The High Adventure Club lived up to its name over the weekend as they faced the class five white water rapids of the Gauley River.
The registered student organization traveled to Summersville, W.Va., to attend Gauley Fest and go white water rafting down one of the top five rivers in the world for the sport.
“It was an eight to 10 hour drive. We left Thursday afternoon and started rafting Friday morning. Some people got there at 7 a.m., so they only got a few hours of sleep,” said President and Canton senior Alex Ruedger. “There’s so much adrenaline while rafting though, so there was no issue staying awake.”
Ruedger has been rafting on the Gauley River since a trip he took his senior year of high school. Vice President and Commerce senior Jeff Davies said because of the recent rain, the rapids were bigger and more dangerous than ever.
“The Upper Gauley is the (river) everyone wants to go on, because the rapids are bigger,” Davies said. “But because of the rain and water levels, it became way more dangerous. The river guides ended up shutting it down because they took two groups out and it ended up being the worst experience they’ve ever had.”
Despite these dangers, High Adventure Club members still had the time of their lives on the Lower Gauley.
“We experienced the lower like no one ever has. Normally, the lower rapids are class four, but they all got upgraded to class five. That was a real treat,” Davies said. “Everyone was raving about how much fun they had.”
After rafting, club members had free time to explore the West Virginian nature. Popular activities include swimming, hiking, rock climbing and watching fellow rafters take on the Gauley River.
The club also camped and volunteered at Gauley Fest, which is the largest kayak festival in the country, run by American Whitewater.
“There was a lot of live music and bands, vendors and food stands. Everyone just walked around and had a good time, and strangers turn in to friends,” Ruedger said. “We had the highest number of volunteers there, so we were a large part of the volunteer force.”
Every year the club takes this trip, it proves to be an experience members never forget.
“It’s a very adrenaline-filled atmosphere. Everyone is in the moment for the five to six hours you’re on the river,”Ruedger said. “You build lifetime memories in those couple of hours.”