Author : Amy Christine Arnold (formerly Cleary)
I have been white water rafting before and it was an exhilarating adventure! Rafting through Class III, IV and V rapids was such a rush! I’ve also gone kayaking before on calm rivers or out in the ocean. Kayaking is both peaceful and relaxing. I’ve never had the desire to combine those two things and go white water kayaking; however, on a trip up to North Carolina, my husband and I met a group of people that loved white water kayaking. They spoke so highly of it, we decided to give it a go. Considering we live in Florida and there is no white water, we thought we should take advantage of being in North Carolina.
The next day we visited the NOC or Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City, NC. We looked over the different options that were available and decided on the “Introduction to White Water Kayaking” full-day course with a private instructor.
Our white water kayaking adventure was schedule for 8 am the next morning. I have to admit, the thought of it terrified me. You are in that little kayak, with a skirt attached to you and wrapped around the kayak. What happens if you flip over and can’t get out? Nerve-wracking! With that said, you know the best thing about being scared, pushing through it!
We arrived early in the morning; we were very eager to get out on the water! We got into our wetsuits and then into our kayaks.
Once we had the proper kayaks, it was time to put on the full gear, including the dreaded spray skirt. The outfit all together is quite the look.
When all the gear was on, it was time to carry our kayaks to the car and hit the road.
The first half of the day would be spend at Fontana Lake going over the basic skills like strokes, edging, boat control and safety maneuvers like rollover/escape. The lake was beautifully calm! We spend a couple of hours paddling around this picture perfect location learning the kayaking skills and admiring the view.
Then came the part of the training that I was dreading, what to do if your kayak flips over leaving you underwater. My husband went first and was smiling the entire time. I wish I could say the same for me. My face in the below picture says it all.
The instructor starts by turning you over then he turns you right back up. OK, that wasn’t so bad. The next drill, he flips you upside down, you hit the side of the kayak three times and then he turns you back up. The last drill and my least favorite of all – the instructor turns you upside down and you have to get out of the kayak and up to the surface on your own. Surprisingly, it was easy to get out of the kayak. You basically just pop out. All this time I had this fear of getting trapped in the kayak if I flipped over and then learned, it is way easier to get out than I thought!
Before we knew it, the morning had flown by and our skill training was done. It was time for some lunch then it was off to the river to put those skills to the test. The river of choice was the Little Tennessee River. Since this was our first time white water kayaking, the instructor had us do the part of the river that went from Class I to Class II.
First time white water kayaking, I can say those Class I and Class II rapids felt like Class IV rapids. It is a very different intimidating experience versus being in a raft.
Our white water kayaking adventure was amazing. When we were out on the river, no one flipped over and if we would have, we would have known how to get out of our kayak safely. If you have the desire to try white water kayaking, do it. You won’t regret that decision.
***Since I’m in Antarctica without internet access for 22 consecutive days, I’ve selected a few articles from other great bloggers to share with you. I’ll be back on February 3rd, 2015 with loads of fantastic adventures from Antarctica to share. Chat soon.***