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2020 has been a strange year. As was the case for so many, the majority of our fun whitewater travels were cancelled. Once our plans were officially shattered, we were left to pick up the pieces. Everyone has had different comfort levels this spring and summer with how to best stay sane and safe at the same time. Local summer dam releases have been my husband and my way to stay sane.

The Cheoah River is one of my favorite local dam releases. Located in North Carolina but close to the Tennessee border, this river is less than 1 1/2 hour drive from my home in Knoxville. It’s also a fairly short run, which makes it easy for my husband and I to take turns kayaking while having the other person drive our shuttle and play with our 1 year old daughter.

This river is a fun, continuous class IV. For me, it’s the perfect place for my Antix. It’s stable enough for the harder rapids and to still hit the challenging lines and big boofs. But it’s also fun enough to stern squirt in the eddies and surf my way down the river.

I hope everyone else has been staying safe in this strange year but still able to kayak by taking advantage of local rivers. ~Diane Brasuell (Gaydos)