When I sent out the reminder about our joint trip with NERA on the Coosawattee River I said that good boating skills would be needed to do the trip due to the current and trees down, and NERA did the same. In the past we’ve had 70 paddlers on this trip, but that advice cut it down to around 30 this year.
We met at the put in below Carters Dam at 2 pm on 4/16, ran shuttle, did a safety talk, and then put on. It was deceivingly calm and looked easy enough.
The problem is that they had all the spillways open on the dam a lot over the winter just like we had the Chickamauga Dams all open due to all the rain. It caused terrible bank erosion which caused a lot of trees to fall into the river.
NERA did a great job of clearing a path a couple of weeks ago so that we could make it down without getting out of our boats. The problem was that the water was pushy and any small miscalculation quickly multiplied into trouble.
BG and I had a busy afternoon as we assisted with 6 swimmer rescues and 3 boat recoveries, and there were at least 2 more swimmers that I know of. Everyone made good decisions, and jumped in to help, and everyone made it to the takeout safely.
At the private takeout we had BBQ and live music at a lovely spot, so I think it will be a paddle we’ll all remember for a long time.
A special thanks to NERA for inviting us, and for a job well done.