, that's Jasckson Wright actually!" he said slowly in between chewing on his ham. "I did the first descent of the Gauley in decked boats in 1968" he continued. My heart raced, here in the middle of a field, filled with bright new boats, paddle jackets and pfds was a man who played a huge part in the development of this river and still paddling in his old gear enjoying every moment.

In this day and age, information is at our finger tips but authentic stories told from those who lived them are hard to come by. Sometimes it's worth slowing down, stepping back, having a bigger look at what's going on and you'll be surprised at what and who you are able to see.


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