Posted by: lylescott89 | July 5, 2013

The Great Smoky Mountains Journey Day Six: Whitewater Rafting

Breakfast! Hey kids,

Tuesday was a bright and sunny day and it was going to perfect for our big whitewater rafting adventure.  Our adventure was set to begin at 1:00 PM, but we were told to arrive about 30 minutes early so we could sign waivers, change clothes, hit the restrooms, etc.  We dilly dallied around the cabin for a good portion of the morning and then headed out for breakfast.

Part of the deal with the cabin we rent is a “free” pancake breakfast at Reagan’s House of Pancakes.  As loyal readers know this breakfast includes only a stack of three pancakes and nothing else.  Despite the fact that the pancakes are in the category of “big-ass” I need more than just a stack of pancakes to get me through the day.  I need bacon and plenty of it.  So does Adam.

About 10:00 AM we headed to Reagan’s for our breakfast.  The place was not crowded in the least so we were seated immediately.  Our waitress, a cute young girl named Kayla, asked if we were familiar with how the “free” breakfast worked and we said yes.  Adam and I decided to pay the upcharge to the buffet (which also included a beverage) while Donna stuck with the pancakes.  One of my favorite things in the world is bacon and I don’t know that I have ever had better bacon than at this place.  I’m not kidding when I say I must have eaten a pound of it at the very least.  Anyone that knows me also knows that I am a connoisseur of biscuits & gravy.  I especially enjoy it with scrambled eggs mixed in with it and, of course, a side of bacon.  Reagan’s makes an exceptional biscuits & gravy.  Since it was a buffet I made several trips, always getting a clean plate.  I think my first three platefuls were full, but the last one consisted of just bacon.  Our “free” breakfast cost us only $12 and some change including tip.  Not bad for as much as I ate.

As we finished up we wished Kayla a fond farewell and headed out to a little place called Hartford, TN which was nearReady to raft the TN/NC border.  I cannot say that the trip was very eventful other than we passed by the Bush’s Baked Bean factory.  I had no idea that such a big place was needed to make beans, but nonetheless there it was.

When we arrived in Hartford we saw that there were several rafting companies all lined up on the river.  Our reservation was with Rapid Expeditions and from the first glance it was easy to see that it was the smallest of all the rafting companies.  We parked the car and headed inside what appeared to be a small shack.  I think the Unabomber had a bigger place.  I walked in and asked if I was in the right place.  I was greeted by a lovely girl named Angel and she confirmed that we were indeed in the right place.  Since Donna was still recovering from her broken leg incident she had chosen not to raft with us.  Fortunately there was some sort of vegetarian café nearby that she was able to relax in while we were braving the waves.  I signed the waivers for Adam and myself then we went and changed into our swim suits.

Adam had some rafting questions so we found a guide so Adam could ask.  His name was Zach and he was very nice and friendly.  Adam asked him to describe the differences between the classes of waves.  Zach explained it all to him and told Adam that we’d be hitting mostly class III & IV rapids on our journey today.  Adam asked if he could be in Zach’s boat and Zach said he’d check to make sure that would work out.

Whee!As we waited outside I began to get a bit concerned as we were the only ones there and we were told that they had a full trip planned at 1:00.  Soon after Angel came out and told us that there were two church groups on the way, but both were running late.  She said that we could go just the two of us, but Adam did not like that idea.  Angel then said she’d give us all our pictures from the trip for free since we’d have to wait an extra 30 minutes.  I thanked her and said that was acceptable.  So we sat and waited and talked with Zach and met Zach’s dog, Jackie.  Zach asked if we minded if Jackie joined us on the trip and we had no issues with that at all.

Sometime around 1:20 the two groups arrived and once they all get signed in we got our life jackets, oars and helmets (or as I liked to call them, my spear and magic helmet) and were ready for our safety talk.  Once that was completed we hopped on the old school bus and made our way up the river to the put-in.  Zach told us that once we were in the water we’d hit rapids in only a matter of seconds.  He was right.

Our instructions were clear in the raft; row when Zach tells you to row and otherwise hold on to your oar with two hands.  Zach had given Adam the opportunity to row or ride shotgun.  Adam chose shotgun which meant that he would be right smack dab in the front of the raft and not have to do any work.  I sat right behind him.  This meant that the biggest waves would be hitting us head on.

When the first wave hit us the cold water went right through me.  So much so that I screamed and then made someCold! grunting sounds which sounded similar to, but not exactly like “cold, cold, cold”.  Zach often asked if we wanted to go the easy way or the hard way and since I was in a boat with young boys they always chose the tougher path.  (We were also in the raft with a smoking hot girl in a bikini that was apparently a friend of Zach’s, but unfortunately she was behind me and I did not see much of her.  However, way to go Zach!)

Each time we’d get hit with the ice cold water I’d let out the same howl as I never got used to it.  Adam was hanging on for dear life the entire trip, but was also laughing and seemed to have a great time, although he did complain about the cold water once or twice.  The trip was one of the best rafting trips I have ever been on and Zach was a great guide.  When we neared the end we were given the opportunity to jump in the water and swim a little in the calm area.  Everyone except Adam jumped out.  This was fun because I got to float with the hot girl for a few minutes.  Zach used every muscle in his body to pull me back in the raft.

A few moments later we were back at the office.  We pulled the raft out of the water and went off to warm up and get into some dry clothes.  After changing I said goodbye to Zach and Angel and then walked back to the car slowly since I was behind the hot girl in the bikini.

Hot girl & JackieWe took a different path back as we wanted to drive the Foothills Parkway which gave us some great views of the Smoky Mountains.  Donna had eaten and was not hungry, but Adam and I had not had a thing since breakfast so we stopped at the Smoky Mountain Brewery for dinner.  As it turned out, it was half price pizza night so Adam and I split a pie topped with pepperoni & meatballs.  Donna watched us eat.  It was quite a tasty pie and there were no leftovers.

Adam had noticed there was a movie theater near the restaurant and asked if we could go see a film.  Well, that would have been fine if we had not just spent the whole day on a river battling waves.  I was sore and tired, plus the movie he wanted to see did not have a showing for another two plus hours.  Neither Donna nor I really felt like wandering the area for two hours before sitting in a theater and then getting back to the cabin after 10:00 PM.  I told Adam we’d go another time.  He was not happy, but he got over it.

We stopped by Kroger to pick up a few food items we wanted for the cabin and headed back.  It was a relief to be back there as we had been gone way too long.  I was in love with my cabin and I missed her.  I tried to stay up and do some reading, but I was exhausted and was out by 10 PM.  It was a darn good thing we passed up on the movie.

But what was waiting for us on Wednesday?  Stay tuned kids.




  1. You went Krogering. So, if Krogering is a word, aquariuming can be a word. Spear and magic helmet makes me want to sing.

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