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White water rafting

Rafting down the Nolichucky River.   June 30th

It was to be one of the highlights of our travels with Aidan, turning 11 this year we knew he could find more and varied stimulus with others rather than with us.

 A super white water rafting excursion was to be one of the options. After a little research and inquiring we settled on Wahoo Adventures to supply the rafts the guides and the experience!  It was assured we needed to look no further to satisfy this option.

 Aidan being an experienced swimmer, surfer and wake boarder the guide suggested and allowed us to raft the Nolichucky River Gorge. Running fast with the spring rains coming down the Black Mountain Range of North Carolina- the river was a great blend of Class 2-3-4 rapids and the steepest drop of any East Coast river.

 The weather was perfect and the guide was great! Within 10 minutes of arriving to the gathering spot we were in the van headed from Erwin, Tenn. the rivers entry point deep inside the Pisgah National Forrest of NC.

 I was amazed at the rugged and desolate area only miles from town. This 9-½ mile section of the Nolichucky can only be accessed via raft or canoe.  The only disturbance is an occasional coal train that runs along the river bottom. There are only 5-licensed companies on the entire river and only 300 people per day are allowed. Our group had seven.

 The rafting pace as expected started slow but quickly picked up to a ferocious speed. 50% of the class 3-4 rapids are within the first two miles.

 It wasn’t until we stopped for lunch did I get to meet the other rafting team. From casual conversation I picked up they were from Ohio.  After wolfing down a quick sandwich I said hello to Brian the most approachable of the group. He immediately showed me a photo of us challenging the rapids. At the advice of our guide I did not bring my cell phone with the camera feature. I have been promised copies – as I say we’ll see if they show up.

 Regardless Brian and Zack friends from Cincinnati along with a couple others were hiking 30 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Zack and Brian have been spending a week each summer hiking 25-30 miles per year. Zack a High School teacher and coach’s goal upon retirement is to hike the entire 2500 miles from Maine to Georgia. I think he will do it.

 Brian is an independent window installer and like many 55 year olds feels retirement may be just a dream for him. I hope not and hope he can continue his journey on a year-by-year basis.

 The experience of rafting was wonderful Wiik our guide took us “surfing “. It’s when you paddle up stream up to the base of a class 4 rapid – the water acts as a whirlpool and holds the raft suspended with the oncoming rushing water swamping the raft. It appears the raft is surfing at a 100 miles per hour but really standing still!  Nothing to do but sit back and enjoy with your heart pounding in your chest.  Maybe life is that simple get out of the way, sit back and enjoy the ride.

 Our favorite part was jumping over board and swimming in the river.  The few seconds of anticipation met by the 60-degree water with no bottom left us all feeling humbled and exhilarated.  

 It was what we wanted! A trip for us all to remember.    Here is a you tube video about the various adventures Wahoo offers. More travel moments to come as I spend all summer traveling the globe.

 Ron Laker

 Here is a youtube video showing some of Wahoo’s adventures.









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