Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Check One off the Bucket List -White Water Rafting

Our 6 year old grandson, Eli is just too funny sometimes. He spent several days with us a couple of weeks ago and on the way home from church we were discussing how funny he was. Jerry said that when he grew up he should become a comedian. Eli’s response was “you can be paid for being funny?” When I replied yes he emphatically said “Well Missy, get a hustle on”! He usually calls me G or GiGi but never have I been referred to as Missy. Of course Eli got the response he wanted as both Jerry and I burst out laughing.

Well, yesterday I gave Jerry the website for the Nantahala Outdoor Recreation site to see if he was interested in white water rafting. Considering the expense I had no idea what he would say. He burst in the room with a “Missy, get a hustle on and let’s go” so I began planning the day. Since neither of us had ever been white water rafting we decided on the 3 hour ride which had beginner status. The times were 9:00, 10:00, and 1:00. I was leaning towards 1:00 as I thought it might be warmer then but Jerry suggested 10:00 so that’s what we decided on.

Wednesday morning was covered in fog and the weather forecast called for rain around 2:00. We were supposed to be at NOC by 9:30 and since we didn’t know exactly how long it would take us to get there we left a little after 8:00. That was a good decision because before we could get too far out of Maggie Valley we ran into a road block. Trees and power lines were down and they had no idea how long it would be before traffic was allowed. The poor man delivering the message said he had already been cussed out twice before we got there. We asked for directions, thanked him and began an alternate route to NOC. We ended up on the Blue Ridge Parkway which continued to be foggy except when the blinding sun shone through on the highway. Needless to say it was full of ups and downs and winding roads. I’m quite sure it is a beautiful drive when the weather is good and there are no worries about being late for an appointment. If we were late, we forfeited the $100 we paid so we continued on. We actually arrived almost exactly at 9:30, right on time.

After we checked in and signed the appropriate waivers we walked around a bit. I had been told to be sure we were with good strong adults. There were two children in the group accompanied by their GiGi and Papa. Guess who we were paired with? Yep, you got it. No strength there.

After getting fitted with PFD, personal flotation devices or more commonly known to us as life preservers we watched an introductory film on riding the rapids. Although it was unlikely to happen we were instructed on what to do should we fall out of the raft. Head up, toes up and hopefully get back in the raft. Do not stand up as the bottom is full of rocks that could do a lot of damage.

The river depth is controlled by a dam and stays a pretty consistent 55 degrees. In other words, pretty chilly! We were instructed on how to place our feet to best secure us in the raft. My feet were in cold water although as the ride progressed I’m not sure if they acclimated to the cold water or if they were just numb but the water didn’t bother me. Poor Jerry stuck his foot in the instructed area. The GiGi in front of him elected not to it on the side of the raft but right on top of Jerry’s foot. He couldn’t move it, couldn’t get it out so there was never any danger of him falling out of the raft!

It was an uneventful ride in that no one fell over. We did get stuck on a rock a couple of times and our guide, Orion had to get out and manually push us off. Both of the kids jumped in for a very brief swim. It was a fun ride, not quite as challenging as I had thought though. Jerry and I both decided that we’d like to go again but would like a more adventuresome ride the next time.

We’re looking a little rough here!No pride!
After the ride we went to a nearby restaurant River’s End and had burgers. I had a hot cup of coffee too! Jerry said his burger was delicious, mine not so much but the view was beautiful and the service was great. Afterward we wandered around the gift shop and wonders never cease – I didn’t buy a magnet or t-shirt!

With the detour no longer in force we had a shorter ride back to the RV park and I headed right toward a warm shower. Ah, it felt so good. I was still a bit chilled though so I went outside and just sat in the warm sun until I thawed out completely. It took my poor feet a while!

We had earlier decided that we would return to Maggie’s Seafood Restaurant where we had eaten last year. I wanted some rainbow trout which is what I had gotten last year. Jerry had gotten gator bites last year but this year decided to join me in getting the trout. We had calamari for an appetizer and then the trout, mine broiled, his fried. Although mine was good Jerry didn’t enjoy his as much so guess we won’t be returning to Maggie’s next time we are in the area.

Back to the coach and a little preparation for leaving in the morning. Hoping to be on the road by 9:00 as we’ve got a little over 200 miles to go and an errand to run once we get settled.

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