Where to get that last whitewater fix of the season
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Destinations, September 1998
It’s still too warm out to mourn the end of summer, though we do get wistful for whitewater about now. But thanks to that modern engineering marvel — or scourge — known as a dam, a few choice rivers rage till Halloween. West Virginia’s Gauley, of course, is the mother of autumn runs. But here are four more spots where you can squeeze in
River: Upper Youghiogheny, Maryland
Rating: Class IV-V
Description: 10 miles through a precipitous, narrow canyon that descends at an average of 116 feet per mile.
Highlight: Plummeting down the Miracle Mile, where the river drops 200 quick feet between Bastard and National Falls rapids.
Outfitter: Precision Rafting ($100- $115 per day; 800-477-3723)
River: Kennebec River, Maine
Rating: Class III-IV
Description: 12 miles through a deep, tree-lined gorge. High water combined with few obstacles creates giant, surfable rollers.
Highlight: Catching the balmy, 65-degree spray thrown off by the raging foam piles at Magic Hole, a Class IV drop.
Outfitter: New England Outdoor Center ($79-$99; 800-766-7238)
River: Hells Canyon, Snake River, Idaho
Rating: Class III-IV
Description: A 34- or 80- mile run through the deepest river gorge in the nation; similar water to the Grand Canyon.
Highlight: Gazing up at snowcapped, 7,900-foot peaks while bobbing in the shadowy, 1,300-foot depths of the gorge.
Outfitter: ROW (three days, $730; six days, $1,280; 800-451-6034)
River: Lodore Canyon, Green River, Utah
Rating: Class III
Description: 44 miles of technical rapids, bordered by Dinosaur National Monument’s alpine pi±on forest and sheer red walls.
Highlight: Basking in the desert scenery while passing waterfalls, prehistoric pictographs, slickrock caverns, and wind-eroded cliffs.
Outfitter: Holiday Expeditions (four days, $659; 800-624-6323)