29 feb. 2000

Rews Club weekend Christmas '99, Beaufort, Luxemburg

Paddling in the South-Eifel

Day one, a day to remember.

The Nims was wonderful, we started in Wolsfeld, first grade II, then from the camping a serious III. The camping itself was partly flooded. There also was  very big wave under the bridge at the camping, no stopper, but great surf. Once passed there, brown soup and FuN, big waves, no real problems. Just one barrage near the end with a 1m50 high wave, luckily no stopper, went fine.

The Prüm on Sunday wasn't that good. I 've got the boat, got the paddle, and I got out, but I can't say I paddled it. When there is a lot of water the Wasserfälle is a German grade IV but when there's a flood, that's even a light grade. Only two of us attempted to paddle it.

--High water: The water was f***ing high. Normally you slide in at the start. This time, no slide, the water was as high as the bank, a bit running through the field.
Another example of how high it was, there was no rocksplat!!! The famous rock was totally submerged, there was just a bump. So I suppose that the water was a least 2 meter higher then normal in the gorge.

--The paddling:
Part one. Entering the gorge, was like reaching the end of the world, it just went down and made a huge noise. To avoid a big hole, I kept left. But the first big wave threw me more left then I wanted in a little sideriver that seemed good when we checked it. But once I got there, a tree blocked it. So under I went. I flushed under through the tree, but the impact had torn me out of the boat, so a swim followed.

Part two. We didn't studied the part down from the bridge very carefully. It looked very flat, almost no more rocks visible, no more drops, just huge waves and one big hole.
But the big wave under the bridge threw me up and 'round, I rolled back up and landed in the one big hole I had to avoid. 'Kind of a sticky one, ' cause I couldn't get out. While I was in there, I 'kind of saw my life pass by. But after some time , don't know how, I spewed me out, but backwards. So I fell into the next hole and then the next wave and so on and on ... I rolled back up tree times and then I bailed out. No smart thing to do, but hey a man 's got do what a man 's got to do, ...

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Unfortunately, our photographer was that impressed, that he only shot one picky.

The other paddler, Tom (Rews club-webmaster), a younger friend, had no real problems. He even got my boat and my paddle out at the end of the gorge.

All the others were watching from the side, non able to help, some running around with a throwbag but I was way to fast for them. There even was someone really freaking out in panic. And some others thought I was going to put on a bit of a show when I dropped into the big hole, I wished that was true.
When I finally got out I was a bit shocked, but at the end we all had a big laugh. Lucky me!
That evening we took a look at the 5-meter Enzfall in Neuerburg. After my little escapade at the Prüm I didn't plan to have a go, jumping the fall. Once we got there, we saw there was also a flood and it wasn't very obvious to jump, anyway we took some pictures.

If you want more info on these falls, click them.

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We planned to check out three falls. But we did not paddle any of the falls. This was due to the heavy storms on X-mass weekend. There was a flood on all the rivers in the South-Eifel and that made it a bit hard to jump them. And after my bad swim on the Prüm Wasserfälle at flood level, I 'kind of took it easy. We also didn't have a team do that kind of stuff. But we took a look anyway.
We didn't get to the third one, 'cause of a little accident. Piet cycled into the Endertgorge, so the weekend ended in the hospital for stitching a cut in his head.

Day 2: The Clerve (L), beginner time with flood.

This was a nice gently ride with Jochen and Eric. I don't consider them being beginners but due to the high water levels in the area, they kind' of wanted to take really easy.
We started off in Clervaux (L). It was going to be a flat ride so we planned to have fun where ever possible. So why not jump down the little bridge, do a squirt now and then, but avoid to roll over 'cause it was very cold. One time my squirt ended badly, so one roll. There also were tons of trees blocking the river but we could avoid them going through the flooded fields. Suddenly Eric missed a curve and put on a fight with a bush which he lost. He couldn't roll being held down by the bush.
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So one swim followed, although it wasn't deeper then 30cm (a foot). After a while the fire-department started following us. So we thought they were gonne' take us off the flooded river, but no, there were just having a peek on what was going on. 

Day 3: The Kleine Kyl (G)

From now on, we 've left the homebase in Beaufort(L) and went on in the van up to Germany, Vulkan-Eifel. Just  two man, the rest went back home to Ghent(B)
The Kleine Kyl is a tributary of the Lieser just downstream Manderscheid. As we didn't know the area, it took some time to find the get-in and out. But after a while we were cycling upstream after having dropped the boats at the get-in and the van at the end. It was a wonderful ride through the wood along the river.
The first part was rather flat, grade I-II, but after a while some trees blocked it and so it became a bit more adventurous. 
At the mill, halfway, there was a weir which we didn't paddle, and after that it went into the wood becoming a grade III with some trees blocking it. Finally there was the 'Teufelschlucht', a grade IV-passage, but easy to paddle. Also 'cause the water wasn't very high anymore. When we reached the end we had a great day, 'kind of lay back, easy paddling, biking a bit, just enjoying. And finally went for the pizza in the next valley in Cochem.

Day 4: The Endertbach (G)

Sh*t happens! In Cochem, where the Endert goes in the Moezel, there was a big flood. All the lower roads were under and even some houses. So we had to take lots of alternative roads, traveling km's and km's to go from the get-in to the end which were in fact only 10 km away from each other. It also froze a bit and there even was some snow.
After having heard several local's, giving us different directions, we managed to find the Endertfall. It was really spectacular, not very big, but quite high, in a curve and with a dangerous line on the left. Sadly we didn't have the camera with us, so planned to return that evening. In no way we considered running it. We did not have the team to do this and I even if we did, I don't know if I would have the nerves to do this.  

The get-out was very important 'cause at the end, in the village of Cochem, the Endert goes between brick walls and into tunnels. So we finally decided to get out at the Hotel Weissmühle and that's where we started biking up. Really some top grade mountainbiking, very beautiful, technical, and not without risks. 'Cause at a certain moment when the track became only 30cm (a foot) wide, Piet bumped into high rock on his right, slipped and fell into the 5 meter deep gorge on his left.

For a moment I thought, this is the end. He and his bike rolled over three times, hitting several trees, before ending up down along the water.  It was quiet for a moment, I climbed, no, jumped down. I helped him up. Luckily he was conscious. His head was bleeding, he clothes were torn, he had some bruises. Immediately some tourists helped us back out of the gorge. The bike was wrecked. But he felt ok, considering the fall. There was no road nearby, so after a pause he decided to go on, carrying the bike. Being past halfway up, we continued to the get-in. For a moment, I considered to hitchhike down and get the van. But once at the get-in, he wanted to go, paddling down.

So off we went. It was a nice little river, 3 to 5 meters wide, not that much water, but '725' trees blocking it! I think we at least portaged 20 times and rolled under as much times. Every part we scouted had a tree and every part we didn't scout also had some. There are some old mills, nice little auberges now. But when the creek passes the mills, the banks are brickwalls, no eddies, and of course, lots of trees. So these were difficult and sometimes dangerous situations. No beginner stuff. 

We reached the end at sunset and were very relieved this day had come to an end. Not just a paddling day, but survival, expedition, ... It was dark when we reached the hospital, where they stitched up my colleges' head, nothing really bad, just an 2cm-cut (one inch cut).

We didn't get back to the fall for some picky's, neither did we visit the last and biggest fall, the Elzbach-fall, as we had planned. But it was getting late and we hit the road, back to Belgium, and before I knew I was laying in my warm bed, home sweet home, dreaming, going down one-hundred-foot waterfalls, naaa... 

See you