Sat, Jul 23 2016 - Ocoee River Upper [Olympic] AND Middle Sections Overnight Adventure! (View Original Event Details)

Trip Leader(s): Grant Brown
Participants:Grant Brown, Bob D., Nancy B, Bo, Gayle M., Bill S, Doug Johnston, Michael Chandler, Mamatha, Tatiana, Lori Klibanoff, J Guthrie, Julie, John aka Comrade, Kristi, Cathy

Write Up:

We had a really great weekend on the Ocoee in Tennessee.  The destination is very popular this time of year.  There are 22 rafting companies and there were hundreds of people on the river.  After a half hour bus ride, we arrived at the Upper section put in.  This area is a dry river bed most of the time and so, trees grow throughout the old channel.  Once flooded again from dam release, the area is a labyrinth of paths through the hundreds of trees growing the in river bed.  The guides call it The Jungle.  It is a really unique ride through all the trees and that was the just the beginning of the beauty.  Our trip left mid-afternoon and so it put us out on the river until dusk.  This gave us the chance to not be as hot in the 99 degree daytime highs.  Also, the light of the setting sun and the mountain shadows were a gorgeous calming contrast to the turbulence of the class 4 and 5 rapids.  We split the group into boats of 5 and 6.  Our guide, Ben, was a favorite for the ladies!  He was very knowledgeable about the geology and flora of the river and had accomplished so much already in his life by through-hiking the AT and doing a self-guided run of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in January with some of the other NOC guides.  The tension was building as we prepared at the top of the Olympic section, our guide told us to “lock in guys and keep your ears on me!”  Honestly, the Goliath and Humongous rapids of this section were over before we knew it, but it was a blast!  Ben continuously complimented our boat’s paddling effort and we sailed through all rapids without issue.  He was an excellent and strong driver too.  Jean took a swim mid-rapid, as did a few others.  But, with all the safety briefing and kayak rescue all were easily pulled back in their boats.  After the river, we returned to the outpost for a shower and then a 5 minute drive up the road to the Ocoee Retreat Center Walnut lodge.  It was a unique lodge with full size mattress bunk beds.  We snacked and cooked some food and struggled to get a fire going with some very wet wood. We hung out, played guitar songs until after midnight.  The lodge had a/c, which was nice and we slept well for the most part [less a little bit of wood sawing going on : )]  The next morning we had coffee and departed.  Some folks did some hiking and lake swimming.  All in all, it was a great weekend.  Thanks to all who participated and see you next year!  Here is a link to some cabin photos as our river photo disc did not work: