Photo by Joe Barkley
January started well for me with an awesome paddling trip in
Thankfully we got a good storm near the beginning of the month and I was able to run the
After the Horsepasture trip, the rest of January was dry. The Green didn’t run either, so I didn’t paddle for three weeks..then the skies clouded once again and we were blessed once again by liquid sunshine. My homework has been piling up recently so I planned to stay close to home and run the Cullasaja so I could take care of some other things as well, but the river reached a pretty high level and other options became available. I was heading to Overflow Creek for a high water run there with the Clemson crew when I called a friend to invite her along. I ended up scrapping my plans to paddle Overflow in favor of joining LVM at the Raven Fork. Several calls back and forth later, we decided that since the rain hadn’t been in the area long and the Raven Fork was already at 22”, it would be prudent to go elsewhere. Luckily the Smokies are peppered with great whitewater, so a quick trip over Clingman’s Dome, and we arrived at the West Prong.
Me and the boats at the put-in. Photo by Adriene Levknecht, courtesy of LiquidlogicLadiesLounge
We found the river very high when we got to the put-in but it didn’t take long to decide that we were destined to the Road Prong today. I had no knowledge of the Road Prong other than that it was the steepest creek I have heard to exist in this area, complete with rapids with names such as Dr. Kevorkian, Oncoming Traffic, and
Other than this creek being the steepest freaking thing you can imagine, the quality of the whitewater, which Grace accurately describes as being like ski moguls, is amazing. There is some badly placed wood in a few rapids but we ran all but a minor drop that had a big tree across the river in the pool just below. I headed home that evening with a new favorite creek.
The next morning I headed off to school hoping to get a run on at least the Cullasaja in the afternoon. I ended up getting a much better treat after Clay Wright called and said he was on his way to the Raven Fork! Photos and more on that later…