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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

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