It’s the middle of October at the Hiwassee River. The first question that most people would ask is – was it cold? The coldest part of the entire trip was riding in the back of Webb Brothers ‘cattle truck’ during the shuttle. The sky was clear and the sun felt great. Seven paddlers got on the river around noon.

Trip participants were: Paul Smith, Bobby Batchelor, Jack Taylor, Richard Salenfriend, Keith Sutphin, Amy Phillips, and Jay Davis. This was Amy’s first time on the Hiwassee. Jack, Keith, and Amy were all in canoes or kayaks that were new to them.

Within the first 30 minutes of the trip, we made a brief stop so that people could peel off layers of clothing. A few in the group even thought that the water temperature was higher than normal. Shortly past ‘thread the needle’ rapid, we had a unique wildlife sighting. There was a deer (at least an 8-point buck) that was on one of the small islands in the river. The deer was moving upstream from one island to the next. I wasn’t quick enough with my camera, but I believe most of the group got a glimpse of him. We assumed that he was out there when the release of water came from upstream.

When we got to the lunch stop, Jay took out his underwater camera and snorkeling mask and got in the river. He got photos of a couple of large trout that were near the bottom of the ledges (near the side-surfing wave).

We had a throw rope set up at the end of Devils Shoals, and everyone had a clean run. For Amy’s first time on this river (and being in a new boat), she did great. At the end of the trip, Jack concluded that his new canoe liked him.

Paul Smith
October 2010