Report by Wesley R. Bradley

The Dalton Brothers (Matt & Josh) have been local Tri-Cities, TN whitewater pioneers for many years now.  They both were the first two local boaters in our area to break +100′ waterfall huck back in 2012:

Matt has had his eye on a stretch of whitewater for a possible 1st D way up in the Laurel Fork Watershed in Carter County, TN at the confluence of Firescald Branch and Little Laurel Fork.  I had the pleasure of going on a scouting mission with Matt a few weeks ago after a fabulous Laurel Fork run with him to check out this place and I came away amazed by the possibility.  Lots of big mostly clean slides stacked on top of each other with relatively easy access.

After recent local heavy rains the Laurel Fork got up to 25″ on the visual gauge at the take-out, so Matt and Josh rallied to see if they could give these drops a go.  Matt fired down the larger slide of Little Laurel Fork at the confluence pictured above.  He described what happed at the bottom as a “Turtlely Tu – It was unexpected. I got lucky, but that Aquabound paddle didn’t make it.”

Congrats, Matt!  You bagged one of the last few remaining true First Descents in our area!!  Now what are you going to name the drop, since you ran it first (Here is the list of names he has comprised: the jangler, hadron collider, one-punch Mickey, t-shirt cannon, hellbender, FGM, sir bananas, cruisin’ USA, battle toads, and master exploder)?

Photos by Josh Dalton