TOP YOUGH RACE 2015. Story and Photos by Gabe DeWitt

My Easter weekend got a jump start on Saturday when Garret showed up at my house at 9am, ready to head to the Top Yough Race.
“The Top Yough is a section of the Youghiogheny River, not to be confused with the Upper Yough which is a bit further down stream. The race starts a swallow falls, and ends at a rapid called suck hole which is about 2.4 miles down stream of Swallow Falls. In between these two rapids are many class III/IV rapids depending on the levels. Races in the past have generally been between 180cfs to 700cfs.”
I don’t really consider myself a “boater” yet, so racing proper wasn’t for me this day. But, I was super stoked to be invited along, and I quickly grabbed my camera gear and we were out the door…
I found a pretty stellar spot to shoot from on top of a 25′ boulder by Swallow Falls (though I don’t recommend risking the accent/decent unless you’re a solid climber). From this vantage point I shot with Nikon’s 14-24 and the 70-300, with the assistance of a manfrotto monopod. I tried to keep my shutter speeds above 1/1250 as to not blur any of the action and water spray.
I made a large 200+ megapixel panorama from this vantage point, and was able to merge a few shots of Laura Farrell into it (check out her boating blog {linked below} when you finish browsing the pics). Here are a few different crops that narrow in on the detail..
In hind site I should have stayed at this location. Being new to river seen, I thought I could find more unique angles further down stream, on river left where there’s wasn’t a trail (I thought this would lend to finding views of rapids that haven’t been shot before).
Well, I may have found a few new perspectives, but by the time I forded Muddy Creek, and hiked 2 miles down steep pathless terrain, all the boaters had finished the race. The lesson learned from this experience is sometimes when you have somethings good, be satisfied.
After finishing my rigorous walkabout, I met back up with Garret at the take out, where we then went to a local’s house by the river for the awards. There we hung out with friends, drank a little, ate amazing foods, and plotted for the next days adventures.

Thanks making to the end of the post! Please leave a comment if you liked the images, or if you have any photo questions… and considering sharing this with your boater friends.
Editors: This story first appeared in Gabe’s personal blog. There are more photos from the race there. Check it out!
Gabe sited this awesome blog in his article. Laura has travelled all over and has some great reads too!

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