In October, 1987, I kayaked the the bottom half of the Ocoee with Brad Nichol and Allen Hedden, one week after completing my five day beginnner kayak class with NOC. I paddled the Ocoee during the spring and summer of 1998 and became intimately familiar with all the rapids and most of the rocks.

After my second black eye in August of 1988, I decided that I was not designed to be encased in plastic on rivers with rocks and switched to a canoe in 1989. From then until now, I have only agreed to paddle the Ocoee tandem.

In late September, I decided a 20 year wait was long enough and ran the Ocoee a couple of weeks ago in my canoe. Thank you to my fabulous support team who organized my first timer trip on a quiet October Friday: Haynes Johnson, Dave Richardson, Marvine and Knox Worde, Paula Haynes, Allen Hedden, Gabi Schlidt, Barry Smith, and, especially, Edward Stockman. Luckily, I had a fabulous day on the river. Just goes to show you anything is possible!

By Gina Johnson
From The Eddy Line, January 2008