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The Southeast! Update

By Cassie Hayden

Wow! We have had a couple of tiring days down here in North
Carolina. Fergus and I arrived here on Tuesday after the Whitewater
Symposium, which was fantastic. The ASCI course is amazing and it was
great to meet some of the most pivotal personalities in whitewater. I
learned quite a bit and am excited for the future of our industry.
All that aside, it’s great to finally be in Asheville.

Luckily for us the southeast’s drought seems to have broken the day
we arrived. This enabled us to get on the Horsepasture Creek on
Wednesday. It was epic with a bunch of ten footers to slides and slides
to ten footers. It’s listed as a solid V on the AW website and I think
they must have included the hike out. It was a tough 3+ miles through
the woods, gaining 1500 feet back up the ridge.

Apparently Fergus and I thought we were in much better shape than we
were. When we, stopped half way up, managed to waste 20 minutes and
tried to rig up a backpack system for the boats (unsuccessfully), we
realized we were not.

Today (Thursday), we went to the Linnville gorge. Another southeast
classic, and another epic hike in/hike out. We were pumped! After
hiking down a mile and half to the put-in we finally caught a glimpse
of the river. Our friend and local guide Ben voiced what was on all of
our minds, “hmm, looks a little high.” And after deliberating for
twenty minutes on what to do we decided it wasn’t worth it today,
stashed the boats and decided to hike out and check it out in the
morning. Our concerns were validated when another 15 or so of some well
known local paddlers (think cast of every LVM) poured out of the woods,
took a look at the first drop and displayed similar expressions of
disbelief. Apparently we all got skunked.

The day was salvaged though. We still had our playboats on the roof
racks. We drove to the Watauga, a class 4+ run nearby and running at a
good level. And, it was a road side put in/take out! It was a super fun
river and we managed our way down without much fuss. Just happy to be
paddling.

So now were dead tired and waking up early to go back to Linnville…
Until tomorrow!

Mike

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