The Good Life: White Water Rafting
Broken Nose...TableSaw...Twist and Turn....these aren't nicknames given randomly. Oh no, they're earned.
The Ocoee is one of the most popular rivers inTennessee and its white water is unique in several ways. The Ocoee River is divided into 2 sections and there are 2 reasons why the it's unique for rafting and kayaking.
Jake Rogers is a guide with Ocoee Rafting, the oldest outfitter on the river. He said,"First of all it's a dam controlled river, and it's on a regulated release schedule, so you can count on the water being there. You don't have to wait on the rain. It's always gonna be there on the dates they tell you it will. So that's always a good thing."
This roller coaster ride with a professional guide is some of the most fun you will have all summer.
These guys know every up and down on the river and they take having a good time seriously.
Jake says the second thing that makes this water unique is that it's a continuous class 3 section of white water. "You don't have 2-3 miles of flat water in between every rapid. You're pretty much back to back hitting one right after another, and it's a real consistent ride all the way down for 5 1/2 miles."
The Ocoee surged in popularity as a white water destination after the 19-96 Olympics. Flowing through the scenic gorges of the Cherokee National Forest, there's plenty of space for "river rats" to play.
"You never know what to expect out there and you never know what the other boat's gonna do out in front of ya so there's always that aspect", Jake said. Guides do expect every paddler to pull their weight. You better be ready to push through the rapid with a "give me two!" command or ride it out when the guide yells "get down, get down!"
Rafting IS the Good Life for all those that seek adventure. It's a year round passion for the guides. Guide Jake Rogers sums up his job. "First of all I'm not sittin behind a desk all day long. You know every trip's different. I get to meet a lot of people so everyday is kind of different. There's no monotony to it really."
It's an escape from the day to day for the novice. Danny Rudelich and his friends traveled from Kennesaw, GA. He said, "It wasn't what I remembered and it wasn't what I expected. It exceeded my expectations for sure."
He took on the challenge to rack up some extra river credit by 'riding the bull'. Danny described his experience. "So I hop up front. I have no idea what to expect. I don't know what coming ahead of me. I did my best to hold on. We go into this rapid and it just throws me off the side of the front and I'm just aimless wondering now what? Am I on the raft? Am I holding onto the raft? Then, I just pulled back onto the raft. It was awsome! So much fun!"
For those wanting something different, the fun starts before the paddles even hit the water! Not to worry, there's plenty of calm paddling to break up the rapids adventure.
There is a minimum age of 12 to raft.
Ocoee Rafting is the oldest on the Ocoee but one of many outfitters in the area. Visit websites and find one that fits your needs.
By: Beth Neuhoff
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