Splash and Zip
Rafting on the Nantahala River
Cheryl has many times described the fun she had in Arizona on a 4 day rafting trip down the Colorado River when she was in her twenties. So when we drove along the side of the Ocoee River last Sunday, she wasn’t any longer going to be put off repeating the experience. The Ocoee River is the site of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics canoe slalom and water is released on weekends by the TVA to provide fun for the many rafters and boaters who use this area. Waiting for the next weekend water release wasn’t an option for us so with some local advice, we booked a trip on the Nantahala River, site of the 2013 World Kayaking Championships. We had a great ride down the river gorge under the capable helmsmanship of Mark from Wildwater, with the final rapid descent captured by their on-staff photographer.
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Zip-lining over the Nantahala Gorge
Zip-lining was another matter. Don’t let the brochures about being one with Nature, peacefully soaring above the canopy fool you. It is a Theme Park ride in a forest! Cheryl was pretty hesitant about this activity after a morning of rafting. However, after some peer pressure from two lady Australians we had met, she finally agreed to take to the treetops with us. There was a practice session organize by our two guides to build up confidences and go over the equipment. I’m quite familiar with the safety harness system having taught for a short time with the Outward Bound corporate training programs. Because of this, I was able to be pretty calm about taking off 100′ over the ground (even though I don’t look it).
Cheryl did a fantastic job of overcoming her fears and completing 10 zip-line rides with only a couple of bruised ankles caused by a ‘late braking’ incident. Her final ride was perfect, ending up arriving at the end platform at the desired speed of zero mph – a perfect landing.
I found the hardest part (other than worrying about hitting trees on the way) was to judge my approach speed at the end, and not to engage the ‘panic brake’ when it looked like I was approaching too fast. I had a great time, but I don’t think Cheryl will repeat the experience – but she deserves a medal for achieving this!