Trip Report- First time down the Nolichucky

Trip Report- First time down the Nolichucky

Post by TB » Sat, 30 Mar 2002 13:24:11


I've wanted to paddle the Nolichucky since I crossed it while hiking on the
Appalachian Trail nine*** years ago. At that time I owned an aluminum canoe
with a keel, so I knew then that it wouln't be any time soon.

I finally got my chance today. I had a time getting there as the road I was
taking was closed. It was blocked by steel beams that they were getting
ready to put in place for a new bridge over the North Toe River. The  detour
probably saved me time driving, but I spent a lot of time pulled over trying
to read my map. It's pretty rural out there. A cluster f four or five houses
can put a name on the map.

I met my two buddies about 10:30am at the put-in at Poplar. They drove up
from Asheville and left a truck at the campground near Erwin, TN. I geuss I
should say for the sake of those not of the area that the Nolichucky begins
as the confluence of the Toe and Cane Rivers in far northwestern NC and
flows through a gorge into Tennessee. We were the first ones in the parking
lot, but just after we put on a big group arrived. They looked like they
might have been a class or something. The only people we saw the next ten
miles were railroad engineers, one fisherman, and a group of five
backpackers on the railroad track near the end. I had my 15' Legend, Sam his
Impulse (open boats), and Ben was in his Centrifuge. I don't mean for this
to be a Dagger ad.

It was a sunny day with temps maybe in the low 60's. Sam forgot his pump and
had to make a bailer. I think the reason I'm mentioning such an
insignificant fact is because I'm not going to be able to give a lot of
details about our run. The first time I go down a river it's hard to
remember which rapid was which and what happened where. I do remember the
action starts right away. The first hour is almost solid class III and IV
rapids. I had a lot of ugly moments early on, but as I got warmed up I was
ok. It was big water. I did some pumping and had to dump my boat a couple of
times. It reminded me a lot of the French Broad but the rapids are a lot
more technical. We didn't play a whole lot and it's good thing; we were all
worn out at the take out (we're old men in our mid 40's).

The scenery through the gorge is really nice. Leaves haven't come out yet so
all the rock formations are visible. One section was full of overhangs and
what looked like caves. I always think those locales look like a good place
for Eric Rudolph (the Olympic and *** clinic bomber) to hide. As an
aside, I understand that they are still looking for him and maintain a task
force in Robbinsville of law enforcement agency personnell from all over
that they rotate in and out. A friend of mine met a guy on the Nanty once
who worked for the Georgia Dept. of Corrections. He was on temporary
assignment to the task force. He said it was a very popular assignment for
boaters. Nothing like a paid vacation - whoops- I mean an assignment in
western NC for a boater.

Anyway ... it was Sam's third trip down the river. Ben has been so many
times that he lost count years ago. Towards the end, the wind really picked
up. Of course it was against us. Sometimes it would hold me still in pretty
fast current. None of us capsized, but there was one swimming incident. We
had pulled to shore to take a break. It was a high sandbar, and as a canoe
was pulled up, a paddle fell out. It started drifting downstream. The unamed
person went running after it in shallow water. He fell flat on his face was
almost completly immersed. As if that wasn't enough, he picked himself up
and went after it again with wreckless abandon. His hand was inches from the
paddle when he fell again and busted his knee and shin on a rock. It's a
really ugly gash. It was very embarassing for the person because he knew
better than to do such a foolish thing. We put back on really quickly and
got the paddle, but my knee is pretty sore.

We got to the campground about 3:30pm. The raft guides were gathering for
the weekend, so the party had started. It was a four and a half hour trip.
When we got back to the put-in about 4:30, a group with a couple of
catarafts were just getting ready to put on. We talked to one of the guys.
He said he was from Pa., but his buddy knew the river pretty well. They had
to have done the last couple of miles by moonlight, but there's plenty of it
tonight.

I can't believe I'm still up. I was nodding off while eating supper a few
hours ago. Just thinking about those rapids is keeping me pumped up.
almost
So I got to paddle the Nolichucky. I can't wait to go back. I think I've got
a new favorite river.

 
 
 

Trip Report- First time down the Nolichucky

Post by Wilk » Sat, 30 Mar 2002 21:06:08

Quote:

> It was a sunny day with temps maybe in the low 60's. Sam forgot his pump and
> had to make a bailer. I think the reason I'm mentioning such an
> insignificant fact is because I'm not going to be able to give a lot of
> details about our run. The first time I go down a river it's hard to
> remember which rapid was which and what happened where.

I tend to mostly remember the rapids where I have to concentrate or
manouvre hard or where something interesting happens really well, but
most of the stuff below class III tends to become a blur in my memory.
I do usually try to find a description of a river afterward, so that I
can check the order of the rapids in my memory with those in the
guidebook.

Quote:
> I do remember the
> action starts right away. The first hour is almost solid class III and IV
> rapids.

Solid class III and IV? How high was it when you ran it?

Quote:
> None of us capsized, but there was one swimming incident. We
> had pulled to shore to take a break. It was a high sandbar, and as a canoe
> was pulled up, a paddle fell out. It started drifting downstream. The unamed
> person went running after it in shallow water. He fell flat on his face was
> almost completly immersed. As if that wasn't enough, he picked himself up
> and went after it again with wreckless abandon. His hand was inches from the
> paddle when he fell again and busted his knee and shin on a rock. It's a
> really ugly gash. It was very embarassing for the person because he knew
> better than to do such a foolish thing. We put back on really quickly and
> got the paddle, but my knee is pretty sore.

I'm sorry to hear he got hurt. However, things like that can happen to
anyone... But some open boaters make it look more interesting than
others: http://wilko.webzone.ru/d-boot1.jpg :-)

Did he manage to at least grab his paddle?

Quote:
> So I got to paddle the Nolichucky. I can't wait to go back. I think I've got
> a new favorite river.

Yeah. I ran it only once, but I thought that it was a fun river too.

--
Wilko van den Bergh                    quibus(a t)chello(d o t)nl
    Eindhoven         The Netherlands            Europe
---Never take a no from someone not empowered to give you a yes---
http://wilko.webzone.ru/

 
 
 

Trip Report- First time down the Nolichucky

Post by TB » Sat, 30 Mar 2002 23:15:53


Quote:

> > It was a sunny day with temps maybe in the low 60's. Sam forgot his pump
and
> > had to make a bailer. I think the reason I'm mentioning such an
> > insignificant fact is because I'm not going to be able to give a lot of
> > details about our run. The first time I go down a river it's hard to
> > remember which rapid was which and what happened where.

> I tend to mostly remember the rapids where I have to concentrate or
> manouvre hard or where something interesting happens really well, but
> most of the stuff below class III tends to become a blur in my memory.
> I do usually try to find a description of a river afterward, so that I
> can check the order of the rapids in my memory with those in the
> guidebook.

I talked to my friend this morning, and some of the details came back to me.
It's easier for me to remember watching my companion's runs through the
rapids than my own. You have to be in such an existential frame of mind
while going through the big ones that there isn't a lot of savoring the
moment. But I geuss when I first started boating it was like that on a class
II. There's nothing like being safely in an eddy at the bottom of a big drop
watching your friends making their run. The feeling seems to increase
exponentially with the size of the drop and the power of the water.

Quote:

> > I do remember the
> > action starts right away. The first hour is almost solid class III and
IV
> > rapids.

> Solid class III and IV? How high was it when you ran it?

The gauge at Embreeville was just above 1400cfs. My friend corrected me this
morning. The first hour is pretty much solid class IV. Some of the books put
some rapids at classV above 1,000cfs, but I don't think that I'm that good
of a boater.

Quote:

> > None of us capsized, but there was one swimming incident. We
> > had pulled to shore to take a break. It was a high sandbar, and as a
canoe
> > was pulled up, a paddle fell out. It started drifting downstream. The
unamed
> > person went running after it in shallow water. He fell flat on his face
was
> > almost completly immersed. As if that wasn't enough, he picked himself
up
> > and went after it again with wreckless abandon. His hand was inches from
the
> > paddle when he fell again and busted his knee and shin on a rock. It's a
> > really ugly gash. It was very embarassing for the person because he knew
> > better than to do such a foolish thing. We put back on really quickly
and
> > got the paddle, but my knee is pretty sore.

> I'm sorry to hear he got hurt. However, things like that can happen to
> anyone... But some open boaters make it look more interesting than
> others: http://wilko.webzone.ru/d-boot1.jpg :-)

> Did he manage to at least grab his paddle?

He is me. I retrieved my paddle. Did the subject of your photo catch his
boat?

Quote:

> > So I got to paddle the Nolichucky. I can't wait to go back. I think I've
got
> > a new favorite river.

> Yeah. I ran it only once, but I thought that it was a fun river too.

You have an open invitation to visit NC and do it again.

--
Ted Bost


 
 
 

Trip Report- First time down the Nolichucky

Post by WETinN » Mon, 01 Apr 2002 01:15:32


Quote:
> > Solid class III and IV? How high was it when you ran it?

> The gauge at Embreeville was just above 1400cfs. My friend corrected me
this
> morning. The first hour is pretty much solid class IV. Some of the books
put
> some rapids at classV above 1,000cfs, but I don't think that I'm that good
> of a boater.

The first few miles of the Noli with rapids: Entrance (or Railroad), On the
Rocks, Jaws, Quarter Mile, and RoosterTail, are all class III, III+ rapids.
When you get above 2500 cfs I think some may edge into class IV difficulty.

The Noli is one of my favorite runs, was on it Friday at 1300 or so....

 
 
 

Trip Report- First time down the Nolichucky

Post by TB » Mon, 01 Apr 2002 07:53:50

Quote:
> The first few miles of the Noli with rapids: Entrance (or Railroad), On
the
> Rocks, Jaws, Quarter Mile, and RoosterTail, are all class III, III+
rapids.
> When you get above 2500 cfs I think some may edge into class IV
difficulty.

> The Noli is one of my favorite runs, was on it Friday at 1300 or so....

I think I need an updated "Carolina Whitewater." I have the '81 edition. It
puts Nantahala Falls as a classIV. I don't think so! I didn't realize how
old my book was. The Noli was the perfect "next step" for me.
TB
 
 
 

Trip Report- First time down the Nolichucky

Post by Ann R Tickamye » Tue, 02 Apr 2002 05:57:56

Quote:
> The first few miles of the Noli with rapids: Entrance (or Railroad),
> On the Rocks, Jaws, Quarter Mile, and RoosterTail,
> are all class III, III+ rapids.
> When you get above 2500 cfs I think some may edge into class IV
> difficulty.



But of course AW downgraded a lot of stuff for those benchmarks.

For example, Monte Smith's Southeastern Whitewater calls
Entrance, OTR, and Roostertail class 3+ and Quartermile straight 4.  
The older Whitewater Sourcebook describes the run as class 4,
which ought to mean that it's got at least one rapid that's 4-ish.

Really old books, which say it's unrunnably dangerous over 2000,
do say Quartermile is a 5.  We probably should have left that alone &
taken advantage of the fact that there are infinitely many numbers
bigger than 5 & there's even a lot before Roman numerals start
getting obscure.  Too late for that now, but we should resist the
tendency to say anything anybody ran intentionally the day before
yesterday can't be more than a class 3.

Cecil Tickamyer

 
 
 

Trip Report- First time down the Nolichucky

Post by WETinN » Tue, 02 Apr 2002 20:35:39

Quartermile used to have some old railroad barrels in bad places that made
the rapid more dangerous/difficult, that have long since washed downstream.
Perhaps that's the rapid Monte Smith saw.



Quote:
> > The first few miles of the Noli with rapids: Entrance (or Railroad),
> > On the Rocks, Jaws, Quarter Mile, and RoosterTail,
> > are all class III, III+ rapids.
> > When you get above 2500 cfs I think some may edge into class IV
> > difficulty.



> But of course AW downgraded a lot of stuff for those benchmarks.

> For example, Monte Smith's Southeastern Whitewater calls
> Entrance, OTR, and Roostertail class 3+ and Quartermile straight 4.
> The older Whitewater Sourcebook describes the run as class 4,
> which ought to mean that it's got at least one rapid that's 4-ish.

> Really old books, which say it's unrunnably dangerous over 2000,
> do say Quartermile is a 5.  We probably should have left that alone &
> taken advantage of the fact that there are infinitely many numbers
> bigger than 5 & there's even a lot before Roman numerals start
> getting obscure.  Too late for that now, but we should resist the
> tendency to say anything anybody ran intentionally the day before
> yesterday can't be more than a class 3.

> Cecil Tickamyer