After a scrumptious dinner of fajitas and a lovely evening by the fire we cozied into our little tent and slept soundly by the Tellico River. This morning we dragged ourselves out of bed (no small feat, we were quite comfortable and Dave kept requesting that we set back the alarm another half hour) made breakfast and departed to run a few sections of the Tellico once more because we had such a blast yesterday. We put in above Baby Falls where Dave, Jane and Noah, hucked themselves over the edge once more and then continued down stream to run a waterfall of a tributary that runs into the Tellico- Bald River. Running the falls involved pulling our boats up the rock face next to the waterfall with a rope and then lowering them and ourselves (separately) to the pool from which we dropped the ~18’(?) falls. After watching Dave and Noah successfully drop in Jane decided to give it a shot it was sweet. Following this excitement we loaded up the boats and enjoyed a lovely riverside lunch before driving into the (surprisingly snowy) mountains and across the North Carolina border. Once down into NC we stopped at NOC- the Nantahala Outdoor Center- former employer of many a Bowdoin Outing Club paddling legends including Mike Woodruff himself. In front of the NOC compound the Nantahala River has been sculpted by human placed rocks and there is a sweet play wave and a slalom course made by hanging pvc pipes as gates from ropes strung over the river. While checking out the scene we ran into a Bowdoin alum Hannah Harwood ’08 who had stopped at NOC for the night on her way through hiking the Appalachian trail and recognized Jane and Sarah. We got in our boats quickly to try to catch the tail end of the play wave, but unfortunately the river was quickly going down (it is dam released and the release had stopped- the only dam released river we’ve been on). But we got to dunk our head in the crystal clear water for a brief refreshment AND Sarah got her roll back! Wooo hoooo! As much as we wanted to surf the wave in the morning and get some river info from the NOC folks we decided that we should continue our journey because we would have to wait for the wave to come up in the morning anyway and we want to start paddling first thing tomorrow! We tried to drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway which goes through Great Smokey National Park via the Cherokee Indian Reservation and in doing so passed through some rather surreal, commercialized park entrance towns with strange gem digging, moccasin, t-shirt and pottery selling, stores and Santa Claus zoo theme parks and scatted with misplaced Holiday Inns. Sadly the section of the Blue Ridge Parkway that went through the actual park, was closed so we took the less scenic route. We also drove along a river on the banks of which were piles and piles of old (quite old) dumped cars with kudzu vines creeping all over them – it was kinda erie. We are now in our campsite for the night on the shores of the Nolichucky River back in Tennessee (just over the northern NC border) we drove in to the Nolichucky Gorge Campgrounds just before 10 down a long dark road under the train tracks with the soundtrack from Deliverance playing in our heads. But are now settled into camp ready to run the river in the morning! It should be a fun little run which we will probably playboat. Woo hoo!
And it has come to our attention that certain paddling terminology is a little foreign to some of our readers so here is a small guide.
Paddling Terms of Importance
Roll- To right yourself while staying in your boat after you have flipped over. Useful generally to avoid swimming over waterfalls.
Play Wave – a wave on which you can surf your kayak and do crazy tricks (generally paddled with a playboat)
Play boat – A smaller, lower volume (apx. 30 – 75 gallons) boat used for surfing and doing tricks. (Or if your badass like Dave and Noah paddling huge creeks like the Tellico).
Creek Boat – larger volume (apx. 60 – 80 gallons) boat used on more technical rivers where you are more likely to run into rocks or go off of drops and need to punch through holes.
Hole - A water feature formed by recalculating water behind a rock or drop over which it is flowing. You can get stuck in them sometimes.
Gnarly – generally bad ass –whether good or bad – depends on context.
Carnage – The result after flipping over, missing your roll and swimming.
Huck – To throw ones self off or down something such as a waterfall.
Boof- Forward thrusting/paddle motion made at the top of a drop in order to land flat (the latest skill Jane and Sarah are looking to master).
Pencil – like a pencil dive but in a kayak. Duh.
Free wheel – end over end cartwheel off a waterfall (in your boat not swimming- hopefully)
Melon- your head. Or ours.
Strainer – water goes through it but you don’t. A usually unfriendly river feature composed normally of wood and other river debris that gets stuck, and you don’t want to get stuck with it – this can result in bad news bears.
Fish sippy cups – self explanatory. Generally baller.
C1 – a one person kayak in which someone kneels/ sits on their knees and paddles with a one bladed paddle. Generally bad ass – Sarah always asks them for their number.