With summer in full swing, many people will be spending a lot of time outdoors in the summer sun. Some people enjoy getting a tan, while others just want to go swimming. Some may want to go fishing, and others just want to canoe or kayak on the river.
With Pocahontas County being the birthplace of rivers, it would only make sense that it has some of the most beautiful river scenery and some of the best rivers for floating.
People have used canoes for thousands of years, for many different purposes. Originally, canoes were dug out of whole tree trunks, leaving a thin layer on the outside to create buoyancy, or created from solid sheets of a tree’s bark. Nowadays, canoes and kayaks are made out of plastic, fiberglass, aluminum, and of course, wood, but they are better and more skilled creations. They even make inflatable rafts that, when deflated, can fit right inside of your pack.
There are many options to choose from, so your decision can be based on your own preference.
Plastic or fiberglass is usually the best route to go, especially when traversing the rivers here in the county. Of the eight rivers that begin here, the best ones to canoe or kayak are the Greenbrier River, and, sometimes, the Cranberry. It really all depends on the amount of rain at any given time.
One of the most common routes to take on the Greenbrier River is to start at Cass or Sitlington, and eventually end the trip at Clover Lick, which is the preferred route of Randy Nottingham, truck driver at Interstate Lumber and frequent “sailor” and fisherman on the Greenbrier River.
“It’s like therapy for me,” Nottingham said. “I find it really peaceful and serene. It’s really nice to just get on the river and let loose. Just float without thinking about all the stuff that stresses you out. I love to fish, as well, and the Greenbrier is full of fish. You got redeye, bluegills, smallmouth, trout, catfish and lots of others. And they are plentiful, so it’s always a great time fishing. Even if you aren’t catching anything, it will still be relaxing.
“The route that you take down the river isn’t the important thing; it’s about having fun and connecting with nature. But that being said, we like to start at Cass, when the water is high enough, and go down to Clover Lick. We park in the Cass parking lot, and everyone puts in right under the bridge. It’s kind of tricky with all the big rocks that they have put in there, so watch your footing while carrying your canoe or kayak. After we put in, we usually let the current take us down to our first stop, which is Sitlington. If the river isn’t up enough, this is usually where we put in. It’s right where the Sitlington Creek meets the Greenbrier, and it’s usually deep enough to go from there on out. To get there from Green Bank, you want to go to the Rt. 92/Rt. 28 intersection in Dunmore. Once there, head toward Marlinton on Rt. 28, and it will be about 100 yards down the road, first right. Follow that road all the way out until you can see the river, then take the hairpin turn There is usually a pretty good hole of water there, and it’s a great place to stop and take in everything.
“Once your party is ready to get moving, you keep going, passing under the bridge there in Sitlington. It will be mostly moving water for a little ways, about a mile. Then the first real calm hole will come up, called the Snake Hole. It’s a fairly large and long, calm spot in the river. There are a few of them, and they are great fishing holes, and you can also swim there. Out in the middle of these holes can get pretty deep, sometimes over ten feet deep. This is usually where we stop next, and do some more fishing, and people can swim if they want. After this hole, it returns to rapids and moving waters again. You will go a ways before you actually come up on the next big hole of water, but there are still plenty of places to stop. You will come up to a really nice hole with a few cabins on the banks. We call that Homer Hunter’s hole, as he lives there. And this is probably the best hole to fish out of. You’ll have no trouble at all catching fifteen fish or more in just a matter of minutes.
“After you leave that hole, you will go just a little ways on down, maybe half a mile or more, and run into the Whirlpool. This is the last big stretch of water on the way to Clover Lick. If you aren’t paying attention you can literally sit in this perfectly still water for hours while you are fishing. It is a very beautiful stretch of water, with great scenery around. It also is very deep there and great for swimming. There’s a huge boulder sitting in the water that you can climb on top of to jump off into the deep sections. It has some great bank areas to stop along, as well, and is a great place to have a fire and roast some hotdogs for lunch. Once you get started again, there is still a bit to go, but it’s all moving water from there on out, and you can make it down to Clover Lick in no time.
“There is only one other place that we stop at before getting out, and that’s the hole in the wall. It’s a very shallow cave, more like a depression in the rocks really, but a great place to hang out, and get out of the rain if it comes, which we have had to do on more than one occasion. Then about a mile on down from there is the bridge, which is where you get out as soon as you pass under it.
“All in all, it’s a great trip and an amazing way to disconnect from the world and hang out with friends and family.”
So if you are looking for something fun to do on a hot summer’s day, suit up, gather some friends, and head on down to the river.
The Route 66 Shop in Cass offers canoe and kayak rentals if you don’t have your own. And always remember boating safety. Make sure to bring enough life jackets for everyone in your party.