By Eric Fleming.
Photos by Eric and BG Smith.
On Saturday, the 22nd of October, 12 paddlers put in at 2 Rivers Campground where the Ocoee River runs into the Hiwassee. Their goal: a 15-mile paddle down to the Charleston take out ramp As we headed down the river, we struggled with some pretty strong wind gusts. Lucky for these determined paddlers, the river meanders with some bank and tree protection, so we had sections of head winds and not the whole trip like you get in the TN River Gorge. Of course, the last two miles was straight into the wind. Ouch.
We had an awesome group of fast paddlers and we made good time—5.25 hours for the 15.4 mile trip. Taking out 45 minutes for the two breaks, we averaged 3.42 mph of paddling time (15.4 miles by 4.5 hours), which exceeded our goal of 3 mph despite a windy day. Our first break, about five miles into the paddle, was on a nice pebble beach on an island. At about nine miles, we took the second break on a nice sandy beach.
I was so proud of the whole group! A special thanks to shuttle drivers Ben, Eric B, and BG.