Greetings World Kayak paddlers and other interested parties! My favorite time of the year, festival season, is finally upon us! Whitewater Festival Season usually extends from the first weekend in March, till around May.
Things usually start off with ALF (Ain’t Louie Fest), which I unfortunately missed this year. ALF is a rampantly growing Open Boat Festival set in the Great Smoky Mountains. Folks normally camp at the KOA in Lenoir City then all head out on paddling excursions together. Generally speaking, kayakers try to crash this week-long open boat party at all times. The fest usually ends up with an impromptu race through the Ledges Section of the Tellico River. Two guys this year actually raced a 55 gallon plastic drum that had been converted into an open boat over Baby Falls. So Louie, if you’re reading this (which I’m almost sure you’re not), to you and your buds, great job on creating such a cool event for the Southeast!
This coming weekend is the Alabama Mountain Games. Set at Boogie Bottoms Resort in Cleveland, AL (north of Birmingham), the AMG is always a great time and is usually my season opener. Originally founded by Jeremy Adkins and Gavin Rains, this festival was originally called NAWF (North Alabama Whitewater Festival). The name was changed when they started integrating other new sports into the Festival. With events like a DISC GOLF TOURNEY, FREESTYLE WHITEWATER KAYAKING, BOATER X, WATERFALL BIG TRICK CONTEST, this event is surely not one to miss. We normally camp out from Thursday till Sunday, rock out to the killer tunes played by local bands nightly, and wander from campsite to campsite, making new friends and visiting with old ones. And we all remember the key phrase here, that “Anything can happen at the Mountain Games!” By the way, this will be my second year volunteering for gate guard duty, so look for my wife, Marisa and I at the front drive-in gate Friday and Saturday night from 6-8pm!