Friday, March 27, 2009

Nolichucky Outpost Update

by Steven Sherill, Outpost Manager

Up here at the Nolichucky, we have been taking advantage of the good water with several staff trips. On Sunday, we had our official opening day with two different trips. The mild weather was great for March! Both went well as everyone seemed to have a great time and there were no swimmers.

Most trips this time of year are on weekends, so we fill our time with a lot of spring cleaning. We have gotten a lot of yard work done as well as replacing the refrigerator at the outpost kitchen. It's a little early for training, but I'm looking to get some new guides on the water in the next few weeks. Other than that, we're watching the water level rise with all this rain!

We hope to see you this spring on the Nolichucky.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fantasy Island Day

It's day three of Raft Guide School today, which means it's Fantasy Island Day, or Groundhog Day. However you call it, the raft guides spend all day running Nantahala Falls in its various lines.

Guide hopefulls start by running the falls.

Then, they have to negotiate their raft up the stairs at the photo deck.

Veteran NOC instructors then give feedback on each run of the falls.

Finally, it's a group raft haul back to the concrete beach to do it all over!

Thanks to fantastic weather, it's a great March day on the Nanty!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Training on the Cheoah River

Check out some pictures from this weekend's Cheoah River release! A group of NOC guides began their extensive training on this extreme river in far western North Carolina. The limited water releases on this river means training starts early, no matter the weather. Their instructors are veteran NOC guides who have been working this river since releases began back in 2005.

Getting ready to hit a big wave.

The guides get feedback from instructor Will Norris.

Running the big one, Bear Creek Falls.

The next Cheoah release weekend is April 4-5.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

French Broad Outpost Spring Update

NOC’s French Broad river guides had their first day on the water Monday, when they led a group of 50 down the river, and another 18 guests on Wednesday. Both groups were treated to unseasonably warm weather, and plenty of whitewater. Today, our second session of Raft Guide School Students are testing their mettle on the free-flowing French Broad River.

Outpost manager Eli Helbert says that the outpost is continuing preparations for a big season in 2009. “We're doing some spring cleaning,” said Helbert. "We're also excited to be updating our fleet of rafts with 12 bright yellow boats."

The NOC Hot Springs outpost (takeout) will be the location for the Headwaters Institute interpretive presentation on April 30. Area specialists will talk about the natural history, flora and fauna of the river basin. The following day, NOC’s French Broad guides will lead a river clean-up to proceed the French Broad River Festival.

We hope you'll join us at the French Broad this year!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Nantahala Rafting Underway!

Last Saturday we took our first guests of the season down the mighty Nantahala! It was warm, bright and sunny with temperatures in the middle 70s--it was even warm enough for some swimming. Just a perfect day all the way around.

Right now is the perfect time to see the Nantahala Gorge come back to life from its winter hibernation on an uncrowded river. Any day now the Gorge will burst into color as spring flowers emerge and tree buds pop open. Robins are building their nests. Woodpeckers are drilling new holes in trees. Herons are fishing from the shallow gravel bars and mallards are showing our raft guides how its really done on the water, navigating rapids and catching eddies as if they were born with webbed feet.

Rivers End Restaurant is now open daily from 8:00 am through 7:00 pm for a pre-rafting breakfast or an after river feast. You can't go wrong with our home-made pizzas with the dough made from scratch or our worldfamous chili or half-pound Wesser Burgers made with pure Angus Beef.

Spring time is a great time on the river, and we hope to see you soon!