Do you have a bucket list? I don't have an official one, but I do have a mental list of things that I'd really like to do. White water rafting is one of those things. I wasn't sure if I'd ever get the opportunity to go, but earlier this year a couple of our friends started planning a trip to get a group together and go. We jumped at the chance. Luckily for us, my parents agreed to watch our girls and our dogs so we could be kid free for the trip! Awesome parents, right?!
|World's Largest Peanut Monument|
We spent the fourth of July at my parents house and left early the next morning for our cabin in North Carolina. I am an awesome navigator, so along our 8 hour trip I looked up some fun touristy sites on Roadside America to stop at on our way. Our first stop, the World's Largest Peanut in Ashburn, GA. So silly, but fun to stop and take pictures!
|Turner Field in Atlanta, GA|
I was the official photographer as we drove through Atlanta, GA, but that didn't stop the hubby from trying to be tour guide as he drove. He worked in logistics for the Summer Olympics held there in 1996, so he was very excited to point out all the sites. Although, I'd rather he kept his eyes on that twisty highway!
|BBQ Restaurant we wish we could have stopped at!|
|GA mountain. Can you see the cross?|
We finally made it to Murphy, NC. A friend's parents own a place that they rent out, so they were nice enough to let us use it for the weekend. It worked out perfectly. I'd never even heard of Murphy, but after posting about our trip on Facebook, it seemed that everyone else we knew had been there. Very surprising, considering how small it is. Most of our group didn't even get cell reception for most of the trip.
The big focus of our trip was the white water rafting and we couldn't wait to go. The day of our reservations was quite rainy, but that didn't stop us. The scariest thing was the hour drive in to Tennessee through those twisty mountain roads in the rain. We won't even talk about the bus that sped through those roads to get us to our launch site! Better not to look is all I know. We met our guide, Brian, with Nantahala Outdoor Center and were lucky to get good guy that could deal with our slightly loud and obnoxious group.
After we got our instruction, we were off in our raft ready to brace ourselves for the Ocoee River. I wasn't very comforted to see a guy fall out of his raft on the very first rapid, since that was what I was dreading. That water is cold people, and I really don't want to be floating (very quickly) in it all by myself! We did have one close call where we got tossed around pretty good on a rapid called Double Suck. It pretty much double sucked! Especially for Liz, who got knocked backward into the water with her feet still securely locked into the boat. Don't worry, she wasn't under long before we got her pulled back in! I think our guide was quite impressed we all managed to stay in. I attribute that to our teamwork that I'm sure we all got from playing soccer together weekly.
It was a great time and Brian took very good care of us. We may have gotten a bit competitive with a couple of the other boats with our chanting and oar splashing fights, but it was all in good fun. I think everyone had fun watching the lot of us trying to get back in our raft after we jumped our for a swim. I can only assume so after all the stares we got as we floundered around like fish after we were pulled back in.
On our way out of town, we decided to brave the rain and sight see at the Ocoee River Olympic whitewater venue that was upstream from where we rafted. The site was one of my hubby's venues that he worked at and he was excited to stop and see it again after all these years.
The Ocoee is very interesting because it was the only in-river course to be used for Olympic slalom competition. They built it when the riverbed was dry, narrowing it and moving boulders and cementing them in place to create drops and eddies. When we were there, the water was pretty high from all of the rain. We heard some of the later rafting trips were cancelled due to the raging waters.
Such a beautiful place, I'd love to bring my girls back to experience it. We were able to go on a tubing trip the next day, down some of the calmer waters of the Toccoa River. I know the girls would love to do that, despite the chilly waters. I took some pictures with my disposable water camera, but haven't been able to get them developed yet. Should be interesting to see what those pictures look like!
The trip is one I will never forget. We were so lucky to be able to experience it with such great friends, where we made so many fun memories! The rain couldn't cramp our fun. If you ever get the chance to go white water rafting, I highly recommend it, especially if it is with a fun and crazy bunch of people!