Class II Paddling around NOC

We are taking some friends down to the NOC for five days and would like to break them into whitewater paddling; we are looking at the Tuckaseegee from Dillsboro down to the outfitters, but I hear there are no releases on weekdays in May; is there typically enough water for a trip without a release?

Any other good class II rivers with reasonably dependable water in the area? Hope to get them on the Nantahala before we go home!

They’re only posting the last few days
on the USGS site for some obscure reason, but it shows 500 to 700 cfs at the Culowhee gauge. More is added downstream. You should call the outfitters at the take out for better information. Timing can be important. The released water arrives and departs at different times in different places.

If you get desperate, you could take them to the Hiwassee. The Little Tennessee has been too low.

You can get a lot of training done by using intermediate access points on the Nantahala. By doing so, you can avoid many of the “name” rapids. Also, when they’re ready, decide whether you want them going through Pattons Run. They should prescout it and be absolutely clear about the effort and attention they may need to stay right and line up for the easiest (but not the driest) route.

Why not just take them on the Nantahala
It is mostly class I-II.

Have them take out before the falls

Jack L

Tuck minimums
500 cfs at the Barker’s Creek gauge is decent. Some of the smaller rapids are just riffles at that level, but the class 2s are still “in” and not overly bony. It’s still navigable even down around 400, but beginners who don’t know how to read water will have a long day if it’s that low.

You don’t break people into ww
paddling on the Nantahala, unless you are running qualified instruction like NOC. Even the Tuck gorge is a sharp step up for people breaking into whitewater.

This is one of those familiarity-breeds-contempt perspective problems.

I disagree unless they have never …
been in a boat before.

It was my first time in WW and I know plenty of people that started there.

Notice, I said take out before the falls.

Jack L

So, you’d start flatwater paddlers on
the Nantahala. The first time I saw that river, I tried to help some flatwater paddlers unpin a Grumman from rocks in the Pattons runout. That was in '73. By now, I can play the entire river in my head like a video.

Jack, you’re a racer. You go by things too fast to really look at them. The Nantahala breaks boats and kills people, all along its length.

I hesitate to take even ww-trained beginners there, because there are so many SE ww rivers where one can pick up experience. But, if I were an NOC instructor, with two other instructors along, and was starting people about 2/3 of the way down the run where it is easier, that’s another matter. But flatwater paddlers straight into Patton’s Run? Through the wave-hole at Quarry? Many other problems between Pattons and Lesser Wesser.

If we say that the Nantahala is a true whitewater beginner river, what are we saying about all the SE rivers that are easier?

I don’t mean to get into a peeing
contest, but when I first paddled the Nantahala I was not into racing, and had never been in WW.

I went through the first rapid backwards in an OT discovery. I learned real quick.

My second time there, I went trough the falls

I am not saying it is a beginners WW river, but with all the places to put in and take out it can be a great place for learning.

Myself and all the newbies with us did a lot of whooping and hollering as we went through each wave train, and loved every minute of it.

Jack L

You can put in below Patton’s Run and Take out right after the Bump (above the falls) and it’s all Class II. It is ovbiously not as easy as the Tuck or the Hiwassee, but we’ve had total beginners run it in duckies and forgiving WW boats with minimal carnage.

The main thing is to be dressed for a swim – the water is c-o-l-d year round. If someone has trouble, the road is always a short walk away. I would say the Nanty is an okay beginner run for folks in decent physical condition and those who aren’t afraid of a swim or two.

It helps greatly to have experienced paddlers around you who can lead you through a rapid or act as a chase boat if you swim. They might also spend some time calming nerves.

Two weeks agon, we took a total newbie from Ferris down through the falls and she only had two swims. I talked her around an undercut the first time and we caught her with a throw rope at the falls. She had a blast!