April 24, 2017
With natural flow spilling over the dam, Stephen and I hucked our boats
upstream from the hydrostation. My favorite rapid had new wood in it, but
I was able to run the one upstream from it for the first time. I had
not been in my Jackson Fun in awhile and should have known better than to paddle
into a new rapid without any kind of warm up. I flipped early, then had to
ride through the entire rapid upside down. I paid the price with skin off
my right hand. Not wanting to let it whip me, I hucked back up and ran it
again. The rapid is pretty manky and I was not able to hit the line I
wanted due to rocks, but I found my way to the bottom, riding a deep brace the
whole way. From there Stephen and I boogied through the rest of the upper
run, which was a blast. We ran to Albert's and found the 3 ft level just
as good as I remembered. Fun waves and holes with continuous boogie water.
I made the run on what amounted to an extended lunch break, so I had to throw
the boat back on the truck and zip back to the office. Great way to spend
a Monday lunch break.
April 15, 2017
After much debate, we decided to stay for a third day on the Tellico, rather than drive to the Nolichucky. As a bonus, our friends Kevin and Pete both drove up overnight and met us at the upper put-in at 10am. The weather was warm and the upper was again a blast. Our crew was Kevin, Pete, John, James, GK, Bill, Joe and myself. Baby falls brought a little excitement as GK went over backwards and Joe hit some sort of airscrew. My line went great, so I went back up with Pete to run it again. The last trip over, the 3rd of the weekend, might have been one of my best yet as the Jitsu landed with a nice crushing boof. Jared's Knee had all sorts of problems as lines were drying up as the level dropped. GK and I both parked our boats on a dry rock at the bottom drop. We dropped Bill and GK at the middle put-in as they were waiting for the rest of that crew. Then John, Joe and I took off at Turkey Creek while the rest continued on. And I believe that Pete later came back up to run Bald River Falls. We were off the river and on the road in time to be home by 6pm. It was a great weekend spent in the company of friends on a favorite river.
April 14, 2017
I woke Saturday to find John grilling eggs and sausage. The four of us left to make some pit stops with plans to meet at the middle put-in at 10am to set shuttle for the upper. I had to blast into town to fill up with gas because I was running on fumes. We made it back to the put-in and Ed was nice enough to drive my truck back down to the bottom takeout. The upper section was awesome. The crew consisted of myself, Joe, John, James, Bill and GK. As we approached the 2nd ledge I spotted two bald eagles soaring overhead. The sky was blue, the water clear and I loved every minute of it. I was a little worried about paddling my Jitsu on the ledges, but it handled great. Baby falls went well, everyone had good lines. At Jared's Knee Bill's paddle broke just before the double boof section. We took that opportunity to map out the rest of the rapid. After putting back in, John and I met on far river right and were waiting for Joe. Joe was focused on reading the rapid though and did not see where we were parked. Just before hitting the bottom rapids, he spun into a mid-stream eddy. I took off since I had a good vision of the line, made the drops then turned around to see Joe doing the same. At the middle we met up with the rest of the crew, which included Bev, Rian C, J King, Bill and James. The level was a little lower on day two, but the day was still enjoyable. The weather took a turn though, with rain falling at the end of the run. We put on dry clothes and all headed into town for dinner at the TelliCafe. I had stuffed trout and the Xanga dessert, which was cheesecake, wrapped in a pastry, deep fried and served with ice cream. Pretty yummy. Afterwards I walked around outside while catching up with news from back home. The sun was back out, so Joe and I stopped to hike up Bald River, which was fantastic. Then back at camp we sat around the campfire telling tales and playing guitar till bedtime. Because of my issues with the air mattress, I slept under the full moon in my hammock, which was awesome.
April 13, 2017
Joe and I met in Hickory at noon and made it to the Tellico by 4pm. We spotted John H, John K, a third John from PA, Bill H, James, GK, Donna, Greg and Ed on the river. We hustled upstream to the middle putin and shoved off. We caught up to the rest of the gang about halfway through the run. The sun was out and both the air and the water were warm. Near the end of the run I made a far right boof into a hole and was back flipped. I swam after banging around for awhile upside down and was shocked to find that I wasn't cold at all, as I was wearing shorts. I got redemption on day two when I purposefully took the same line, flipped again, but made my roll. Joe and I followed John and James to our campsite at North River, which was 6 miles off the main road and nestled perfectly beside the creek. I cracked out the things I had brought from our Mexican bakery, while Joe warmed up the sweet potato and bean chili that he had brought. The chili was awesome. I discovered that my air mattress went flat every two hours, so it wasn't the best night's sleep, but it was great to be camping in the woods.
April 1, 2017
SF Holston gauge = 1600cfs (.6 on the bridge gauge)
We met at 10:00am at the take-out. With just three of us in the group, we flew down the river. I had my best line yet at the Slot. I ran the drop above it clean, which had me paddling with confidence on my approach to the Slot. After all the bad lines I've taken there, I was due a good one. For the first time ever, I ran Big Rock on the fly without getting out to scout it. That drop was smooth as well. I did have one roll in a jumble section when I broached on a rock. Vince and Kevin paddled great as usual and it was a pretty uneventful, but super fun day. I was back home by 5pm.
My name is Delane Heath and you can contact me here.
Smith River Valley Canoe Club