Family Day on the Nantahala River in North Carolina…
It is still winter in Ontario, with snow on the ground and ice on the river. That is where the Troutman’s come from. Rick, Paula (Nick’s parents), and Matt (his brother) drove down to visit Nick, Emily, Kristine, Dane, KC, and I at NOC. It is Spring in North Carolina. The leaves are coming out, and the weather is warming up. There is certainly no ice anywhere!
Paula rallied the troops to do a river run with everyone. We figured out how to pull it off without too much trouble. Nick and Paula in the Dynamic Duo. Rick in a Karma Medium (he used to kayak 30 years ago on the Ottawa), Matt in a Rock Star Large (he is a good boater), Kristine on a SUPerCharger, Dane on a SUPerCharger, KC and I in a Karma Medium with no skirt on, and Emily in a Star. Alex was in his Karma and Courtney in a Rock Star s. We shuttled to the very top of the 7.5 mile run on a 60 degree day.
The first rapid is the hardest one except the “falls” at NOC. I wasn’t sure how Kristine would do on the SUPerCharger as it was her first time in whitewater on one. She was wearing my Kokatat Icon Dry-suit but refused to swim in the water before the start because she didn’t want to scare herself… hmm.. OK. KC was not so well prepared and didn’t have any proper gear other than some big fleece and a rain coat and water shoes. In the first rapid I was coming around the corner following Kristine and Rick down until they went straight into the biggest ledge in the rapid and I diverted around them as I didn’t have a skirt on and was trying not to soak KC in the first rapid when we had a long day ahead of us. Rick went over, Kristine fell off in the hole as I paddled by. I looked back and Kristine was on the board and Rick was swimming. No problem, we had lots of safety and got everyone to shore. Rick was a little shook up as it was his first solo run in a long time and the first rapid didn’t go as planned. He got back on the horse, however, and did awesome the rest of the way. Dane broke his SUP paddle somehow and was trying to paddle with just the shaft. Paula, in the front of the Duo, gave Kristine her paddle, and Dane used the other SUP paddle. Kristine would now kneel down in the harder rapids and paddle the SUPer Charger like a kayak and then stand up in the easier rapids and use the kayak paddle like a SUP paddle.
The mood was very festive as it was the first time our two families paddled together like this. The Nantahala River is perfect for this type of paddling. You don’t need a lot of skill to pull it off and it is a very nice run. Dane and I did a little filming with our GoPro cameras to capture some of the run. By mile #5 KC was getting cold and went from hooting and hollering in excitement in the rapids, to being quiet, and eventually he started shivering and was ready to be done.. Luckily it was at the end of the run and the sun was still shining and it was warm on the shore. It wasn’t hard paddling KC down the river with no skirt. I had to empty the boat three times by the bottom from waves coming in. Having KC on my lap made it harder to keep the bow dry, but not bad in the Karma which has a very dry bow.
Everyone had an awesome run. We had some wine at the take out (not the kids, of course) and had a nice cookout at the cabin (Nantahala Inn) that the Troutman’s rented. Awesome cabin and awesome cookout with them.
Nothing better than a family day on the water, easy water, good company, and a nice cookout after the run.
I look forward to another family day like that!
p.s. here is the video Dane made of the run…