For
the month of July, my monthly Ocoee weekday trip was, in a sense,
RAINED OUT!! The trip was scheduled for Thursday, July 3, and on July
1 Tropical Depression Bill dropped a goodly amount of rain on the
green hills of Tennessee. TVA was spilling at Blue Ridge, and that
plus the run-off put the Ocoee at a pretty high level. But more
importantly, the run-off brought the Tellico up to a really nice
level.

Being
a highly flexible trip coordinator, I began thinking of moving the
trip to the Tellico. The USGS gauge reading got up to over 5 feet on
the night of July 1, and the evening of July 2, it was still at about
3-1/2 feet. I started making phone calls to those who had signed up
for the Ocoee trip and polled them on moving the trip to the Tellico.
Everyone agreed, although a few were skeptical.

The
morning of July 3 found the USGS gauge reading at 2.7, an ideal level
for the middle section of the Tellico. It was still 2.6 when we got
to the put-in, equating to about 600 cfs. Of the original seven who
had signed up for the trip, two had at the last minute opted to go to
Little River Canyon in Alabama, leaving five of us meeting for the
Tellico trip. Of the five, one (who shall remain unnamed) managed to
forget the hatch covers for the Perception saddle in his canoe.
Although he chose not to paddle without the hatch covers, he
graciously volunteered to do our shuttle, and spent a good part of
the day wistfully spectating from the roadway.

So,
how often do you get to run the Tellico at 600 cfs on a weekday with
a bright, sunny sky, temperatures in the 80s and absolutely no
crowds? Actually, several times this year. It’s been a really great
year for the Tellico so far, better than any I can remember. The four
lucky boaters were Priscilla Dixey and Jay Cawley in kayaks, and
Michael Houchins and yours truly in open canoes. And shuttle was
provided by, well, you know who you are and so do the other trip
participants….

We
had a very enjoyable run, taking our time, getting in a good bit of
surf and play time, and soaking up the gorgeous scenery. There was no
carnage, and only a couple of rolls at critical times, including one
by yours truly in the open boat. “I’ve never seen anyone roll
one of those!” was Jay’s comment afterwards.

We
stopped and took the short walk to the beautiful waterfall on the
feeder creek on river left below Reeder’s Rock. The creek water was
very warm, and standing under the falls it was very pleasant, almost
like a refreshing, invigorating shower. The view of the river looking
back down from the falls on the side creek was almost as breathtaking
as the view of the falls itself.

By
the end of the day, everyone had unanimously agreed that they were
very glad the Ocoee trip had been rained out. Thanks, tropical
depression Bill, for pointing us in the right direction!

by
Allen Hedden

From
The Eddy Line, August 2003