Southern Appalachians

Luc Mehl, Tim Johnson and I spent a week and a half in the SE. We went to the SE over January instead of New Zealand and it was GREAT!

Great packrafting in that you can easily fly down with all your gear and go roadside boating.

The steep clean drops are great for working on your boof strokes and the pools below awesome for combat roll practice. It’s no wonder that many of the best paddlers in the US come from down there.

One Must-do Class IV is the Tellico Ledges in Tennessee. We ran the upper and middle at about 250-300 cfs I think. We also slid down the lower part of Bald River Falls, a park and huck.
The Tellico felt like a super safe training ground for working on your boof. It’s roadside and great. Really great. The 14 foot Baby Falls is a “Class III”, my favorite III in the world.

We also did the Chatooga Section IV (GA SC border), running everything. It too was pretty low. That’s the Deliverence Movie stretch. Also a Must-Do Class IV, especially the last handful of Class III and IV drops.

We drove to Alabama and did the Little River Suicide Reach. Water was low and run was sieved out. Really pretty canyon, but NOT a must do. Also Class V in deadliness if not difficulty. Would like to do the next reach below. But by the time we got there we’d been paddling in moonlight for like 30 minutes. Not worth posting vid of that although paddling behind a waterfall for 75 feet was neat and so was an instant combat roll and Luc’s run of Cable Falls.

And the dam release Green Narrows. We ran the “Green Lite” twice, both times at 100% release, a “kayak” level, portaging the Big Three V: Gorilla and Sunshine, although Luc tried (and swam) Go Left and Die. Must-Do? Well I must do it again, but you will have to decide for yourself when you get to Asheville. The upper Green is worth doing, although the two “IIIs” feel more like IVs to me and as for some of the Vs in the Narrows like Frakenstein and Chief: they are not so much difficult Vs as they are dangerous IIIs in a packraft. The whitewater rating system – to my way of thinking – is fatally flawed, and if you don’t know what I mean by that, I mean just plain stupid. Anyway, the Green Narrows is worth flying to the East for, especially to run laps on waiting for water to fill other nearby runs.

We also did the incredible Horsepasture, which is a Must do, if you feel comfortable with Class IV+ and go in at lowish water. We portaged some sieves and a big drop (Turnpike B), but ran pretty much everything else (not Cornerpocket either) below Ugly Stuff and above Death Sieve or whatever the last drop before Windy Falls is called. This river is a hike in (30 minutes) and out (900 foot climb back to car) and its slides and plops and blubbers are well suited to the 2011 hulls and 2012 decks of Alpacka rafts.

We did another NC Class IV near Highlands, the Cullasajay, but no video from me: check Luc’s greatest hits masterpiece for a couple shots of it, right around where Timmy and I are standing and scouting its punchiest rapid, T-Bone which we did not run.

Wow-- that’s some SICK boating. I’m inspired to get back into the water really soon, thanks!

I was curious to get some feedback from you about the Little River Canyon in Alabama. I live in Huntsville and the wife and I drove over there yesterday to take a peek. The views are amazing and it’s so close to home. How can I find more information on this this river? I am new to the packrafting world and want to learn as much as I can. I am interested in maps that detail the different classification of the river so I make sure to stay within my experience level. Any info you have would be helpful and appreciated! Kindly, -ben

We found info on the American Whitewater Page.

But it’s a really neat canyon and you could likely scramble along it to get a feel for it. It’d be an all day scramble but never cliffs out.

Thanks Roman! Just finished up your book and gained some good knowledge there. Man, those are some crazy stories especially the one about getting that moose meat outta there. Nice! I’m planning on doing another scouting trip to LRC this summer but I’m afraid the water levels will be pretty low due to the drought. Cheers!