Guy Week
July 2004

Rafting the Nantahala

Randy's second "Guy Week" of 2004 was scheduled for the last week in July.  High on the agenda was a whitewater rafting trip down the Nantahala River. 

The Crew
Mike, Kelly, Woody and Randy


The crew made an unguided descent down the Nantahala River on Wednesday.  Mike and Kelly assured Randy and me (Woody) that they had prior rafting experience and a guide was not needed.

This innocent looking segment of the Nantahala was our launch point. 

What happened next was anything but innocent!

Actually, the launch was a piece of cake.  We lowered the raft into the water and climbed aboard.  After practicing a couple of spins to make sure we could maneuver the craft we were ready for the trip, or so it seemed.

Before we could become accustomed to the raft and get our bearings all hell broke loose!   We floated downstream about 50 yards from the launch point before hitting an underwater rock!   The raft buckled and pitched as it hit the rock, throwing Kelly into the air and off the bow into the water.  Randy and his paddle made a great splash as they hit the water on the starboard side.  Mike and I were thrown to the floor but remained in the raft.  By the time Mike and I collected ourselves, Kelly was 20 yards downstream and moving away at a rapid pace.  Randy was clinging desperately to the side of the raft.

Mike and I made a snap decision to try to recapture Randy's paddle which was following Kelly down river.  We began to paddle furiously but finally realized that we couldn't catch the paddle.  Besides, it was hard to row with Randy clinging to the side of the raft.  If we couldn't catch the paddle, we might as well rescue Randy.  Randy thought this was a great idea!  We helped Randy climb aboard the raft and the three of us took off in hot pursuit of Kelly and Randy's paddle, both completely out of sight by this time. 

Rounding a bend in the river, we saw that Kelly had been thoughtfully rescued as he floated downstream by a raft of young girls.  They were landing on the far side of the river to get Kelly onboard.  Mike, Randy and I couldn't cross the swift current to make landfall near them so we continued on down the river looking for a landing where we could retrieve Kelly.  We eventually found a small beach and managed to row close enough to make landfall.  The girls delivered Kelly and our crew was together again. 

The girls must have laughed all the way down the river and had great stories to tell when they got home about rescuing some old guys on their raft trip down the river! 

Our trip continued without serious incident...if you don't count being out of control a few more times and hitting almost every submerged rock on the way downstream! 

A great trip!! 

Kelly stumbles ashore after the rescue team drops him off.
The girls are having a good laugh about the rescue.
Note that, like a good sailor, Kelly held on to
his paddle during the whole ordeal!


Kelly and Randy are none the worse for wear after re-boarding and regrouping.  That is, not counting having bruised ribs and assorted scrapes and bruises and being soaking wet from the cold mountain water.

Captain Mike

Since only Mike and Kelly had prior rafting experience, Mike volunteered to be our Captain.

We had a lot of confidence in Captain Mike.  That is, until we crashed 50 yards downstream! 

Other than the initial splashing, Mike did a great job.  But this worried look gave us cause for concern.


Nantahala River

A happy crew!

Randy, Mike, Woody

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