Noli Gorge paddlers ready for shuttle.

Saturday, August 22, 2015, was the Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts annual first timer’s trip on the Nolichucky River.  We had a warm clear day with partly cloudy skies and temps in the 80′s for our river trips.  The river flow was a low 390 CFS on the Embreeville Gauge, which made for a steeper more channelized run for our Gorge first timers.  We organized both a Nolichucky Gorge trip (Class III at this level) lead by several of our top gun APE’s and a Lower Nolichucky River trip (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 36 boats on top of the bus and a boat trailer.  Then we got rolling toward the put-in with all our gear!  An impressive feat by itself!  We had 37 total participates on the Gorge trip with 11 first timers.  The gorge boaters split into several smaller groups at the put-in and paired up experience gorge boaters (Big thanks to: Ryan Horn, Ryan Shealy, Jennifer Bradley, Jamison Evans, Bill Schooley & Elliot Lavery as our river guides) to show lines and set safety for our first timers.  We also had several other safety boater to help with sweep and safety also!  Thanks to all who helped in this effort.  It would have not been a successful trip without all of you!

Scouting Second Drop of Quarter Mile.  Photo by Curt Wilhoit

Murphy’s Ledge of Quarter Mile.  Photo by Jerry Griffin

There were some swims by a few of the participants during the trip in On the Rocks, Quarter Mile and Rooster Tail.  However all swims were cleaned up quickly with our safety boaters and everyone finished the run with no major incidents.  

Bottom of Rooster Tail. Photo by Jerry Griffin

Lots of progression occurred on this river trip also.  We had a couple of chances to stop and surf at Jaws and Twin Eddies.  Despite the low river level these two spots were still really good for river play!  Congrats goes out to one of first timers, Alex Crow, for completing his first ever 360 spins in both directions in his kayak at Twin Eddies.  Overall many paddlers on the gorge trip said they had a great time, so mission accomplished!

Gorge Take-out. Photo by Morris Caddell Jr

Check out Morris Caddell’s video of the gorge trip with this link:

The Lower Noli trip had a great turn out also!  Debbie led a group of 14 paddlers on a run from the USA Raft Outpost to the parking area take-out near High Road/Low Road Rapid.  Good times were had by all on the Lower trip!

Lower Noli paddlers.  Photo by Mikie Fields

After we got off the river, we all met back up at the USA Raft Outpost to have a picnic dinner catered by Chef Les Lollar and his cooks.  We all enjoyed some very tasty BBQ pork, grilled chicken and several side dishes for the main course!  Then we had ice cream for dessert!!  After the meal many stayed around for fellowship, a game of volley ball and river tales.  Then we topped off the day with a WORLDKAYAK.COM prize drawing for all the participants and many went home with some nice prizes to top off the day thanks to WK Program Partners!