Testing Astral’s new footwear on the Linville Gorge

by admin on July 25, 2012

Soundtrack
Artist:  Them Teasters
Track:  She Won’t
Internets:  facebook.com/ThemTeasters

Lately, the designers at Astral have been up to a lot more than their typical innovative PFD designs.  The Brewer; a lightweight, quick-drying, durable, sticky (on wet, slimy rocks), easy-draining and incredibly comfortable shoe has been introduced.  This Winter and Spring we were able to do lots of testing with the Brewer, including a couple beautiful days into the rugged and remote Linville Gorge.

Driving west on i40 from Asheville NC, the journey to the deepest gorge on the Eastern Seaboard begins.

Relaxation comes first, then the work.  Yonton Mehler waits during shuttle-run at the head of the Babel Tower trail where the hike-in begins for most paddlers

Relaxation comes first, then the work. Yonton Mehler waits during shuttle-run at the head of the Babel Tower trail where the hike-in begins for most paddlers.

Chris Harjes gets his first taste of how the Brewer works while biking our shuttle.  He looks happy after two miles uphill.

Chris Harjes gets his first taste of how the Brewer works while biking our shuttle. He looks happy after two miles uphill.

The stroll through dense forest begins on a swampy trail.

Yonton fades into the gorge with Table Rock in the backdrop.

Break time from hike time is not a bad thing.

Chris enjoys the reassuring grip of Stealh rubber as he descends the last piece of trail into the gorge.

It's always a telling moment when you get to eyeball the indicator rock at Babel Tower. Looks like a low but good level.

The Cave rapid is maybe one of the funnest. Yonton leaves the cave and enters a slide that feels a bit like a conveyer belt, down to the pool below.

Cave rapid, bottom, river right.

If there is one portage that must be done it is just after the rapid below Cave. Chris grabs a quick look at the rapid after portage.

Many rapids in the gorge end or begin with such rocks, most of the water funneling underneath and not so much around the rock.

A long and steep hike out with 50 lbs on shoulder will round out your exercise for the day. Cool springs cross rocky switchbacks, and amazing views make the experience even better.

The Linville is maybe the most amazing river run in the Southeast if you are up for a solid day of Class V whitewater.  A word of warning: It is not recommended for first timers without a guide who knows the river along with proper equipment and safety gear.

Thank you,
Spencer Cooke
Effort Inc

The Astral Brewer will be available in the worlds finest outdoor shops, Summer 2012.  Here’s a list.
ACE Adventure Gear – WV
Adventure Carolina – SC
Alder Creek Kayaks – OR
Appomattox River Co – VA
California Canoe & Kayak – CA
Campmor Inc – NJ
Colorado Kayak Supply – CO
Confluence Kayaks – CO
Cumberland Transit – TN
Diamond Brand Outdoors – NC
Footsloggers – NC
Get Outdoors – NC
Great Outdoor Provision Co – NC
Idaho River Sports – ID
Outdoor Adventures – SC
Outdoor Supply Company – NC
Jersey Paddler – NJ
Kayak Shed – OR
Laacke & Joys – WI
Leavenworth Mountain Sports – WA
Mahoneys Outfitters – TN
Mountainman Outdoor Supply – NY
Nantahala Outdoor Center – NC
New York Kayak Co – NY
Next Adventure – OR
Northeast PA Kayak School – PA
Northwest River Supply – ID
Outdoor Gear Exchange – VT
Pathfinder – WV
Potomac Paddlesports – MD
River Runner Outdoor Center – SC
Sea Kayak Carolina – SC
Starrk Moon – PA
Sunrift Adventures – SC
Sunrise Mountain Sports – CA
The River Connection – NY
The River Store – CA
Uncle Lems Mountain Outfitters – TN
US National Whitewater Center – NC
Valley Mill Boats – MD
Wild River Outfitters – VA
Wilderness Voyageurs – PA
Wildwater Ltd – SC

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