The first
Whitewater Warriors Weekend succeeded! This report is my
interpretation of my observations during the Whitewater Warriors
Weekend. For example, the number of GCA Braves that attended was only
a few below the expected two hundred.

I am proud to announce
that we have two new Whitewater Warrior Chiefs. Debbie Dargis
coordinated her scheduled Saturday GCA trip on the Nantahala which
the Whitewater Warriors joined to bring her total number of paddlers
to about twenty. Debbie is now Whitewater Warrior Chief Blue Dove.
Congratulations Debbie!

The Saturday Nantahala water level
was definitely on the high side; 3.6 ft on the upper gage and 2.9 ft
on the lower gage. Everyone ran Patton’s Run upright and then we
gathered at one of the eddies below it to tell each other all about
our respective runs. Fun was then had by all as we paddled along
dodging rafts and occasionally each other. At one point we gave
serious discussion to isolating and surrounding individual rafts and
then attacking them with paddles and rescue knives. Cooler heads
prevailed.

At the falls, many non-Whitewater Warrior paddlers
were spilling and swimming to the delight of the vultures overlooking
the falls. It was obvious these paddlers did not know how to properly
spill and swim; therefore, it became necessary for several Whitewater
Warriors to “volunteer” to give demonstrations of how to
properly spill and swim at the falls. These included yours truly,
Chief Silver Fish. Pictures of all these incorrect and correct spills
and swims can be seen on the NOC website. In the final picture of
Chief Silver Fish, it may appear to some that I am gasping for air.
Not so, I am simply giving a quick loud summary (expletives deleted)
of how I initiated and accomplished the spill and what technique to
watch for as I swim and scream for a safety rope. The group’s total
swims on the river on Saturday was only twenty. (Remember the high
water level.)

Brannen Proctor is the other new Whitewater
Warrior Chief. He is now Chief Silver Wolf. Congratulations Brannen!
Chief Silver Wolf coordinated the Whitewater Warriors’ paddling trip
on the Nantahala on Sunday. The water level on Sunday read 2.7 on the
lower gage. This resulted in far fewer swims on the river and at the
falls; nevertheless, Chief Silver Wolf practiced numerous rescues
during the day.

John Holley and Ann Hibbard provided humorous
highlights as they paddled tandem in an inflatable ducky. John
managed to adjust his stern seating area to resemble that of a
recliner so he could give his impression that this was actually too
easy. John began the day with the posture of a little boy whose
mother had made him hold her hand so he could not run (paddle) around
and aggravate the young female paddlers. As the day progressed, it
became obvious that John was having a day of fun and he was really
enjoying himself. However, I think John could be heard from
time-to-time yelling, “I am a professional river guide, I am
being paid to do this!” Regarding John, Ann might have said,
“Every girl needs one good John.”

After a firewater
or two, a comical few minutes occurred Friday evening as we were sort
of helping Dickie Tillman string up his “Tarp City.” His
plan was to string up a heap big tarp to cover his pow-wow table,
truck and area between them in such a way that he could drive in and
out as needed. A well-meaning Floridian walked over from his campsite
and started giving us some well thought out advice about how to
string up a tarp (you know the kind). Eventually he took his advice
with him back to his campsite.

The scouting trip Saturday
night to the Mexican Restaurant was highlighted by the management
there taking us to a separate and isolated room away from the main
eating area. They then were careful not to seat any other customers
in the room with us. However, waiters repeatedly checked in on us
during the meal. Unfortunately, the female pole dancer never did
show, and I think management counted their plates and silverware
while we were checking out.

Many thanks to Dickie Tillman for
providing campfire ambiance on both Friday and Saturday nights. This
was very significant because Chief Silver Wolf has commented that he
really enjoys the ambiance of a campfire. It makes him want to whoop
and holler and dance around, and play in the fire. Has anyone ever
actually seen Brannen whoop and holler?

I did not list the
names of all the GCA Whitewater Warriors who attended the first
Whitewater Warriors Weekend because County Mounties in the Bryson
City area may still be trying to find out the names of some of us.

Yes, if the great Whitewater Warrior in the sky is willing,
we will have another Whitewater Warrior Weekend during the next Chick
Paddle.

By Jack Taylor aka Chief Silver Fish
August 2009