Ocoee Adventure Center Guides in Alabama

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A couple of our Ocoee Rafting guides, Rob and Daniel have been spending a fair amount of time in Alabama this winter on the always beautiful Little River Canyon.  Here’s a helmet camera video that Rob put together of one of their recent trips.   Make sure it’s displayed in 720p for full HD video. Enjoy!

Name our New Ocoee Rafting Trip and win a Rafting Trip for 2

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Here at the Ocoee Adventure Center we’re always trying to come up with different ways to show you a great time.  Our newest offering for 2011 will be a full river trip, skipping lunch.  You still get the same 10 miles of heart pounding, gut wrenching class 3-4 whitewater, we’ll just skip the downtime in between the upper and middle sections of the Ocoee River, have some water and a snack while we’re floating across the lake and continue with the middle section of the Ocoee.  This saves you the time and a pretty fair amount of money as well.

High Water Ocoee River Whitewater Rafting

Name this Ocoee Rafting Trip

We’ve got one little problem though, what to call this new trip.  We’ve come up with several ideas but the boss has shot them down.  He came up with several ideas, but well, nobody tell him, but they were pretty silly.  So we’re asking you guys!  Leave a comment here or on our facebook page, or just send me an email to Peter@ocoeeadventurecenter.com.  We’ll leave the contest open until Monday January 17th at 5:00pm.  We’ll pick our favorite, and the winner will get a free rafting trip for two people on the trip they helped name.

So far we’ve heard “No Soup for You”, “The Ocoee Double Blast”, “The Ocoee Quickie” and “The Ocoee Marathon” and none of these quite do it. We’re looking for something tongue in cheek, funny and descriptive, so send it on.

Thanks and we look forward to seeing you on one of our many Ocoee Rafting trips!

Ocoee River Tandem Kayak Trip with the Ocoee Adventure Center

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Our Ocoee River Rafting Guide, Dave was kind enough to write a trip report of his recent trip taking his twin sister down the Ocoee in our Jackson Kayaks Dynamic Duo.  Thanks to him for the report and our photographer Lewis for the pictures.  Oh, did I mention that you too could do this – we take customers down the river in these awesome boats – feel free to call us and we’ll give you the details!

My twin sister Patty is not quite what you would call a whitewater enthusiast, but she has made the long drive from Louisiana to Ducktown, TN every summer for the past few years.  She has experienced the area in a number of exciting ways like rafting on the Ocoee Rivermountain biking, hiking, and campfire watching.  As I prepared for her annual visit this summer, I racked my brain trying to think of new ways to entertain her.  Additionally I was considering how I could scratch that never ending itch to kayak the Ocoee River as the weather continues to grow more beautiful every day.

Ocoee River Tandem Kayak

Dave and Patty before their tandem Ocoee Trip

I had an epiphany that enabled me to kill two birds with one stone!  I’ll go kayaking and take my sister down the river in a kayak.  “but I have never kayaked before!” Patty argued.  I told her she had nothing to fear.  Our benevolent manager, Peter, at OAC had given me permission use of one of the new Jackson Dynamic Duos that the company kayak instructors use to take beginners down river.  These kayaks provide a unique surface level view of the river for folks who don’t want to spend a whole season building up their kayak skills to paddle the Ocoee.  “We are gonna look like Siamese kayakers!”  If you’ve never seen one, a tandem kayak headed down a class IV river catches quite a few looks from kayakers and rafters alike.  Throughout the day I kept hearing things like “Is that boat stable?”  “That looks like fun!” and “Can you paddle that boat with someone who can’t kayak?”  I could confidently answer all such questions with a resounding YES!  “It’s a super stable boat and she’s never even kayaked before! It’s a blast!”

Ocoee River Tandem Kayaking

Dave and Patty entering Double Trouble on the Ocoee River

Ocoee River Kayaking

Where is she?

At first, Patty was a little nervous.  After a styling it though the first class IV rapid, she began to calm down and have a little more fun.  A couple of OAC’s premiere raft guides/saftey boaters, Archie and George, joined us on the water to make sure we were safe.  As Patty started to enjoy the cool splashing rapids, we started to grow a little more adventurous.  We decided to go in for a few surfs at slice and dice, a popular play spot on the Ocoee, and we even got a few cheers and shouts from the spectators and kayakers watching.  When we started to approach Double Trouble I told her to make sure she was looking good in her photo.  As you can tell from the pictures, Patty took this as her cue to open her mouth as wide as possible and scream at the top of her lungs!

Ocoee River Tandem Kayaking

Patty looks more than a little excited!

Half way down, Archie and George decided to fill her in on some kayaking lingo so she would look and sound like a real kayaker.  They taught her some key words and phrases like gnarley, sick nasty, and huck your meat, essential to every hardcore boater’s vocabulary.

Ocoee River Kayaking

Emerging from the froth at Double Trouble on the Ocoee

Ocoee River Kayaking

Heading for the second wave of Double Trouble on the Ocoee River

Ocoee River Tandem Kayaking

Closeup of the twins. Too bad Ocoee Adventure Center Guides are a dull bunch!

Ocoee River Kayaking

The other brother, Archie keeping an eye on the twins

We safely navigated the last few rapids like Table Saw and Cat’s Pajama’s and finished off the day in front of a cheering crowd of onlookers at Hell Hole.  I was thankful to get to share such an experience with my Siamese twin kayaker sister.  I’m not sure if she will get bit with the kayaking bug that has gripped her brothers, but Patty said her experience in the Dynamic Duo was the most fun she’s ever had on the river.  The Prentice twins look forward to many more high adventure days on the water with my fellow OAC crew, whatever the craft may be.

Ocoee River Kayakers below Double Trouble

Archie, Dave and Patty, enjoying another beautiful day on the Ocoee River

North Chickamauga Creek with Ocoee Adventure Center Guides and Staff

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When I try to explain to my friends and family why I choose to leave a fairly successful real estate career to work at the river and manage a bunch of Ocoee River Raft Guides (imagine herding feral cats) sometimes it’s difficult to properly explain.  Days like yesterday on the North Chick make it a whole lot easier though!  While the rest of the world was sitting at their desks, I had the opportunity to go paddling with Rob L., Daniel S., Eric D. and Billy P. – four of our extraordinary raft guides.  Not just paddling any old river though, we were on North Chick, one of the prettiest, most fun class IV runs around.  It’s been several years since I ran the Chick, and I must admit I was a little bit nervous as we suited up to begin the bushwhacking hike to the putin, but 80 degree weather, blue skies, and a solid crew eased my worries.

Putin Scenery at North Chickamauga

Most of my other runs of North Chick have been done in the winter, with cold weather, short days and no leaves on the trees.  This trip was certainly different though, shorts and a tee-shirt, daylight till 9pm, and the riverside was so green it felt almost like paddling in Costa Rica!

I’d never putin where we did for this trip.  We met a  gentlemen working around the putin who informed us that next week a gate would be put up and we’d have to find another spot to get on the river, but he was fine with us parking there for the day – he wished us a great trip and we started walking.  Team No Roll had told me this new putin was great – just a quick easy stroll to the river, but of course they were messing with the boss.  It started out easy enough, but ended with bushwhacking through rhododendron – still though, it allows you to run the North Chick side of the creek without all the flatwater at the top and was over pretty quick.

The run starts right out with fun class iii boogie water leading up to the first big rapids, Welcome Center followed by Mystery falls.  Mystery falls is the first really big drop on the North Chick.  Everybody but the boss man ran it today.

The camera doesn't zoom out much, but this shows the majority of the drop

Here’s a slideshow of Rob demonstrating a perfect boof, along with the reason for the name “Mystery Falls”

Billy airing it out

Eric heading for the mystery

Daniel mid-flight

From here class iii-iv boogie water continued.  This was the lowest I’ve run the chick, but I was surprised at how well it channelized – it never felt low or scrapey.

Nice scenery

A surprising amount of fun play was to be had, even at the lower level

Billy surfing the day away

Have I mentioned just how pretty this place is?  Crystal clear water, lush riverside scenery, and really fun rapids combined to make it feel like we were paddling in a remote jungle – hard to believe this is 30 minutes from downtown Chattanooga!

Rapids and Scenery

Eric hamming it up - Shudder Rudder?

The other big drop on the North Chick is North Chick Falls.  It looked a little hungry today, with a scrapey lip that made it hard to get to where you wanted to be.  We all took the easy walk around it, and took a break on the rocks basking in the sun and perfect surroundings.

Closeup of the falls

View of North Chick Falls

Great spot for a break

While we were taking our break, Daniel and Rob began discussing the surfing properties of their respective boats.  Rob insisted that Daniel’s Nomad wasn’t any fun in a hole.  Daniel disagreed, and decided to prove his point.  Unfortunately for him, he was right – the Nomad was great in a hole – especially once Daniel got out of the boat and let it do it’s own thing.

Who says a Nomad is no good in a hole?

Daniel swears he was attacked by a paddlesnake while in the hole – lo and behold look what we found basking in the sun and the glory of the swim he just caused.  Out of fairness I should mention that at some unnamed rapid I may have decided to test the waters myself, and found them to be refreshing, so Daniel wasn’t the only swimmer of the day!

Viscious beast - a Paddlesnake making a rare out of water appearance

Waterfalls cascaded into the creek throughout the run

More Scenery

I stood under this waterfall for a few minutes - awesome massage!

Daniel - sneak around V-slot

Showing off for the camera

Special Place

This was a spectacular day, it reminds me of how fortunate I am to be able to work, live and play in such a special area.

Guided Mountain Biking with the Ocoee Adventure Center

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We had our first big group do a guided mountain bike trip with us yesterday.  Here’s some pictures from it.  Mountain bike trips with the Ocoee Adventure Center are a great way to extend your stay in the North Georgia Mountains – we offer full and half day trips, with rides ranging from all down hill easy fun to gut busting advanced rides, all tailored to your desires!  The pictures below come from one of our most popular rides, Thunder Rock Express.  We’ll also take you out on the Brush Creek Trail overlooking beautiful Ocoee Lake #3, or any of the Tanasi or Chilhowee Trail Systems.  We use only high quality Trek and Gary Fisher Mountain bikes, so you know you’ll be on great equipment!

Everybody has picked the right size mountain bike

Somebody looks pretty confident!

Gathering the group for the pre-trip breifing

Yael giving her patented trip speech. Look how green everything is right now!

And they're off!

Warming up on the gravel road before they tackle the Single Track of Thunder Rock Express

2 hours later they'll be 5 miles and a whole bunch of feet below here

Ocoee River Rafting Guide Conflict Resolution

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With around 40 Ocoee River Raft Guides working for us on busy weekends and needing a place to stay, and 20+ living at the outpost full time during the summer months, where you live in the guide housing area is of utmost importance.  Conflicts sometime arise about who will get the primo shack, and I always look for creative ways to resolve those.  One of the nicer shacks came back on the market for the 2010 Ocoee River Rafting Season, and there was disagreement over who should get it.  The usual methods, paper rock scissors, bare knuckle boxing, pizza eating contest weren’t working to resolve the conflict, so the combatants came up with a different resolution.  A kayak race was born!  Not just any kayak race though, this was to be a tandem kayak race in our Jackson Dynamic Duos.  Ultimate kayaker Mark Miller and “Gorgeous (in his own mind) George teamed up versus team no roll veterans Daniel S. and Rucker.

Here’s the pre-race interviews

The trash talking was fast and furious, and speculation ran rampant amongst the throngs of spectators that gathered to witness this monumental event.  Some thought that Mark Miller, ultimate kayaker’s river skills, coupled with George’s inflated self opinion of his good looks might give their team the edge.  Others opined that Team No Roll’s intimate knowledge of the riverbed (gained from uncountable swims and horrendous beatdowns) would carry the day.

After declaring a starting time of high noon, in typical raft guide fashion they arrived at the putin at around 12:30.  Rumors were flying that Team No Roll had tampered with the Ultimate Kayaker’s boat as it rode to the putin with Daniel and Rucker.  After a close inspection by an impartial jury both boats were declared race worthy.

Jackson Kayak Dynamic Duos loaded on the Caddy

Note the high quality headlight repair

Tensions were high at the putin as the teams prepared to race.  One of the teams who for now shall remain unnamed attempted to remove the drain-plug of the other team, however due to total ineptness, the drain-plug remained in place for the entirety of the race.

Ultimate Kayaker and George already disagreeing about the correct path down the ramp

Team No Roll with their fanclub in tow

Team No Roll managed to jump out to an early lead.

Don't look back

For a moment heading into Staging Eddy Mark and George mounted a charge.  Some paint was swapped, and elbows thrown but all emerged unscathed!

Rubbin's racing boys

The doldrums marked the 1/2 point of the momentous Ocoee River Dynamic Duo Race – Team No Roll is still in the lead, but starting to look a little tired.

Digging in

Mark and George were digging hard at this point and looked like they might have a chance to catch up.

Giving it the old college try

Alas it wasn’t to be for the Ultimate Georges…

Team No Roll Celebrating a little early as they enter Hell Hole

You’ve really got to hand it to Mark and George though, they gave it their all!

Ultimate Kayaker Mark Miller and Gorgeous George really getting after it

At least they paddled through Hell Hole!

Team No Roll took the day, but Mark and George definitely won the style points!  A good time was had by all, the results were judged fair, and Rucker and Daniel will be living in style in the Taj Mahal of Ocoee River Raft Guide Housing!

High Water Ocoee River Rafting

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Did you come out and play with us on the Ocoee River this past weekend?  If not you missed a heck of a weekend!  Saturday’s forecast called for rain all day.  As usual though, the weather man got it a little bit wrong.  The rain held off until our trip got off the water, and then it really let loose.  Sunday’s forecast called for more rain.  We woke up to a perfect blue sky and warm sunny weather.  Never believe a weather forecast up here in the mountains – often we’ll end up sunny when they call for rain and vice-versa!  And hey – what’s the worst that can happen if it does rain – you get wet?  And finally, the only way to experience the Ocoee River at high water is during or after a huge rain event, so don’t let a chance of showers slow you down!

While driving to the putin for training, we noticed that the Upper Ocoee River was running.  Not wanting to miss the rare opportunity of running the Upper Ocoee during April, we stopped and dropped our rafts in at the top of the Olympic Course.  This allowed us to show the trainees a new section of river, and at a significantly higher flow than normal!

Amy on the Olympic Section of the Ocoee River

Amy heading for the Eddy to look at Godzilla and Humongous

This day we had about 1000 cubic feet per second more water than normal on the Upper Section of the Ocoee River.  Godzilla and Humongous like to chew up rafts and spit them out at normal levels, at this water level they were true mutants.  Amy and I took a quick look and decided to skirt them to the left.

Peter skirting Godzilla and Humongous

Peter skirting Godzilla and Humongous

Big Water Upper Ocoee River

Big Water Whitewater Rafting on the Upper Ocoee

More Big Ocoee River Whitewater Rafting

More Big Ocoee River Whitewater Rafting

Double Trouble on the Middle Ocoee River at High Water

Double Trouble on the Middle Ocoee River at High Water

More Ocoee River Whitewater Rafting

More Ocoee River Whitewater Rafting

Hell Hole and Powerhouse get really big at high water – below are the trainees hitting the meat!

Ocoee River Big Water - Hell Hole

Trainees going for the meat of Hell Hole

Did I mention that Hell Hole and Powerhouse, the last two rapids on the Middle Ocoee River get huge at high water?  Peter and his crew almost went back in for an unintended surf here, but fortunately their strong paddling pulled them out – Ocoee River Whitewater Rafting is most definitely a team sport!

Big Water Rafting on the Ocoee River

First of a series of Peter and crew at Hell Hole

High Water Ocoee River Whitewater Rafting

Big hit at Big water on the Ocoee River

Ocoee River High Water Rafting

There's a raft in there I swear!

High Water Ocoee River Rafting

Starting to emerge from Hell Hole

High Water Ocoee River Whitewater Rafting

Are we out yet?

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