Image is of me guiding Broken Nose on the Ocoee , courtesy of my favorite outfitters, OAR )
Note:Because I now live in California, I haven't been paddling nearly as much, and I'm not going to be getting many more images of southeastern rivers. Many of the the pictures are taken off dubbed video or scanned off of prints from 110 film, I apologize in advance for the quality, or lack thereof. In an attempt to be dial-up friendly, all shots are small 16 color GIFs linked to larger zooms.
Especially Note: Don't try this without proper instruction and skills. As in all high-adventure sports, people die every year because they don't know what they're doing. I've rescued quite a few inexperienced (and several frankly stupid) people, and the potential for injury is real. These rafts cost at least $1,500 a piece, several quite a bit more than that. They're not KMart Seyvolour pool rafts. They're not inner tubes. And please, always wear a good helmet and a Class 3 PFD! Contact your local paddling club or commercial outfitter for further information and training.
Whitewater is what you'd get if you filled a washing machine with rocks and ran it on the "extra-dirty" setting. Here in the southeast, unlike the big rolling rivers of the west, it's a technical sport on narrow creeks with lots of rocks.
Sometimes it's a matter of running paying customers down a river in a raft, as in the picture in the title (Me guiding Broken Nose , taken from the cover of the Outdoor Adventure Rafting brochure) or below (Me catching air at Double Trouble ).
Most of my commercial experience has been on the Ocoee river, a moderately intense river in Southeast Tennessee that's still safe enough for beginners. (For those looking for a step up, I highly recommend the Gauley river in West Virginia).
Other times it means strapping ourselves into small pieces of plastic: kayaks, canoes and such, and running the smallest creeks with the most water we can find in them, such as this 23 foot drop, the put-in rapid on the Short Creek off the west side of Sand Mountain in Alabama.
Ed Ditto has some good introductions to various rivers, including the Tellico and Little River Canyon .
But it isn't all adrenaline. There's something about being down in a gorge with the burbling water as company as this shot on the Gauley attests.
A few years ago I pushed the limits of my kayaking as far as I wanted to, running the Ocoee at well beyond flood stage . Since then I've mellowed quite a bit, and cut back on much of my commercial guiding, then I moved to the left coast, where I'm occasionally seen open boating or doing other foolish things. I've got a bright red 14 foot Dagger Caption , outfitted for fairly high performance tandem or lower performance solo paddling. Some of the thrill is back. So if you see me in a red PFD with blue and green trim, cranking out some serious moves on basic Class III/IV(V?) water in Northern California, wave and say hi!
And my old, unmaintained list .
Dan's Whitewater Pages is a collection in the home pages of Dan Lyke , reachable at email@example.com