Monday, February 28, 2005

14 Foot Boat on Section IV of the Chattooga

The rain flow had mellowed out on the creek runs and the Green wasn't running so Saturday Woody, Nate, Yonton and I loaded up the mini van and headed for the Chattooga. Maria Noakes met us from NOC and we ran into all kinds of people taking advantage of one of the most beautiful runs in the Southeast. The Chattooga was running a nice medium level of 1.7 which is really a great level for all the rapids. There is plenty of padding on the rocks, and enough water to make it an enjoyable amount of time to spend on the water.
Here is a video of my day on the Chattooga. Shot by Nate and Yonton. Thanks to them for putting up with my long boat playday.
Click Here

The Chattooga is pretty much where I learned to paddle. My brother and I came down here when we were in our early teens with a camp group from Highlands, North Carolina called The Mountain and tackled Section II of the river in our Quests, Mirages, and Grumman and Blue Hole canoes for a few years, and then we started guiding and doing our own trips down the river. I pretty much call the Chattooga my home river because that is where I learned and pushed myself for years. Overflow and the other tributaries of the Chattooga are also places where I did a lot of my first creeking. So whenever I go there it does feel like going home. Its a pretty cool feeling when you know the river that well.

One of the things I like to do when I know a river really well is try to change it up. So this time I loaded up a 14 foot LL touring boat and decided that I would give it a go. There were a couple reasons for it. One I knew I could do it and it would be a fun challenge, and the other reason was that it would make the two mile lake paddle very sweet indeed. So we loaded up some cold beverages and plenty of snacks in my storage hatches and off we went.

Seven Foot is the first main rapid and its one of the hardest lines to nail well in a long boat or a raft because the eddies and current just above the drop really want to mess with your angle and that is what its all about with big boats is angle control.

Ravens Chute was not too bad and we made Yonton go through pothole even though the water was freezing because he hadn't ever done it before. He was a stud and did it anyway.

Then you get to the 5 falls and we also ran into the mobs there were probably 30 paddlers in the 5 falls together. Which is sweet because you get to watch alot of people run the rapids and everyone hangs out at the bottom and chats and shares snacks and all.

Entrance was pretty mellow. Corkscrew can be pretty weird, at 1.7 the hole is a little more pronounced so you have a good chance of getting shoved against the wall or maybe surfing the hole. Its not too bad but still fun to try to nail the line.
Crack has really changed in the last few years. It was really nice at this level. All you had to worry about was keeping the paddle in. Jawbone is probably the hardest rapid to smooth especially in a long boat. The curler coming out of the parking lot eddie really wants to slap you into the rocks on river left. Which is pretty much what happened to me but it came out okay. I just kept her moving along the rocks and slipped into the eddie above Sock'em dog which is perfect at this level. At 1.7 the launching pad at Sock'em dog is as pronounced as it gets and it makes for a great 6 or 7 foot launch over a pretty good hole at the bottom. If you miss it you go deep, or you get trashed but the flight is good enough to go back and do it again and again.

Everyone was hanging out at the Dog watching the lines and having a good time. There were some good lines and some not so good lines but thats kind of how it goes.
Just thought I would share my Chattooga day.
P.S. We had sunny skies and 60 degrees and then 24 hours later we had this:

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