Our zipline adventure began with a short drive to Wildwater Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours.
|All harnessed up and ready to fly!|
And the bridges between some of the platforms were a lot of fun too. There were narrow ones, bouncy ones, and some with intentionally missing planks! I think the long, bouncy one was my favorite!
We had a blast flying through the forest, hanging out high in the trees, bounding across bridges, and learning about the plants surrounding us from our guides.
If you ever have the opportunity to go ziplining, take it!
The next day we were off to the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) for a half day of whitewater rafting. Looking at the Nantahala River at 9:00am, it didn't look like much of anything - in fact, I wondered if the water was even deep enough to need a raft!
|Kayaking course at 9am|
|Looking up-river at 9am|
|Kayaking Course at Noon|
|Looking up-river at Noon|
We met our guides, donned splash jackets and PFD's, and were herded into a covered area where we were shown how to sit properly on the edges of the raft, basic paddle strokes, and watched a brief video about what to do if someone fell out of the raft. Then it was live demo time! One of the guides called Mr. R&R up to demonstrate the whitewater swimmer's position, as well as how to pull someone out of the water.
After the demo, we were issued our paddles, loaded onto a bus, divided into rafts, and driven to the put-in point 8 miles away. Most of the rafts contained 6-8 people plus a guide, but Mr. R&R and I only had one other couple in our raft (John & Terri from Charlotte), and our guide was the same guide that had called upon Mr. R&R to demonstrate the whitewater swimmer's position! We pushed off from the shore and took up a position behind the two other rafts on our trip. It turns out that the reason we were behind everyone else is that our guide was the head guide and we were the 'medical' raft if something went wrong!
Almost immediately we came up on our first rapid, Patton's Run (Class II+). We paddled hard, got splashed a bunch, and everyone came through it smiling and laughing! As we paddled on, our guide, Marion, told us about the area, pointed out some assorted flora and fauna, and was packed with fantastic and sarcastic stories - including one about intentionally flipping a raft filled with over-confident firefighters! She also told us that sometimes, after really heavy rains, that the dam releases water all night instead of shutting off at 5pm - and that's when the guides really have some fun in their off hours. Apparently a group of them will take a raft out and run the river at midnight in total darkness! How cool is that?
Just over half way through the trip we came up to a rapid called The Quarry (Class II). The water was churning and foamy, and as we went through it, Mr. R&R was tossed from the raft! Everyone in our raft reacted exactly like they were supposed to. Mr. R&R got himself into the whitewater swimmers position, while Marion and Terri passed their paddles of to John and I. In no time at all, Marion was hauling Mr. R&R out of the 55 degree water and back into the raft while telling him that his position on the raft wasn't called 'The Adventure Seat' for nothing! Once everyone was settled back into the raft, we continued along the river through more Class II rapids, dropping over ledges, intentionally spinning the raft through others, and even attempting to "surf" one of them!
Finally we approached our last rapid of the day: Nantahala Falls (Class III). The water was wild and wavy as we paddled through it, splashing us from all sides and providing one hell of a ride!
I'd never been whitewater rafting prior to this trip, but Mr. R&R and I agreed that it was one of the most fun (and ab-destroying) things we've ever done! On our next trip we want to find a river with Class III and IV rapids, because if a little adrenaline is good, then more is better (unless you hear banjo music)!