Paddling on the Nanty

Trip Start Aug 19, 2012
Trip End Dec 30, 2013

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Where I stayed
Appletree Group Campground
What I did
Adventurous Fast River Outfitter

Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday was our big paddling day - the Nantahala River.  This is a much more challenging river with mostly Class II rapids and Natahala Falls, a Class III rapid at the end.  Al and a few others had done this the day before instead of Tuckaseegee and he had fallen out a few times.  The water is extremely cold because it flows from the bottom of Nantahala Lake when the dam is open and never gets above 50F.  When everybody was ready, we headed out to Adventurous Fast River Outfitters, a few miles upstream of the NOC.  Since the river is so cold, in addition to a PFD and funyak, we also rented a wetsuit, splash jacket, and booties to stay as warm as possible.  Besides the very cold water, the skies were overcast and cloudy and it looked like was going to rain.  So the extra gear was a good investment.  After a quick overview, we headed out to the Nantahala River launch site near the power plant.  After getting in the water, we almost immediately got to the first rapid - Patton's Run.  Besides splashing some very cold water in the boat, though, we all managed to stay pretty dry for this one.  The river was fairly calm for a bit, although it started to rain.  But the rain was actually warmer than the river water.  We paddled past a few islands in the river and made a brief stop at the put-in at Ferebee Memorial Park.  Linda was having trouble and decided to call it quits.  We called the outfitter and they picked her up at Ferebee while the rest of us continued on.  Right past Ferebee Park were several more Class II rapids - Delebar's Rock, The Quarry, and The Whirlpool, then a little stretch of calmer water.  So far, everyone was doing well.  We also stopped next to a big rock on the side of the river and Al and Mel climbed up on the rock and jumped into the water.  Well, Mel needed a little push for encouragement to "jump" in.  But either way, I was quite content to stay in the funyak and stay as dry and warm as possible.  After passing The Ledges and Surfing Rapid, we stopped briefly back at the outfitters.  This gave them the opportunity to discuss the final leg of our trip and also let them know that we would be finished soon so they could pick us up by the NOC.  There were two big rapids along the final stretch of our journey.  The Bump, which is well advertised with a highway "Bump" sign hanging from a tree over the rapid, and finally Nantahala Falls.  The sun had finally come out, but the water was still freezing.  But we got back in the water and continued on.  After The Bump, we stopped briefly at a takeout before Nantahala Falls.  Charles had fallen out on this one and bumped his head; hard enough to be bleeding from his eyebrow.  There were EMT personnel on hand, who stopped and looked it over and gave him some bandages to put on it.  So, one of our group was out, but the rest continued on to conquer Nantahala Falls.  But it would not be defeated without some victims.  Somehow, I was not one of them.  As I paddled towards the falls, I was sure I was going to flip, but I paddled furiously and flew down the falls.  Although I didn't fall out, I sure did get wet from the splash.  I made my way over to the take-out and watched the carnage of those who had flipped.  Sandy had quite a spill and went nearly down to the bridge before being rescued.  She had spent quite some time and was very cold.  She took off her wet suit and sat in the sun to try and warm up.  But it wasn't too warm and she was freezing so we decided not to do a second run.  But we would be available to film those who did.  So while the others started a second run down Nanty, we hung out at the NOC and waited.  Al texted me when they arrived at the Outfitters and we headed over to Nantahala Falls with the cameras.  We got photos and videos of everyone paddling the falls, but no one fell out!  That was kind of a disappointment; maybe not for them, but certainly for us filming.  When everyone was ready we headed back to the campsite, for one last night of campfires, drinking, and fun.  But not before stopping again along Old River Road to check out a very nice cascade along the river that we had missed the day before.
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