Hot Springs

Posted by Spalding Hurst

September 8, 2010

John Mathews moved to Hawaii a long time ago it seems now. He doesn’t get to see much whitewater there, except the break of the Pacific Ocean waves. We really feel sorry for him … we really do. So much that a bunch of new school Bardstown Boaters and old school Nelson Co. Whitewater Association (NCWA) members got together with John and his goggles for some runs on the French Broad and Pigeon Rivers.
We camped at Hot Springs in North Carolina, a town at the intersection of the French Broad River and the Appalachian Trail. On Friday we kayaked, canoed and rafted our way down the low-water French Broad at ~700cfs. It was a tight run for even the kayak, so I’m not real sure how the raft made it down. Darkness came in quick as we neared the takeout at Stackhouse — then the rain came in even quicker as we picked up vehicles and got the gear back to camp. Oh, Ryan swam this one. I think he was trying to open a beer and slipped out.
On Saturday the old-timers ran the French Broad with just a little less water and in their open canoes. Buck, Johnny and David E. aced it in the chase-boating category. David set his canoe in motion down river, minus himself, while the others chased it and he enjoyed a leisurely swim. All in true NCWA fashion.
On the other side of the mountains the rest of group ran the last release of the year on the “Dirty Bird,” the Pigeon River. We had some rafts, a Duckie and a Shredder. Everyone enjoyed the run and we had a lot of fun even with the barrage of commercial rafting traffic.
We were especially grateful for Sarah’s awesome photographs from the bank. She only missed one great photo opportunity of my wife Jennifer and myself showing everyone how it is done at “Lost Guide.” I really wish you could have seen it, it was amazing, but there are no pictures, so it’s hard to describe, so I won’t.
On Sunday John and his goggles wanted even more whitewater action, so he took them to the Ocoee for another rafting trip. I’m sure they had fun there too.
For more pictures of the weekend click here.

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