Last Friday Donna and I took our PhatCat out on the Nantahala River – it was the only day during the week when it was not raining! In fact, it has rained so much in NC that Duke Energy had been drawing down Nantahala Lake 24 hours a day. They recently cut that back, but are still drawing down quite a bit.
Anyway, when we took our PhatCat out the water level seemed higher than normal, and we learned that the CFS was 1000 or more. The normal CFS on the Nantahala River is 750, so we wondered what was in store for us.
For starters, the wave train on Patton’s Run was bigger than we had ever seen it. That was great, but the water also covered a lot of the rocks that you can normally see and avoid. We managed to avoid most of them, but spun around so hard on one that I almost got tossed out of the raft.
The rest of the trip down was fun but pretty uneventful until we hit Nanty Falls. Then it got interesting.
Our approach was fine.
Hugging the left side of the approach as you are supposed to and going straight.
Still looking good.
Here we are looking for the “green tongue” but the whitewater was so big that we could not see it.
Then – uh oh – we got sideways.
And hit the bottom wave straight on sideways.
And got engulfed!
But we made it through.
And were smiling.
Crazy trip down, one that took only about 1 ½ hours.
Afterwards, we looked at the falls from below and realized that we rally should have scouted it before we went down. It seemed that hugging the left hand side all the way, rather than maneuvering toward the right, would have been the best thing to do.
We also learned that going to NOC on a Friday is not the best day of the week. It was packed with rafters.