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Gauley Season on the river kicks off Friday

GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Friday kicks off the Gauley White Water Rafting season along the Gauley River – a season that attracts hundreds and thousands of visitors from out of state.

On a recent appearance on MetroNews ‘Talkline,’ Pennsylvania native Randy Ebersole discussed what keeps him coming back to white water raft on the Gauley River for more than three decades.

“West Virginia makes me come back, the people of West Virginia make me come back and the whitewater makes me come back too,” he said.

Ebersole, who has been coming to West Virginia for 34 years, said the river features over 100 rapids and has two distinct 12-mile sections.

He explained how rapids are rated on a scale of 1-6 with six being the more adventurous side. The Upper Gauley has five Class 5 rapids.

“That sensation of successful execution of going through the different rapids is always pretty amazing experience. Even after the number of times I have done it, you still get that thrill when it happens and you still get nervous,” Ebersole said.

Gauley Season begins the first weekend after Labor Day, and continues for six weekends (five 4-day weekends, and one 2-day weekend).

According to the National Park Service, whitewater rafting attracts over 60,000 adventurers to the Gauley River each year.

Ebersole said his group, which arrives next Wednesday, will go rafting with a guide and it makes the experience as smooth as possible.

“They are in charge. We as the guests in the boats are the engine and paddlers. We go down on the boat, listen to the guide and things work out the way they are supposed to,” he said.

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