Being a student, I can make my schedule rather flexible when I need it to be. When I saw that there was a major rain event coming to the SE I promptly retrieved my boat from my parents house. When I was finally in possession of my boat I found myself in a predicament that I am often not familiar with: where to go? Chattanooga got slammed and was too high and Chattooga/ Highlands area was only on the fringes of the storm system. After deciding I'd have to miss out on my last class on Wednesday, I opted to go to Overflow and catch the Chattanooga area on its way down during the weekend.
I got to the Overflow Takeout at 1pm and saw that Burton, Chan, and Pat were ready to go and waiting for the group we were supposed to meet for at the takeout for their second lap. We checked the gauge and it was somewhere around 1.4. And we continued our wait knowing that we needed to get on the river soon. The group that we were supposed to meet at 1pm had a 6 hour lap on the river. By the time they showed up at 2:30-ish we were informed by Tim and Logan that there was new wood. After having an epic first lap, swims and all, they decided to forgo a second lap. So it was down to Burton(first D), Pat(first D), Me(Second), and Chan(only a handful of laps) and we were looking at a put in time somewhere around 3pm. After considering a High flow Section 4 run we decided to stick with are guns and run what we had come up there for.
Tim dropped us off at the putin and we scurried down to the river knowing that we were potentially pushing daylight limits. After the first rapid, the pace wasn't looking great... Pat broke his blade somewhere in Hemlock Falls which required Chan to resort to handpaddles and fork his paddle over to Pat. After this episode, things began to turn around. We only had to portage one log in the hemlock section. The pace picked up and before you knew it we were bombing off the big drops and boat scouting everything. (We had good beta from the group before on wood). We had one mishap at a slide that goes vert, but the peices were picked up quickly. At this point it was getting darker and we were on a mission to get below pinball. We Blue Angeled pinball and everyone seemed to have less than optimum lines. I ended up running the bottom looking back up at the group behind me. We had one mishap there against the bottom right wall. After picking up the pieces it was getting cold and dark. By the time we reached Fat Lady it was dark. We pulled off at the bridge and the gauge read 1.2.
All in all we had completed the run in one piece. We had originally thought that any mishap would result in hiking out, but after having both of the first timers swim we found our trip to be at a fun and comfortable boogie pace.
Burton and I went into town to grab a bite to eat and talk about what we were going to run the next day. We decided on the West Fork of the French Broad because we both had to be back in ATL by 3pm. We set a time to meet at the outfitter at 7:30am. I went to Tims Cabin and he went to Franklin to visit some friends.
The next morning we met at the outfitter slightly late and it was truly cold (low20s). We went to search for the putin and takeout for the West Fork. After driving up and down the road, we found some fellow boaters suiting up and were informed that we were actually on the North Fork. We decided to run the NF due to our time restraints and hike out after Submarine(the last sig rapid).
Burton and I boogied on down to the takeout below Submarine and only stopped to take some pictures at Boxcar. We hiked the steep trail out to the car and made it out on time to get back to ATL.
As I was driving back to Atlanta I passed over the Horsepasture and Whitewater rivers, and I saw the many beautiful vistas at the many overlooks. I even stopped to take a few photos of a very juiced up Whitewater Falls. Then it was quickly back to the road to get back to class at 4:30. As I was driving over the last crest on Highway 11 that you can see the rugged mountains, I looked back in my rear-view mirror and I made my decision to return that weekend to run the Horsepasture. Little did I know that I had only scratched the surface of the breathtaking beauty that the Jocassee area beholds.