April 23, 2011


Day 2 - Running the Chocolate Drop
Baby Falls + Lower

I woke with that Cee Lo Green Forget You song in my head, so as Joe, Christy, Joanne and I rode to the river, I asked Joe to turn something better on his car stereo, so that I would have a cooler tune in my head while on the water.  Joe has excellent taste and popped in the Carolina Chocolate Drops.  So that was what I was humming as I setup to run Baby Falls for the 2nd time.  I just had to make a cooler drop before leaving Tellico Plains.  This time I hopped in just upstream of the rapid, waited only long enough for some fishermen to pull their lines in, then charged right-to-left, following Joe and Kevin's line from the day before, and bloop, just like that, I was at the bottom and smiling big, ready for another awesome day of river running.  I hopped on the back of Lang's truck and rode down to the put-in.  Bill S ran the upper solo and rolled in just as the drivers were wrapping up the shuttle set-up and we were off.  Even warmer and nicer than the day before. Day 2 is all about having fun and I think everyone did.  Joe was on fire, boofing rocks right and left.  Joanne, who was making a habit of following Joe, was caught doing the same.  Joanne also led us down some sections, which was cool.  I seal launched off this little rock overhang after getting out to stretch my legs.  I figure that after that 1st run at Baby, I needed all the practice I could get at pulling my knees up and getting into a tuck.  The lines were a little more fresh for everyone this go around and the paddling a little cleaner with less carnage, but we still had a few swims and a few good laughs at close-calls.  We saw the Team Jackson RV heading upstream.  Lots of hoops from the river and Emily waved from the passenger seat up front.  The group split up on our second run, with a few taking out at Turkey Creek and the remaining paddlers splitting into two packs.  When our small group reached the take-out, Joe and I paddled into just a perfect little cove right below his car.  We stepped out onto a sun-bathed rock.  I cracked open a nice cold Natty Greene, then changed into my warm, dry clothes down by the river.  I walked over to the edge of the water with my beach towel around my neck and stuck a foot into the water to wash it off before putting on my shoes.  My foot slipped on the rock, I started sliding toward the river, the other foot hit the slippery part in the water, more sliding, whooooaaa, whoooaaaa, this isn't happening (you see the irony here, right?), I know this isn't happening, whoooooooooooaaaa, SPLASH.  Joe, Christy and Cindy said they were glad that I yelled so much because it gave them a chance to look down there in time to see me take the plunge.  Even funnier, I couldn't even get out of the river because it was so slippery, Joe had to fish me out using my soaking wet beach towel.  A funny way to punctuate a fun trip. I had a roll at the bottom of Baby on day 1, one while side surfing on day 2 and I guess one after the seal launch, but it was mostly an uneventful trip on that front.  Then of course I had the graceful swim at the take-out.  On day 2 we had Tommy, Lang, Cindy, Joe, Will T, Bill S, Christy, Joanne, Willy, Bill H, John V L, myself and Butch, who joined us after missing the first day.  Kevin R and Randy C were along on day one, but left before Saturday's run. 

Great trip with great folks.  I had super traveling and bunking companions and paddled with a lot of good friends.  The great weather followed us home on an uneventful road trip. It just doesn't get much better.

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