Raft Guide Thanksgiving

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A year or two ago we started a tradition of a Raft Guide Thanksgiving at our Ocoee Rafting outpost.  Peter smoked some turkeys and all the raft guide brought their best dishes.  We all had a blast!  This year we didn’t have a chance to do it during the rafting season, so Peter was supposed to host it at his house sometime in November.  Life (and a trip down the Grand Canyon) got in the way of that plan, so finally it was decided to have Raft Guide Thanksgiving in conjunction with a Super Bowl Party at Peter’s house.  We had a blast, good times, great food, great friends, and (mostly) understanding neighbors which all in all made  it a big hit.  We’d love to invite you to this next year, but sadly you’ve got to work for us to do that!  Interested in working for us?  Check out: http://www.ocoeeadventurecenter.com/other/working_with_oac.htm

Terri and Hunter

Terri and the future Mrs. George S.

Tammy - You might have seen her taking your picture!

Lovely Ladies of OAC

Trip Leader and Kayak Instructor Eric and his lovely wife Chris, who also teaches kayaking for us

We had a little bit of food...

There may have been a little flare up with the grill!

Peter (Back when all his hair was where it belonged)

Evandre looking on as I show off my new hairdo

It's a good thing they shoot great pictures, as Brent and Tammy aren't getting hired as mechanics anytime soon!

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Evandre spots (and takes lots of pictures) of a bald eagle on the Ocoee

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Evandre got some great pictures of a bald eagle on the Ocoee this weekend, enjoy!

Cheoah River Pictures

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Saturday was a nice warm day, a preview of many more to come.  I’m still down from knee surgery, but needed to get out of the house.  I headed over to the Cheoah, an hour or so from our Ocoee Rafting outpost to take pictures of the carnival.  Got some openboaters styling it, an openboater testing the water temperature, several of our Ocoee River Guides looking good and a pretty cool raft rescue of a kayaker having a bad day.  Enjoy!

All good so far

One drop down, one to go

Working on the roll

Still working

L'edge's to the rescue

 

It was a nice warm day for a swim

Blake and friend

Dax getting it done

Archie looking smooth

It was warm, but this is definitely not a great place for a swim

Rubber to the rescue

Safe and Sound

Long Boat

Is that a beaver on his head?

 

 

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?

Big Creek Hike

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The Ocoee River area has many beautiful hikes, and the spring weather we’ve been having lately has really motivated me to get out there and enjoy several.  I often try to do new hikes, but there are a couple of favorites that I keep coming back to over and over again.  Big Creek falls in to the do it over and over again category.  It really holds a special place in my heart, my old dog Jester and I came here quite a bit, she loved the water and really enjoyed the many times the trail crosses the crystal clear water of the creek.

The trail starts next to some wonderful free, primitive camping sites.  When the weather is nice there’s usually a few people camping here but I’ve never seen it crowded – a great place to camp to be sure.  Even cooler about the hike is that once you’re past the first or second creek crossing, there are no signs of human life – no people, no trash, just a crystal clear creek with uncountable swimming holes, awesome rock formations, and spots for quiet contemplation.   If you’re interested in seeing this special spot, look us up – we offer guided hikes, or if you’re feeling adventurous will tell you how to get there.  If you go though, please respect the environment, practice leave no trace ethics and be prepared to get wet, and pack plenty of food and water!

View on the drive to Big Creek

View on the drive to Big Creek

One of the great parts of the Big Creek Hike is getting there – above is one of the views on the dirt road drive.  It’s only about 20 minutes from our Ocoee River Rafting Outpost, but feels like another world altogether!

Mikey thinking hard about getting her feet wet

When you decide to do the Big Creek Hike you’ll want to make sure the weather is warm.  The trail crosses the creek countless times.  Although Mikey’s old sister loved this hike for that reason, Mikey isn’t so sure.  Above you can see her hesitating to cross.  She was a real trooper though, it was about crossing #20 before I had to drag her!

Swimming Hole

Awesome swimming hole

Above is a picture of an amazing place to swim right near the start of the hike – more pictures below

Swimming Hole #2

Peter paddling the swimming hole drop

Believe it or not Big Creek is an amazing run to paddle as well – it just takes a lot of rain, 3 or more inches.  Above is the swimming hole drop with a bunch more water in the creek – if Big Creek is running its a safe bet that the Ocoee River is running at really big water!  Here’s some more pictures of Big Creek with lots of water in it.

This drop is within spitting distance of the Ocoee River

Awesome Waterfall

My goal on this hike was to make it to the waterfall above, unfortunately Mikey was tired of crossing the creek and insisted we go home!

More Big Creek Scenery

Another Big Creek Rapid

Outpost Mascot Mikey

More Big Creek Scenery

Pretty Sure that's not Mikey Poop!

One thing to keep in mind when hiking in this area is that it is wild and scenic – which means you may well have other creatures in the woods with you, even if there aren’t a lot of people – pretty sure the pile above wasn’t from Mikey!  I’ve seen wild boars, turkey, all kinds of birds, and several bear in this area.

Crystal Clear Water

The greenest part of the water above is over 15 feet deep and you can easily see the bottom, just beautiful!

Creek Crossing

More Scenery

What a special place

Clear Water

Typical scenery away from the creek

More clear water and beautiful rocks

More Big Creek Scenery

Another Creek Crossing

Awesome Rock Wall

Big Trees at Big Creek

More Big Trees

Jester and Mikey at Big Creek - RIP Jester!

Brush Creek Mountain Bike Ride

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Today was gorgeous – 70 or so degrees and sunny by mid-afternoon!  Ocoee River Whitewater rafting season is coming soon, and we’re getting busy getting the outpost ready to open, but it was just too nice after too long of a cold winter to stay inside so I took a quick trip to Brush Creek for a mountain bike ride.  Brush Creek is one of the trips we offer on our Guided Mountain Biking Trips One of the great things about our Ocoee River Outpost is it’s proximity to the Ocoee River and the Cherokee National Forest.  A 5 minute bike ride on the shoulder from our outpost had me within the Cherokee National Forest and on the Brush Creek Trail.  Brush Creek is one of my favorite trails around, not too technical, rolling hills – every time I get tired of working my way uphill you get to fly on a nice downhill stretch!  Oh, the scenery isn’t too shabby either!  A good portion of the trail winds along above Ocoee Lake #3, the site of our Ocoee River Lake Kayaking Trips, and the source of the water for rafting on the Upper and Middle Ocoee River.  Here’s some pictures from the trail today.

Ocoee Lake #3

Nice view of Ocoee Lake #3

Trees blocking the trail

Another reason for a guided bike ride!

Brush Creek Mountain Bike Ride View

Awesome view from the Brush Creek Trail

Ocoee Lake #3

The lake above the Upper Ocoee River

Upper Ocoee At Flood

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December 9, 2009 started as an ordinary day for me. It had rained a bunch the night before, but having to work at the Ocoee Adventure Center Outpost I didn’t have the time to do what I really wanted to do, which was to go get on the river somewhere. So, I settled for the next best thing – I loaded the outpost mascot (Mikey, my dog) up in the car and drove the short drive to the Ocoee Whitewater Center, site of the 1996 Olympic whitewater canoe and kayak events. As soon as I pulled in though I knew something was different – the water was lapping out of the riverbed and into the parking lot! When we have our Upper Ocoee River and Full Ocoee River Rafting Trips the Upper (Olympic) Section of the Ocoee usually has about 1500 cubic feet per second of water flowing through it. On this day, I’m estimating the flow was around 15,000 cubic feet per second of water. No matter how much water there was this day it was very impressive and I was glad to be on shore, not guiding a raft or paddling my canoe! I made the 5 minute jaunt back to our outpost so I could take some pictures – here’s a sampling of them – to view them all you can checkout our facebook page, I’ve added an album with all of the pictures from this day. To join us on facebook and see these and other pictures, visit:The Ocoee Adventure Center

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