Thursday, October 23, 2008

Clean it Up

Most of the kayakers in the southeast are frustrated with our current situation. Serious drought conditions are forcing us to find other alternatives to having fun in nature. Some of us have bought expensive mountain bikes, while others desperately watch the weather channel in hopes that it will rain. With the green race just around the corner, nerves are running high among the kayak community. A base flow of six inches on the green makes things interesting around here. Low water descents of gorilla are now a normal part of life. We're all just trying to make down without hurting ourselves. It is a sad time for boaters here in the southeast, but with rain in the immediate forecast, we decided to go visit one of our favorite runs; The Raven Fork river. This river is one of my favorite spots in the entire world. Dropping 760 feet in its' steepest mile, the Raven Fork runs off the backside of the smokey mountain national park. The small river bed is full of some of North Carolina's smoothest granite drops. The rapids on this river are some of the most amazing drops in North Carolina. One after the other, they drop in succession ending in deep green bubbling pools. With the leaves changing, and the possibility of rain, we figured we would pay the mighty Raven Fork a visit.

A tree in the road was our first obstacle in the steep drive up the road. Adam Bixby with the saw, making it happen.

The hike down into the gorge wasn't the easiest. Stinging Nettle, a summertime weed, was persitant at working its way into our skin. The name sounds just like it feels.

Big pools in such a steep canyon are what make this river so unique. Here is a classic example. Below is Big Boy falls, one of the hardest drops in the east. You can tell, even without water flowing over it, that there is not much room for error.

For most of our hike, the river was fairly clean. Looking for wood, we continued down the gorge. At the last drop of the run, one that is rarely scouted we found a log blocking the line. With a trusty hand saw we were able to knock it out of play almost falling into the river.

All in all it was a great hike, and hopefully we stimulated the spirits to give us some rain. Not just for kayaking, but for also the horrible drought that our forests here are facing. We can only hope, that soon this will all be over.