Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tennessee, Whitewater Rafting


Map picture









You must be from Ducktown? Why is that? Because you are the only Ten I See! I am not sure that line works anymore so use it royalty free but with lots of discretion.

What I am still sure of though is that Ducktown is a good launching spot for whitewater rafting. Just an hour and a half easy drive north of Atlanta, the Ducktown area can be a nice weekend escape.

With hiking, tons of dirt trail and river sports available this area located in the southern Appalachian Mountains is a hidden gem.


SAM_0384 If you are driving from Atlanta take a slight detour and ride a pig before having lunch at Blue Ridge Mountain Bar-B-Q.

Hickory-Smoked Pork,Chicken,Beef And Ribs With All The Fixins.

3870E 1st Street Blue Ridge, Georgia.





800px-Ducktown-mainstreet After lunch it's about a 30 minutes scenic drive through two lane country roads before you arrive at Ducktown Historic District. Hang around and along with others you might get the temporary population up to around 500.




Just beyond Ducktown you will find one of the many businesses offering Ocoee River and other area activities.


SAM_0386 At Ocoee River rafting, a nice facility with clean restrooms and changing areas. It is a short time before we are geared up with helmets, paddles and life jackets then given a safety briefing.






Like soldiers on a mission we are boarded on a bus loaded with bright blue rafts and set out for our launch point.

The bus struggles up the hills but relaxes on the decline as my weight helps it's momentum. Reaching our launch spot a light hearted and entertaining briefing is given about the tremendous skills required to navigate the treacherous and roaring rapids. Since I have done this before, I am sure my expertise in exiting the raft will once again be on display.

Our river entry begins just beyond a Class 6 rapid with a $15,000 fine if you get caught riding it. We all decline.


OcoeeRaftingPic2 Sitting in front it is not to long before I am attempting to synchronize the team effort in navigating our first rapid …. Uno, dos, tres … I wonder do they understand my fluent mastery of the Spanish language.





Our guide, Brad is excellent as he navigates the river and tells us stories about the area. Weeks before our trip rains created huge mountain slide and we still can witness much of the destruction left behind.

At YouTube you can see one of the actual slides as it happened:


Since I am an expert, I soon find myself tasting the cold Ocoee River. Passing through a Class 4, Uno, dos, tres does not work and I take the plunge. Finding myself under the raft, a familiar place for me, I discard my momentary panic and swim to the surface. Making my way to the side of the river, I am soon rescued after an exciting rush.

Between rapids the river provides an area for floating or swimming and this time a few us take a voluntary plunge. This time I play lifeguard to a non swimmer with a maladjusted life vest and help him return to the raft.

Thug and tight with a life vest, it will keep your head above water and with your stomach sucked in you will look like a super hero. Remember, it is not how you feel. It is how you look and you look, marvelous darling, simply marvelous!


IMG_8750 Okay, who wants to ride The Bull?






With a rope attached to the front of the raft, two for now let's say lucky rafters will get to ride The Bull as we navigate through two different Class 5 rapids. The first rider does a great job and I now believe is a PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association) member.

Well folks, hang on to your hats, our next bull is a mean one and I think our next rider ain't gonna be so lucky.

Two seconds into the next Class 5 and this bull is bucking like I would be if someone tied my family jewels into a knot. Our bull rider does not stand much of a chance. My son and I are playing rodeo clowns trying to rescue her from overboard while we are being doused with what seems like multiple fire houses at an oil rig fire. Hanging on to her life jacket for what seemed like an eternity we finally get the energy and luck to pull her back on board.

Taking a breath I am fazed as I look to the rear of the raft and Brad our guide is gone. A few blinks and I realize all the other rafters are here but we have a new guide. Is this a bad joke?


Guide Apparently while we were rescuing the bull rider another guide jumped on board to help with our dilemma and then for kicks traded rafts with Brad. Whew, for a moment I thought I had gone to The Big River in the sky.





More rapids maneuvered with swimming opportunities then our two and a half hour adventure comes to an end too quickly.

So much fun, it now seems like only an 8 second ride. Shucks, Darn it! Ya'll come back, you hear?


Ocoee Yes, Ocoee, we will!




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