April 6, 2012
1.87-1.76 feet

photo of Delane Heath by G K      

Day One's favorite moment - Sitting quietly in the eddy above Baby Falls with Lang and Mike, Lang gave me a fist bump, I said "good luck to you brother" and then I peeled out.  That's exactly the kind of adrenaline pumping do-or-die moment that got me hooked on whitewater kayaking.  Those times where you're saying "this is crazy, this is crazy", but you do it anyway.

After rushing to get the lawn mowed before Christy, Joanne and Sammy got to my house to pick me up Thursday night, I kicked back and relaxed while Christy drove us, mostly in the rain, through Knoxville and into Tellico Plains, arriving at 10:30pm to find everything dark and quiet.  We settled into our little cabin and I fell asleep right away.  I woke at 4AM to find that something like a cross between a Canadian Goose and a Bear was sleeping where I thought Sammy was supposed to be.  After plugging some toilet paper in my ears and cranking up some tunes on my ipod, I got a couple more hours of sleep and woke rested and ready for the day.  We were a little worried about the level after driving through heavy rains all night, but the Tellico was at a nice 1.87.  I'm going to try and remember everyone that was there, forgive me if I miss someone.  Let's see, besides myself, we had Tommy, Sammy, Lang, Cindy, Mike, Sarah, Joanne, Christy, Bob, Steve, Josh, Matt and Bev, plus G K, John, Bill and Shawn (who were often referred to as The Virginia Boys)  It was my first time paddling since Jan 1st and it showed when I found myself swimming through a rapid on day one of our Tellico weekend.  I had made it through 2010 and 2011 with just one swim,  but found myself doubling that total in two days on the Tellico.  Lesson learned, I need to get back into practice with some time spent upside down (i.e.  I see some Boiling Hole time in my future).  My company in the Swimmer's Club was so distinguished though that I just couldn't get upset about it.  By the time the weekend was over, it was far easier to count the paddlers that hadn't pulled their skirts than those that had.
The middle section was as fast, fun and continuous as ever and I think our first timers all liked it.  When we finished the middle and managed to get the boats back on the trucks, we popped up to Baby Falls for a little huck action.  Lang, Mike and I were the first to go over.  It was my 4th time over Baby, Lang's 2nd and Mike's first.  Mike was cracking jokes and had me laughing out loud as we were climbing into our boats for the ferry across the river.  All three of our lines were right to left, going over on the left flake and all three ended with us upright at the bottom.  Lots of whoops and high fives.  Bob, Josh and Shawn wanted to fire it up for their first descents and I joined them for another run, only this time I chose to try a left to right line.  They looked a lot better than I did as I once again failed to get the boof stroke I need for that side and penciled nice and deep.  So fun though, I just love that drop.  Josh, who immediately was ready for another run on the falls, and I hopped on the back of Lang's truck and rode back to camp where I enjoyed a couple of steaks, some BBQ chicken and potato salad, a couple of Sweetwater 420s and the company of the SRVCC gang as we sat around a campfire reliving the day and looking at videos.  Good times with good friends.     

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