Category Archives: paddling

Hiwassee River

This was our choice river for a first-time whitewater kayaking experience for our son, sporting his brand new PFD (having finally reached 50 lbs) and a brand new whitewater helmet, yay.

The class II run on the Hiwassee consists of six rapids in the II – II+ range. We used an outfitter at the bridge in Reliance (where all the outfitters are). It’s a short drive along the north side of the river to the put-in.

The rapids are fairly evenly spaced, they generally get bigger as you go down the river and the last two are by far the best if you hit them right. Funnels (the second to last) seems best to the left of all the sizeable islands, but then the rightmost of the channels in that gap. Devil’s Shoals – the final rapid just slightly above Reliance has a wonderful wave train on the far left side of the river underneath the overhanging trees.

Overall this is a great beginner river. There are people going down it in tubes — which happens everywhere these days — but this is probably a legit tubing river. There are a couple sections where the current is minimal though and without a paddle it could be a long float. We ran the five-mile section twice in one day, it took us about 80 minutes each time in no particular hurry.

French Broad River (section 8)

We often paddle the section of the French Broad river between Marshall, NC and Barnard – particularly when we take the dog along.  We don’t normally put it on the blog here, but we thought we’d share this one because Trout invented a new way to sit in a kayak.

Trout in the Kayak
Trout in the Kayak

What’s happening here?  We don’t really know.  Obviously sideways is not the way to do this but Trout was feeling creative.     There are an assortment of small rapids in the section of the river, most of them class II on the whitewater scale so that when the dog leaps out in the middle of one it’s not too difficult to get him back in the boat.   None of these rapids are big enough to have names so we’ve christened a few of them on our own. 

Trout Beach
Trout Beach

One of those is Trout Beach with is about a mile or so downstream from the Marshall dam.  There is a river-wide ledge with a sandy beach below it on river right.  We almost always stop here for a swim and to let the dog run around a bit.