By Eric Fleming.
Thirteen paddlers put into the Sequatchie River in Jasper at 10 am on Sept 24th for a five mile paddle down the last section of the River and then up nearly two miles of the Tennessee River to the ramp below Nickajack Dam. The river was very low due to the drought and we hit a shallow spot about a half mile below the put in, but it was fine after that. At the confluence of the Sequatchie and Tennessee Rivers we took a break on a beautiful sandy beach and some of us went swimming. The water felt sooo good. While paddling up to the dam we saw a guy in a row boat coming downstream. He had a post for a sail but it was dead calm so he had his sail down. I asked him how far he was going and he said Nashville!!. What!!. Turns out he’s a very well known explorer and he was retracing pioneer John Donelson’s 1779 1000 mile journey with 100 settlers to Nashville. This was only the latest of his many expeditions (see photo below). You must Google John Guilder. Donelson’s Journey 2016. Wow, very interesting stuff. I can’t even imagine doing a trip like that in such a heavy rowing boat that he built himself as a replica of the original journey. After the paddle, we went to the nearby Western Sizzler, although I didn’t see anything sizzling. Pretty basic stuff but filling. The day after our paddle, Randy Whorton from While Trails, a Chattanooga adventurer, started on a epic journey paddling the whole length of Tennessee from near the Kentucky border to Chattanooga on a SUP!!. That’s a journey of 303 miles and he’s hoping to do it in under 6 days (That’s over 50 miles per day). Wow, unbelievable. And then there’s the Ironman. A lot of sick people out there!! Thanks to all of you who volunteered to help with the Ironman on Sept 25th. Just thinking about it all is making me tired. I think I need a nap!!