The river was incredibly busy for us. Many people were enjoying the Nantahala. The GCA was well represented by many awesome people. Among those were Dan Brady & John Roberts who took time to help guide everyone down the river safely. There was even a brief roll class held along the way. Everyone was working on skills. From learning to catch an eddy to the proper way to ferry across the river in both swift water and in waves.
While everyone in our group made it safely down the river we encountered other groups who needed help. Our first encounter was with a small group of kayakers. One of their members had flipped and gotten hurt. We were shocked that his group of fellow paddlers didn’t seemed too concerned about him. The poor guy was ready to hit the road until Jimmy Jones and Brett Russell went to his aide. Jimmy had his first aide kit with him and after a few minutes they had him sorted out and ready to complete his run on the Nanty. This incident helped solidify why I appreciate paddling with The GCA. Our people have your back and keep you safe.
We continued our day of paddling, sharing many laughs and encouraging words to those who were doing so well on the river. Along our way we encountered people on stand up paddle boards and it was awesome to see! They were surfing waves and running river features. Well down the river as some of us were sitting in billboard eddy one of the guys on a stand up paddle board came slipping in along side us making it look so easy. After a moment he was off to run the falls and to my amazement he ran the falls upright! Very cool!
We came along some natural born river runners during the day. A duck with her group of little ones was paddling along & surfing waves with much style. As always the scenery was beautiful! Looking out at the Smokies as you float along or just admiring the trees sitting along the river bank quickly remove every care in the world from your mind.
After we made it to concrete beach many decided to take a run at the falls. Many comments had been made giving pointers on how to have a successful run and believe me people listened. It was great seeing people smile and yell as they made the run upright. Even those who swam, like myself, had a great time of it. However I just couldn’t let well enough alone. After emptying my boat I carried it to the observation platform. I just watched others running the falls until I thought I had it down. I went back to concrete beach and had another run at it. This time I got to join those who were smiling and yelling!
I heard many talk about how much fun they had that day. I’m just glad I could be a part of a fantastic group. Thanks to people like Stephen McLaughlin who helped run safety, the encouraging help of Dan Brady & John Roberts, as well as our trip leader Jimmy Jones the day was wonderful! We hope to see everyone again on the river very soon.