April 2012

2012 Paddling Season...Game-On!

Start me UP 2012!

Another cold Canadian winter has come and gone. 
Paddling season 2012 is underway!  
The 2012 paddling season started off with my 
annual migration to Tennessee.  Lenoir CityTN 
is where we call home for 9 days.  

This area keeps calling us back year after year
because of the combination of warm sunny 
weather and hundreds of creeks to choose from within a 150 mile

There is a ridiculous selection of rivers and creeks to 
paddle close by when the rain Gods shower us with 
merriment, and for times when there is no rain to chase,
 there are always a few steadfast reliable go-to options. 
The concept of “chasing rain” is rather foreign to 
Ontario paddlers whose hometown creeking window is
 2 weeks long comprised primarily of snow melt. Chasing
 rain is a delicate balance of figuring out flows on the fly 
and estimating with some luck to determine which aspect
 of a creek is prime.  If the lower sections are in flood, 
one needs to travel higher up the run, above a tributary or five.

Another great part of paddling in the area is a variety in landscapes.
  To the South, are the Great Smokey Mountains
The Smokey’s are a fantastic place to paddle and photograph 
as river access is straight forward and paved roads often snake 
alongside the river.  The ability to help out an injured paddler 
or to swap out camera equipment is fantastic. The rivers in this 
watershed tend to be clean and clear, many of these rivers as 
well are host to fantastic drops and waterfalls. Rocks tend to 
be round and frequent.  It’s a flowing boulder garden where 
dream boofs come true.

To the North-West is the Cumberland Plateau which has a 
different character entirely. (I’ll save that for another blog).
The bottom line is that when paddling friends converge into 
this area and the water is flowing, great times are about to 
happen.  In seven days of paddling, we hit some rivers for the 
first time, and others multiple times because they are just too 
good not to.  Highlights included the Crooked Fork, Tellico, 
Conasauga, and the Little River Smokies. These rivers are 
always thrilling to boat. 

Baby Falls

The Tellico River is a South-Eastern classic, which 
serves as an excellent example to try and capture what 
it is that draws me in time after time. The Tellico River has 
crystal clear water, beautiful scenery and a mountainous setting, 
these aspects combined are a great excuse for a weekend hike…..
add water and you’ve got a class 3-4 playground that is nothing 
short of awesome.  The ledges make for great glory boof practice. 
Boofing the beak!

Tight eddies throughout to sharpen skills along the way.  
Baby Falls is the perfect learn-to waterfall….so long as 
you get out before diaper wiper if you find yourself on the 
“Tellico swim team”. 

"Safety Break"

Just below baby falls is the famous post card image at 
Bald River Falls.  It’s a great carry-up waterfall when water
 flows are sufficient. Shooting the lower section is a very 
intimidating set up and an incredibly exciting entrance.  
The rocks at the top are very slick and words are difficult
 to communicate over the thunderous roar of the upper 
waterfall section. 

Bald River Falls

Continuous class 2-3 three leads you to the most technical aspect 
to the river…Jarrod’s knee.  It is a five sectioned rapid that 
never disappoints. As a whole, it’s rather confusing, but when
 you break it down into 5 separate steps, it seems to fit 
together like puzzle pieces.  I have sat and studied this rapid 
many times over, and I still have much to learn. 
This is part of the beauty in rivers….so many secrets…
so much to know and learn. If you get a chance to paddle
 in Tennessee, don’t pass it up, you’ll be in for an awesome time!

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