I
canceled the Locust Fork trip due to low water. We changed the
location to LRC. This trip was acceptable to our four boaters from
Atlanta. It’s only a two hour drive rather than a three hour drive.

We
broke into two groups. Joe Medlin (K-1 kayak), Stephan Roberts (OC-1
canoe) and I (K-1 kayak) ran the Upper 2. We were joined
unofficially by Nathan Costerisan (K-1 kayak) and Mike Able (K-1
kayak). If LRC is running, these two hot-dogs from Cleveland,
Tennessee, are there. Our second group, Debra Berry (OC-1 canoe),
Ray Channell (K-1 kayak), Rick Battaglia (K-1 kayak) and Patrick
MacLeod (OC-1 canoe) ran the Chair Lift section.

We
put on at the Upper 2 while the second group made the long drive to
the Chair Lift put-in. This was Joe’s first run on LRC. We all had
good runs through Screaming Right Turn and Road Block. Most of us
ran Humpty Dumpty, even though the water was low (630 CFS). The next
mile of continuous class III rapids was great. Everyone had easy
runs through Deep Throat.

Our
Chair Lift boaters had to wait about half an hour while we ran the
upper section. Based on everyone’s responses at the end of the day,
it was worth the wait.

We
ran the first several class III rapids without problems. We ran two
of four rapids leading into Bottleneck (IV) without problems. The
next rapid proved to be too much for Debra. She broached between two
rocks. She tried for about 30 seconds to move back and forth to free
her boat.

While
pushing on the upstream side, her boat swamped and she disappeared.
I was about 30 feet below the rapid. I could see her feet bobbing up
and down below her boat. Several boaters got out to help her. I was
worried she was tangled in her boat and was underwater.

After
several attempts to climb back in her boat, Debra took a deep breath
and let go. She popped up about 10 feet from her boat. She was on
her back getting some air and grabbed my bow. I started paddling to
shore and she began kicking. That really helped because she wasn’t
40 feet from dropping over Bottleneck. Thanks, Debra, for
aggressively helping your rescue! People often don’t help and they
pay the consequences. It took about 20 minutes to free her boat.

Pat
had a nice fine run on Bottleneck. Not bad for a transplant from
Florida!

The
remainder of the river was a gentle float with enough rapids to keep
you awake. Everyone enjoyed the scenery and advised they would be
back. Maybe next time it will get into the 40’s. Thanks to everyone
for another enjoyable trip in LRC.


December
13, 1997.

by
Dane White