By Cheryl Killman

Saturday, August 24, 2013, was the Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts annual first timer’s trip on theNolichuckyRiver.  We had a nearly perfect day with mostly clear sunny skies and temps in the low 80’s for our river trips.  The river flow was around 1,100 CFS on the Embreeville Gauge and this was a prime level for the first timers ready to take on the mighty Nolichucky Gorge!  We organized both a Nolichucky Gorge trip (Class III-IV) lead by Wesley R. Bradley and aLowerNolichuckyRivertrip (Class II) lead by Debbie Briscoe.

The Noli Gorge trip participates met up at USA Raft at the take-out to load up all of our boats on one of USA’s buses for a shuttle up to the put-in in Poplar, NC.  The group managed to load up all 29 boats on top of the bus and get rolling toward the put-in in less than an hour with all our gear!  An impressive feat by itself!  We had 29 total participates on the Gorge trip with 9 first timers.  We split into smaller groups at the put-in and paired up experience gorge boaters to show lines and set safety for our first timers.  There were some swims and even a broken paddle during the trip, but thanks to good preparedness and safety everyone made it to the take-out with big smiles!  Good times, good times!

TheLower Nolitrip had a great turn out too!  Debbie led a group of 16 paddlers with two first timers on a run from the USA Raft Outpost to the parking area take-out near the Sawmill below Devil’s Looking Glass Rapid.  Our local Team River Runners Chapter also rallied 8 paddlers with 4 first timers to run theLower Nolitrip in conjunction with Debbie’s trip.  Good times were had by all on the Lower!

After we all got off the river we met back up at the USA Raft Outpost to have a picnic dinner catered by Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina.  We all enjoyed some tasty burritos and tacos with all the fixings for the main course!  Some APE’s members brought some really good desserts to share with the rest of the group too!  After the meal many stayed around for fellowship and river tales to top off a great day!

Steve Moore Noli Gorge Video

[youtube width=”480″ height=”316″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ir3ujOvZnrM [/youtube]