How Sweets It Is

By Jay Young

The first time I ever guided a raft through Sweets Falls was hands down the most stressful 30 seconds of my entire raft-guiding career. It was my Upper Gauley check-out run and I distinctly recall floating into the class-V rapid's top waves, seeing 200-odd people lining the banks of the river and thinking, "They all want me to mess up. Every last one of them." Sometimes called the Coliseum of Carnage, Sweets Falls collects spectators like my dog collects eye boogers. Running it cleanly is actually pretty easy, but if you let it get into your head, all bets are off. I don't know if it were true or not that every single person there wanted me to put on an unintentional show, but I do know that the crowds plus the simple fact that once you're past Sweets Falls, you've made it down the famed Upper Gauley meant the pressure was certainly on.

Oddly enough, I barely recall the actual Falls, so I can't tell you what the run was like, other than that we didn't mess up.

I like to think it looked similar to this...