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April 11, 2005

The Southeast USA in Spring
time is the place to be! Warm weather, flowing creeks and rivers, and
some of the best whitewater anywhere are just a few reasons. On this excursion,
we left on Friday from Rock Island at about noon and got to North Chic
at 1pm. The North Chic is a classic run and a Chattanooga boater’s
favorite. The most common put-in is about three miles up Cane Creek. Cane
was running at about 150 cfs and crystal clear as usual. Emily, Dane,
Clay, Chris Emerick, Nick Troutman and Jase Bouldin (one of our master
assemblers at Jackson Kayak) and I were made up our strong group. Chris
filmed lots of great stuff, including how to deal with strainers, great
drops like Vortex and Drain Pipe, and some of the small creek stuff on
Cane. My favorite part was watching the kids paddle and seeing just how
good they are getting. Dane and Emily hit every line, nailed every boof,
and ran the river with confidence. Dane had an interesting kick flip type
of move at the “Vortex” part of that rapid, but was upside
down less than a second. We took out at the bridge below the normal take
out with Kristine waiting for us at about 7pm. Dinner was at a good ole
boy Southern Bar/restaurant. The restaurant is closed to minors at 9:30
pm and we finished dinner just in time. I am not sure just what happens
at 9:30 but the kids didn’t get to find out.

We hit the highway down to Atlanta and back up to the
Tallulah River on 23, arriving at about 1am and all 7 of us, plus two
dogs slept in the RV. Dane slept on the dashboard. It was a great thing
waking up knowing that today, we’ll run the Tallulah. This would
be Emily’s first trip down. She decided to take the Hero, I was
in the Super Hero, Clay and Chris in the Rocker’s and Nick in the
Fun, and Dane in his creekboat, the Fun 1.5. This river is known for its
big steep slide that is in the first ½ mile called “oceana”.
What a great rapid. A steep slide that will always get the adrenaline
flowing as you put your skirt on an anticipation of a tall, steep, slide,
into the exploding water that shoots out from the “thing”,
only to drop another 10 feet into a speed trap of a hole below. I have
heard this rapid called a “Crap Shoot” more than once. If
you know what you are doing, it is no crap shoot. The danger in this one
is hitting the shelf 2/3rd of the way down. In order to hit the shelf
you must either; a. start too far right, b. have right hand momentum,
or c. angle right. If you can’t start far enough left, with left
momentum, while angling left, don’t run it. Unfortunately I watch
boater after boater going down the rapid without leaving much margin for
error. They start 1 or 2 feet further right than necessary, then they
point straight downstream and they actually impact the thing slightly
with their boats. That is a crap shoot because eventually somebody is
going to go from straight to pointing right.

Back to the rivers:

Today we hit the Chattooga, Section 4. What a beautiful
river! However, it presents a very dangerous package in a class 3, 4 setting.
I would feel WAY more comfortable with my kids running the Tallulah 10
times over the Chattooga once. I would send my kids to the Tallulah with
an experienced friend, but they can’t run the Chattooga without
my presence. Just FYI. We hiked up a little side creek and ran a couple
of drops on the way down too, very cool. Well, I can say that we are ready
to edit the video. We have all of the audio, and all of the video we need
for both videos, Advanced and Basics. We will fill any holes in it at
Rock Island or at the Ocoee this week. We hit 7 rivers in 8 days, all
Southeast USA. The first one was snowing, the rest was 70+ degrees, cool

EJ 🙂



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