Tino Back in the States
by Cassie Hayden
Hey Everyone! I am back at school and we are on tour throughout the Southeast. In the first week we have run the New, Tallulah, Chattoga, and Green rivers. Wow! It is some of the best creeking I have ever done by a long shot.
We started out on the New River in Fayetteville on the big water waves that it offers. After school each day we snatched our gear off of the clothesline and sprinted for the van. We played at a wave by the name of Upper Railroad, which has a great river right shoulder for doing the wave moves, and a sticky hole to practice entry moves into. We then left for Georgia and on the way we hit up the Chattooga River. The Chattooga is a class four river with some really fun little rapids on it. The only downfall to this run is the paddle out which is incredibly long. The Chattooga was a perfect warmup for our next river, the Tallulah.
We camped overnight in a state forest campground and woke up to snow on our gear which slowed our waking up process considerably. Finally one small group of paddlers got their stuff together and made their way to the put in. I have heard tales of this run but I actually heard more from the students at the New River Academy about the hike in. I was preparing myself for something like a three mile hike but when we got there it was about a quarter of a mile hike down about five hundred stairs to the put in. When we got down in there I was in awe. The waterfalls at the put in (which are unrunnable) are giant. You do a sort of seal launch off the stairs and into the pool above the first rapid. Once everybody was in we headed down. The second rapid in is a super cool auto boof over a hole and you just carry your momentum through this slot in the rocks in front of you that the whole river squeezes through and then you are there. When I say there I mean my favorite rapid ever, Oceana. Everyone paddles up to the horizon line and kinda takes a quick look from boat water level before they get out. All you can see from this level is the horizon line and the rest of the canyon stretching out in front of you.
So we all get out and walk over to the top of the drop. Oceana is an 80 foot long slide which has two lines. The most common line being down the left side. Easy enough to paddle down a slide on the left but the catch is that about two thirds of the way down there is a huge rooster tail that you really don’t want to hit and then a hole at the bottom which isn’t super sticky but will knock the wind out of you if you hit it the wrong way. The other line is called the middle line. You paddle over the middle of the slide and turn yourself sideways. You then hit the pillow sideways and surf it all the way over and under the rooster tale on the left and finish out the rapid like you would if you were running the left line. We stayed at Oceana for a while and with both my days runs on it added up I think I ran it a total of 11 times.
The rest of the run is just super high quality whitewater. It has cool moves you can make and some super fun slides. After the Tallulah Gorge we headed out to where I am right now. Camp Wayfarer is located next to the Green Narrows. The Green Narrows is home to the legendary Green Race that Fergus competes in yearly.
We finally got on it yesterday and it is just an incredible run with perfect practice rapids and a few full on rapids. I saw the coolest way to run a rapid I think I have ever seen. Chris Gragtmans and Nathan Silsbee stopped for a second at Sunshine, which is where the river pours over a 7 foot tall horizon line onto a nasty rock so you have to drive either left or right to narrowly miss landing on this rock. Chris and Nathan lined up on both sides and Nathan ran right and as the stern of Nathan’s boat passes Chris’s, Chris took two strokes and ran the left line. Now I am just doing school for a few days and we head to the Nantahala Outdoor Center for their Spring Splash festival. After that I am back to the New River for some more playboating.
Paddle Hard, Tino