3.31.2009

Got some good Tennessee boating in this weekend. Ran Cain Creek into the North Chick on Friday. It was a full-on run, starting with the micro creek of Cain, and flowing into some bigger water creeking on the North Chick. Walked Vortex on Cain, which looked big and scary, and cracked my boat just below the seat on Big Splat, which necessitated some patch work on the side of the river. We worked our way onto the Chick through some pretty intense boulder gardens, and some blind drops on the bottom of Cain. It turned into a 12 or 13 mile day; we were probably on the river for a little over 6 hours. I swam once after getting my paddle stuck between two rocks on a somewhat manky drop. All of my gear was recovered, save one of my gloves. I was fine too; the swim was pretty easy, though I almost leaked out of an eddy and into a rock.

We had 5 swims throughout the group of 12. Everyone was pretty tired by the end, and my boat was sloshing with water from my somewhat-patched crack. It was a great run overall; the gradient just never really stopped. I don't think we ever had an eddy or slack water larger than an average living room. I've ran harder and longer runs, but never a run near this length with this sort of sustained difficulty.

We grabbed a hotel room that night so we could dry out my boat and slap on a heat-enforced duct tape weld, which held up for the rest of the weekend. The next morning, after calling around for gauge readings and visuals, we headed to the Sinks of the Little, up in the Smoky Mountains. It was a gorgeous run. Unfortunately, the biggest drop of the sinks, an 11' or so falls, had a log in it that prevented us from running it safely. We portaged, and ran the rest of the run. Some good, mellow boulder gardens, and a couple almost-blind drops that we boat scouted. It was a good day, and a nice reprive from the intensity of Friday.

We camped outside of Wartburg, TN, played some dice, and slept through a short thunderstorm. The next morning we got up early, did a quick canvassing of the campground, and headed to the Lower Crooked. We had considered doing the upper, but it was running high and there was a 20' falls that we didn't really want to deal with on the upper. Add that to the upper's short length, and we were in for a high-water run on the lower. We ran into a couple of guys from Knoxville and ran down with them. The run was all right, with some interesting boulder gardens and ledge drops at the beginning and end, though they were separated by a few miles of class II. All of the drops were pretty straight-forward as well; I don't think I'd get back on it unless some of the other runs in the area like the Little Clear or Island were dry.

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