BSA Troop 328

Oak Ridge, Tennessee

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Whitewater Rafting

On the weekend of September 12-13 the troop went whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River near Topton, NC. We had 14 scouts and 4 adults participate. We booked our trip with Carolina Outfitters and they did an excellent job. Our guides knew what they were doing and the whole trip went very smoothly. We met at Kern UMC at 11:00AM and were on the road by 11:20. It was cloudy when we left the church but the skies were clear when we arrived at the outfitter around 1:45PM for our trip scheduled for 2:30PM. The scouts played football while we waited. After being issued our PFD's and sitting through the safety talk, we loaded onto a shuttle bus and headed over to the put-in. We had three rafts and 2 guides (so one of the rafts did not have a guide). The guided rafts sailed down the river smoothly, but the unguided raft seemed to be on a mission to hit every rock and head down the rapids backwards, sideways, or spinning. At one point the unguided raft nailed a large rock head on at full speed and got stuck so badly that two of the adults had to get out a push it off. About 1/3 of the way through our 8 1/2 mile trip, the guides had us pull over to the bank and get out of the rafts. We flipped the rafts over and the guides stacked them up and lashed them together into a diving platform. It was a lot of fun climbing up a jumping into the river, although the water temperature was about 48F so that first plunge took your breath away. Near the end of the trip we stopped again to climb up and checkout a cave in the side of the river gorge. After about 2 hours on the river, all three rafts safely made it to take-out just below the Nantahala Outdoor Center. We were shuttled back to the outfitters where we changed into dry clothes and head for Rattler Ford campground. After getting lost on the way to the campground, we finally got there around 6:30PM. Rattler Ford is run by the US Forest Service and is for group camping only. We had reserved sites 1 and 2 and we had plenty of room. After setting up camp we built a fire and cooked hot dogs for dinner. As a special treat we also had a large pot of homemade chili (it was totally awesome!). We woke up Sunday morning to discover that it had rained during the night, but the skies were again clear. We packed up camp and headed for home. Two scouts got car sick on the way back down the Dragon's Tail (Hwy 129) so we didn't get back to the church until 11:30AM.

Packing Checklist (what to bring with you)
Outfitter Waiver Form (everyone must have one)
Forest Service Map (Rafting is at #16, Rattler Ford campground is at #20)

Scouts playing football at the outfitters.

Hearding the scouts up to the bjilding to get ready for oue trip.

One of the guides helping us get organized.

Photos taken by a automated camera operated by the outfitter. This is the first raft (with a guide).

The second raft (also with a guide).

The last raft (without a guide).

Setting up camp at Rattler Ford.

Here we are getting going on Sunday morning.