Narrative and Photo provided by Betsy Westerfield
I have been paddling since about 2001 and what I love most about it is that it is something my husband Augie and I both love and share. I also love that paddling has brought me good friends and the opportunity to enjoy nature where all my day to day stresses disappear.
I mostly paddle the middle Ocoee, Hiwassee, and middle Tellico, Class III+ in my Dagger Nomad white-water kayak. To me, paddling is pretty much a year-round event as I often paddle in the winter if the sun is shining and it is forecasted to be a high in the 50s.
My most memorable river experience is my first rafting trip down the Ocoee. Unbeknownst to me, my river guide was my soul mate and future husband. In my late thirties I had never been married and was living in Atlanta. I came up here to go rafting with my sister and we got Augie as our raft guide. I flirted some on the way down the river even though I never have mastered the art of flirting. I had always wanted to live in the country even though I grew up in a big city. I never dreamed that Augie and I would end up a couple, but that winter I quit my job, sold my house and moved to the Ocoee area to become a river guide. I went to Ocoee River Rats that spring looking for a job and Augie was at the outpost. He trained me to be a river guide, charmed me and we feel in love and have been happily ever after since then with our Wonder Dog, Ike. We were married in 2004.
My goal as a Board member is to attend every meeting so no one else has to take minutes and to expand my circle of friends. Also, to help the club that has been instrumental in my happiness over the last decade or so.