was unaware that this book was even in the works, much less its
publication, so you can image my pleasant surprise when I saw a
number of books graced with a cover photo that I was familiar with
stacked upon a small display table at the NOC.
first saw this photograph in the publication U.S.Whitewater ’74,
the annual program of the US International Slalom Canoe Association.
Its caption read: “Doug Woodward of Georgia running a high unnamed
waterfall on the Tellico River in Tennessee. Photo by Rodger Losier.”
The date of the photo was April 1972 and we now know that high
unnamed waterfall as Baby Falls.
a friend I once heard a first-hand account of that memorable day:
There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth by loved ones and
friends as Doug took the plunge! However, that was neither the first
nor the last “first descent” by Doug, and I, for one, am glad
that he took at least one more formidable leap—that of writing it
all down and sharing the stories with other kindred spirits!
Waters Flow is a captivating whitewater autobiography as well as
an historical account of the vernal days of paddling in the
Southeastern and Mid- Atlantic regions of the USA. For me, the
stories of the “Chattooga tribe” from the early and mid-seventies
are the most enjoyable. Names of people that I’ve not heard or
thought about in decades jump from the pages and bring back fond
remembrances of a delightful time in my life when paddling rivers was
all bright and shiny-new and a bunch of smiling faces were all
shouting, “Come on in, the water’s fine!”
eighteen chapters in the book include such noteworthy noteworthy
happenings as the beginnings of the Nantahala Outdoor Center, taking
(then Georgia Governor) Jimmy Carter down the Chattooga, interesting
behind-thescenes accounts from the filming of Deliverance (Doug was
the canoeing double for Ned Beatty), getting to know James and
Christopher Dickey, and paddling with Walt Blackadar (both out West
as well as on the Chattooga).
the early days of Explorer Post 49 are well chronicled, including one
western road trip in an old school bus where “self-reliance” took
on a whole new meaning for a band of river gypsies from Atlanta!
Interesting archival photographs are also spread throughout the book.
book is a fascinating read, often in the form of first-hand dialogue,
sometimes purely narrative or even journal-like, and all the while
bestrewn with eloquent musings by one of the true pioneers of
the final chapter Doug waxes poetic and brings forth the river as
metaphor when he looks back upon where his own life’s journey has
taken him – but then again I see that perhaps there’s no metaphor
here at all, since that for some, the two – one’s life and the
river – can be so interwoven as to be one.
come on in, the water’s fine, and Doug has this great trip all
Note: Wherever Waters Flow is available at some outfitters or from
the publisher, Headwaters Publishing, P.O. Box 494, Franklin, NC
The Eddy Line, December 2006