Monday, March 23, 2009

Little River Canyon Self-Supported Trip

Last week it actually rained in the South East when I was here and had time off. I was beginning to believe that I would never paddle any natural flow here again, but alas it happened.

I started off the rain event paddling with a group of friends on the North Fork of the French Broad and followed that up the next day with a nice padded out 9.5" run of the Green. I had forgotten just how much fun the Green is with a little extra water in it and couldn't help but smile the entire day.

After getting off the Narrows, Gareth and I started contemplating how to spend the next day. With some more rain on the horizon, we were apprehensive to leave Asheville, but inevitably decided to go with the sure thing and drive over to Alabama to hit up the Little River Canyon, which was guaranteed to have water for us.

We spent all evening making the 4.5 hour drive into Fort Payne, AL and set up camp at the put-in. Bottle of wine in hand, we sat out by the water and with our head lamps shining on the river, discussed the line down the first rapid of the run- a 35 foot, two tiered waterfall.

The next morning started off with a little frustration considering it took us about two hours to get Gareth's bulkhead in the stern of his boat, but eventually we got it in there and started to set our shuttle for the day. After stashing our boats and gear, we drove down to the take-out and started the 10 mile road bike ride back to the put-in.

Checking out the canyon from above

Taking a break from the biking to catch a view of the waterfall

Gareth riding up the road towards the put-in

Almost to the put-in... One last view of the drop....

After arriving back to the put-in, we switched gears, stored our biked and prepared to start the kayaking portion of our day. It was quite a commotion as all the tourists started to realize that we were actually about to run the 35 foot waterfall. After taking some pictures and signing a few autographs, I took one last look at the drop before hoping in my boat and going for it.

Video of me running the Little River Falls

Thats me in the middle of the first and second drop of the falls

Gareth's line at the Falls

We both had great lines at the falls and were fired up to get started on the rest of the run. It turned out to be a beautiful day with great weather and good lines.

Gareth in the S-turn rapid

Gareth boofing a random drop

Gareth in another rapid I don't know the name of (Humpty Dumpty maybe?)

The new dry suit in action

After a short, but steep hike out of the gorge, we stopped off at a sweet taco stand before hitting the road and heading back to Asheville.

Everglades National Park Sea Kayaking

A few weeks ago I decided to get out of the North Carolina winter and head South to where its warm. Unfortunately,I couldn't make it all the way down to Ecuador, so I had to settle for some beautiful days of sea kayaking in Everglades National Park.

The trip turned out better than I could have imagined. We spent the week paddling anywhere from five to fifteen miles a day and made sure to always squeeze in time for relaxing and fishing. The evenings were spent on the beach watching the sunset and drinking wine. Doesn't get much better than that....

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