2005 paddling trips


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Watauga. March 19th, 2005, 210 cfs. John Mcrea and I take Newton and Matt down for their first time.





Big Panther Creek, Georgia, June 12th, 2005.

Tropical Storm Arlene had arrived and N. Georgia creeks were pumping. Newton and I headed up from Athens to Moccasin Creek to see if it was running. Well it had too much water for our tastes that day so we headed off to plan B, BPC of course! Our crew consisted of Dave, Matt from Franklin, Matt B., Newton Tilson (who coordinates these characters), Chris Gorman and Shaun from Athens. After passing on Overflow at 3 ft and hearing that BPC was flowing, Jerry Jascomb, Dan, Ted and Heath also showed up.

BPC was running at a good medium level, about 2 inches over the white PVC pipe at the putin or 10 inches on RM's gauge. It was till raining, very hard at times. I was the only one at the putin who had run it before so I was busy doling out various tidbits of information. Jerrys group headed down first as they are used to bombing down creeks of various tendencies and we did not want to hold them up. We put on and made our way down fairly quickly. The first mile is somewhat bony and then the volume doubles as another creek, Little Panther Creek comes in. I really like the feel of the first mile though. It is very narrow and drops about 220 feet over a series of twisting slides. There is one large slide of note that drops about 30 feet as it curves to the right and feeds a large hole that is backed up by a nasty looking log sieve. We caught up to Jerry and crew as they were scouting the slide. They all ran it and made it look easy so some of us ran it as well. There are some shots of the Upper Slide below.

We continued on at a quick pace until one of our gang decided to extensively surf a river-wide tree. After another large slide we approached BPC falls in a heavy downpour, so heavy that the spray from the rain slamming into the boat and water stung the eyes. I started to worry about a flash on the creek...

We arrived at the portage trail of the falls and there were two yellow boats sitting besides the river, awaiting the decision of their owners. As we hiked down the falls, we met up with Jerry and Heath walking back up. Well as you know, Heath was going to run the falls, no suspense here. Matt and I set up ropes below the entrance falls and I had my camera. Shaun waited at a pool that was 2/3rds of the way down the falls to catch Heath in case he went too far right. The rest of the crew waited at the bottom. Heath styled the entrance falls and had no problem with the hole at the bottom. He ran the committal drop by driving off the left slide and seemed to glide effortlessly into the left eddy. This set him up perfectly to ferry back to the right side of the falls. There was a loud thump as he nailed some rock as the descent of the main drop began and he seemed to momentarily disappear (see the photo below). He quickly popped out and headed down, right on line. He then curved back to the left to hit the major tongue of water that launches off the bottom center drop, over the shelf of rock in the pool below. It was an incredible run, a tour de force, by an incredible paddler. The other boat belonged to Jerry, though he did not run the falls, as he put it "best to let a sleeping dog lie". Coincidence or not, Shaun had his boat with him and put in at the pool 2/3rds the way down the drop and launched, like Bald River Falls but bigger.

Meanwhile the river was rising, and the last gorge still awaited us. The creek's character had changed considerably, becoming a full blown pushy river. At Bootcamp we had some trouble. Bootcamp is a 6-7 foot slide followed by a 10 foot vertical drop that feeds a deep hydraulic which is blocked on both sides by bedrock. Bootcamp looks deceptively easy but the first slide is tricky, flipping two of our party. Both rolled, one made it through the hole, the other did not and recirculated in the hole several times before flushing out. Shortly after Bootcamp is Automatic for the People aka Combat. Today there was nothing Automatic about it and it was not for the People. It was a raging maelstrom of furious whitewater. Jerry's group went ahead and ran it, apparently without a problem because that was the last we saw of them. Shaun was the first in our group to run it. He had some trouble in the hole at the bottom of the second drop of Autopeep but came out unscathed. Several of our group started to portage, which is one of the worst portages around due to the steep terrain, deadfalls and dense rhodo. Two more of the group ran and one swam so several went after the boat through several hundred yards of continuous pushy class IV. I was second to the last to run, Chris Gorman was the last and probably had the highest water level in Autopeep (see the pics below) as the river seemed to be surging. Personally it was one of the most intense rapids I have run. Chris had a great run, look hard to see him in the photos below. Eventually we regrouped and paddled the last mile or so, which was packed with beefy holes and waves which were enjoyable to punch.   Another fun day on BPC.

Ted at the first slide.


Dave gets him some.

Jerry J.

The log sieve at the bottom of the big slide.


Looking at the 1st big slide from the top, Chris.

Shaun again?

Entrance falls at BPC falls, Heath getting in his boat.

Heath cleans the hole.

Driving the committal drop.

Getting his bearings in the left eddy.

Descending the main drop, this is where Heath may have had a hard hit and briefly disappeared.

Heading back to the left.

Heading back to the left. (close up of previous shot)

Approaching the final drop.

(close up of previous shot)

Celebration at the bottom!

Matt coming out of Bootcamp.

Shawn in first drop of Automatic aka Combat

Gorman in top drop of Autopeep

Gorman in second drop of Autopeep.

The river was angry that day...

Big file for Chris, 2.0 Mb.


Carolina Canoe Club Week of Rivers, July 4th weekend.

Therese and I crashed the party at the CCC WOR to meet with my dad and Evelyn. My dad brought up a 17 foot Mohawk for us to paddle tandem, a true test of our marriage. We first did a section of the Little Tennessee which had some good waves and holes to punch. Therese started to wonder why we always seemed to hit the meatiest hole in each rapid;) Next day we paddled with Bob Wiggins and his 8 year old son, Bob. It was little Bob's first time solo in a kayak on a whitewater river and he was pretty stoked. We put on the Tuckaseegee Gorge and little Bob proceeded to charge down the river while the rest of us tried to keep up, seriously! Little Bob was literally doing circles around our canoe, much to his enjoyment. Little Bob aced all the rapids and had a wild story about nearly flipping in one of the holes from which he claimed he practically had to roll back up. We all thought he was exaggerating until, at the takeout, we saw the photos the outfitter had shot at the rapid in question. Sure enough there was a photo of Bob nearly upside down and bracing back up. Congrats to little Bob on a job well done.

Evelyn and Bob on the Little T.

A bald eagle on the Little T.

Little Bob at the putin for the Tuck.

The Wiggins boys.

My dad.

Little Bob gets ready to crash another wave.

Makes the waves look big, doesn't it?

Dad gets his surf on.

My baby.


Overflow July 10th.

Overflow was running at about 1.6. Scott McCorvey and I led Matt Bilz and Ross from Atlanta down for their first time. It was generally thought that the gauge is reading low so we may have had a tenth or two more water than the gauge was indicating. Needless to say Matt and Ross had their hands full with the big drops and the juicy flow.

Ross in the 2nd drop of Roundabout after we shoved the log under the water.

Matt in Roundabout, the log lied just to the right of Matt, ~2 feet underwater and extending downstream.

Scott in top drop of Roundabout.

Matt in Gravity.

Ross in Gravity.

Rocky Broad, Upper and Lower, ~4.5 ft, July 22nd, 2005.

Matt Bilz off the first drop on the Upper.

Ross on the Upper.

Matt Bilz.


One of many cool drops on the lower.



Camp Pinnacle on the Chattahoochee, July 23rd, 2005.

Crusty and Drew invited me along to be the celebrity guest kayaker (ha ha, that's a good one) on a kayaking clinic on the Chattahoochee River in NE Georgia. I was somewhat dreading the day having to try to teach a bunch of punks how not to go down the river upside down counting the trout. Actually the kids were a bunch of punks but were very cool and had some pretty good skills. I had a great time and they did too. I hope I got pics of everyone, if anyone wants the original, email me and I'll zap the full size version back at you. Look forward to paddling with you guys again. So the pics are below.

On the way to the put-in.

The put-in.

The gang above the big hole getting instructions, notice Derek is in another eddy, not listening...

Everyone had good lines here and missed the hole.

except for Derek...

Hammer time.

"Insert funny caption here"

Derek abandons ship and swims for the bank.

Crusty wondering how to get a boat out this hole.

Rope swing!


Russell Fork, Fall 2005, last weekend.

Here are a few pics my Dad (open canoe) and Dennis Huntley (C1) on the upper section as well as some footy and pics of the main gorge. Fist had changed and it was my first look, here is some footy of Dennis and Mike Morrow with some clean lines (.wmv, 2.5 Mb). Below are the pics.

Dad in nice surf wave 1/4 mile below the spillway.

Dennis gets in a surf.

Dad and Dennis at top of 20 stitches.

Dad in 20 stitches

Bottom of 20 stitches

Unknown boater in Fist.

Dennis in Fist

Dennis in Maze.

Mike Morrow in Maze.

Dennis dropping into 1st drop, Triple Drop.

Dennis drops into Triple Drop, day 2.

Catching the eddy above 2nd drop.

Dennis entering El Horrendo.

Dennis dropping off El Horrendo.

Mike Morrow.



Middle Cullasaja 12/10/05. Level was about 4.1 ft (100 cfs). Newton Tilson, Doug Benton and myself.


Alex in T-bone

Doug in T-bone



Cheoah Footage, Fall 2005. Some great footage Dennis Huntley sent me of Cheoah. I chopped it down for web viewing, so excuse the rough cuts. There are two parts.

Part 1 (.wmv, 17.6 Mb)

Part 2 (.wmv, 14.6 Mb)



If there are any pictures that you would like a higher resolution of (~1 Mb), let me know (ajflatspin@charter.net).

2001 Alex Harvey