On January 16, 2016 we held our 5th annual Nantahala Ice Breaker!  From it’s humble beginnings when Jimmy Jones organized a small group that included Randy Barfield, Tony Butler, Josh Howell, Brian Paradis, Chad Copeland and Josh Purvis to eventually grow into what we had this time around.  A large group met up on Friday evening filling 4 large nice cabins at Smoky Mountain Retreat on Alarka Rd.  Come Saturday morning, the day of the event, we started gathering at the put in for the Nantahala.  Endless River Adventures was there to run shuttle service for a number of people.  Thanks ERA!  We weren’t sure how many would arrive for the fun but by the time all the counts were done we had about 75 people on the river that day.  I know the outfitters never expected to have such a large number of paddlers out on a cool January day.  People came from all over the SouthEast.  There were people from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia all there to find out what the talk was about.  There were people who were getting their PFD’s, first time on the Nanty, to seasoned paddlers out for some laughs.  We had the usual carnage from time to time. There were numerous swims from those learning and even some from people we really didn’t expect to swim, Nick Bonner.  Trying to keep track of 75 people is a futile effort on the river but I think everyone had a great time.  After the paddling was done roughly 15 of us went to Guayabito’s in Bryson City for some much needed food. Afterwards  everyone started meeting at the cabins to get to know new faces and have some fun.  As is normally the case we had some games out.  Corn Hole seemed to go over well!  Geoff Page had brought everyone a surprise for the evening.  We had an awesome fireworks display on his Birthday!  Thanks Geoff!  There was music everywhere I went that evening.  People tended to bounce from cabin to cabin getting to know the new people.  The ever infectious Sarah Ruhlen made an appearance and stories were told of a Green Boat rescue from Tallulah.  Trinity Lorrain and her family were there with everyone as well.  Lisa Isabell had a birthday party in her cabin which The Paddle Crackers crashed saying the wanted to wish her Happy Birthday!  They really just wanted the cake and free food.  It’s always a good time getting to meet new river people!  After the response we had this year this event will happen again in 2017!  Next time we are going to shoot for much more for everyone.  We hope everyone enjoyed and will come back in 2017!  SYOTR!