This past Saturday (8/19/2017) was the Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts (http://www.riverapes.org/) annual river trips on the Nolichucky Gorge geared for first timers. This river trip has been a staple event almost every year for the club since its establishment all the way back in 1986. The APE’s also leads a trip on the Lower Nolichucky during this event for an easier whitewater river trip option.
For the past 6 years the APE’s Cruise Director has had the pleasure to work with USA Raft to make this trip run like a well oiled machine. USA Raft provides the APE’s a great place to stage and use their facility for the put-in/take-out for both the gorge and lower river trips. They also provide shuttle service using one of their raft buses and a trailer to haul all the kayaks to the gorge put-in. After the river trips, the APE’s picnic is hosted back at USA Raft in their café facility. All this together makes for a fantastic river experience for all the paddlers thanks to USA Raft!
This year’s gorge trip was once again another good time for all who joined! The group had a nice 825 CFS river level and the weather was warm & sunny. 23 paddlers were in the group that included: 13 kayakers, 1 ThrillKat and three raft crews. The group only has two first timers this year, so the trip was modified from year’s past. Part of the group focused on guiding the first timers in a successful descent. Another group worked and played the run in every possible way. This made it a thrilling run for everyone!
After the river trips, both the gorge paddlers and the lower paddlers came together with other who could not make the river trips in one large group to have a wonderful gathering at the annual APE’s picnic. During the picnic, Rahual Subramanian, was awarded the “APE’s Rookie of the Year” award for his many PFD and progression through this paddling season. Good food and fellowship were had by all in attendance!