The French Broad River flows from the airport North into Asheville past a complete mix of scenery. You paddle through urban sprawl, industrial landscapes, farmland, and a large chunk of the Biltmore Estate. Even the downright ugly was interesting to paddle through because as paddlers we just don't paddle through that type of environment often, but the section through the Biltmore estate was beautiful. The Biltmore house itself has 175,000 square feet of space and 250 rooms. It the closest thing we have in the U.S. to a castle. The estate today consists of 8,000 acres surrounding the house and along the river, and paddling gives a great way to see it.
But remember that part about the sinking dread? At times the head wind pushed back so strongly that we both considered the possible escapes from the mission. (Knocking a couple riders off their horses we saw along the river, climbing up a bridge and sticking out a thumb…) Woody and I would plant the paddle deep in the water to hold our ground against the wind. If we didn't, the wind pushed us upstream. As we started to see more signs of getting close to town our energy rebounded (or maybe it was that half a candy bar). Our legs ached from the hours of standing. Our arms and hands were tired from the constant pull. Three days out I can still feel the tension in my forearms from the long leverage of the stand up paddle. As Woody put it, "this is the type of mission that you are psyched for when it’s done".
Looking back on it we can say we enjoyed the trip. I may even do it again. And as you can see Woody is psyched that its done.
Click Here for the link to all the photos from the day.