Beating the Heat

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, June 18, 2014

There is one thing for sure about the heat of summer, it’s here whether you like it or not. I prefer cold rainy dreary days, but since those will be in short supply for the next few months, there are some ways to “beat the heat”.
There are a lot of good things about WNC, one of which is it has an abundance of water.
There are many water activities you can take part in. White water rafting is an excellent choice. There are several outfitters in our mountain area that have all the gear, transportation, and knowledge needed, all you have to do is show up. There are many types of rafting trips available, from slow water family oriented trips, to much faster and more challenging whitewater trips.
From bigger rivers like the Nantahala, Nolichucky, French Broad, and Tuckaseegee, to the smaller, but no lesser, Green river and Broad river, there are trips for the beginners and the seasoned paddler.
There are many choices of vessel to navigate these waters. Inflatable rafts are probably the safest and can carry several passengers, to the more lively and difficult kayak, of which there are several styles, the old school canoe, and let’s not forget the tube.
Each of these has their best environment, and can make a trip down the river very enjoyable, or very miserable, all the more reason to go with an outfitter, especially your first time.
The Nantahala is a very popular destination with many outfitters running trips there. One thing you will notice about the river is the temperature. It is a dam release river, and part of the water is pulled from the bottom of Nantahala lake, and averages about 49 degrees year round! It has a bite to it to say the least.
The Nolichucky has some very fun class III and IV rapids. It winds through some very remote and rugged areas of N.C. and Tenn. The rapids can fluctuate greatly with the recent rainfalls, and the outfitters keep track of it to let you know when it’s prime time.
The French Broad goes from one extreme to the other. Its upper waters are very slow and calm, good for a relaxing drift, to the much swifter and remote lower sections with some very good rapids. The French Broad changes with the rainfall as well.
And last but certainly not least, our very own Green river. The lower section of Green river cove is a tubers (not sure if that’s a word or not) must. The “tube hatch” of various colored tubes can be seen all summer long. Drifting along with friends and a cooler of drinks is a good local way to beat the heat.
The upper gorge area at the Henderson/Polk county lines offers some remote areas to enjoy.
The section near what is known as the narrows, has some very difficult and dangerous rapids that should be left to the very experienced paddlers. I know the EMS and volunteer fire depts. that would have to haul you out would like for you to not over do it in the gorge.

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