Hiawassee river

I always just use my recreational kayak on the Hiawassee, but I see a lot of people also using large rafts with paddles, I’m wondering if they are better suited to going over the large underwater bolders/rocks in the river and if they are less likely to flip over.


– Last Updated: May-29-07 9:50 PM EST –

Using the large raft is very boring. With the yak you will be able to play and not worry so much about a roll over. THe area above Big Ben will have lots of turns to practice maneuvering around and some practice surfing. Practice your turns so you can be right on on the eddie turns and not be blown out by the swifter water. Below Big Ben the is the shoal area and you could get into scraping of boat. Take river right and follow the water flow and bypass the shoals if you like. This is a great place to read the water. Below the shoals go anywhere you like and have fun. If you want to have a better ride run it at night it will make a read the water out of you. Have fun and give a report. Also be sure to know when the generators will be on or its a bummer.

Is that the sit on top type of boat? My boat is a recreational kayak kind of like a old town otter.

Whatever floats your boat
You definately don’t need a raft for this river. Most people who do are taking kids with them. most decent kayaks, sot, or recreational sit in will work well on this river if you are confident in your basic paddling skills.

Just a mild dissent. This is a big, wide
river, and the rapids have so many routes, it can be confusing. A “rec” kayak, even if it has added flotation, is fairly easy to swamp, and a real handfull for recovery while filled with water.

I have no objection to people running rec kayaks on the Hiwassee at the normal, 2 generator level. But this is toward the upper limit of what rec kayaks can do safely and effectively.

oh come on. . .
The Hiawassee is a good river for a rec boat if the operator can paddle it halfway decently. I have taken my Dagger Blackwater 11.5 down it several times and saw nothing on the run that the boat could not handle. I do have a rear bulkhead and use float bags in the front. Of course you do need a skirt. I’ve usually paddled it wearing a helmet “just in case”.

The shoals area is a great place to practice your ferry skills.

I have always managed to go with a gruop and we have run our own shuttles so I can’t speak to the prices.

You follow me down sometime, and

– Last Updated: May-31-07 12:11 PM EST –

you will be swimming in short order. Better yet, get a kayak designed for the Hiwassee, not a boat ill-suited for serious whitewater OR flatwater use.

The original poster did not acknowledge having a sprayskirt, bulkheads, or added flotation, and so my polite advice was entirely appropriate. You are probably paddling over your head without knowing it.

middle river
We’ve only been down the river from the powerhouse to outfitters a couple of times and found it very challenging in spots - one spot I flipped over and lost my paddle and almost lost my boat but finally recovered both. Since then, we’ve been sticking to putting in at the outfitters and paddling down to the bridge at 411, only one spot with a lot of white water which is at the gravel road by the tower. This suits me much better.

As you pick up more experience,
you will be able to get your rec kayak down the upper part. Do you have knee braces in the boat? While you are not going to roll it, knee braces along with foot braces make you feel more stable, so the boat doesn’t get whipped out from under you by a crosscurrent or eddy line. Having some added flotation in the boat will make it much easier to recover if you do flip.

On the upper miles, it helps a lot to be in a good group and to follow someone down who knows the best lines. Make sure they know that they are supposed to be setting a good example through each rapid, or they might start eddying out and playing in the middle of rapids like I do. Maybe you can hook up with mghendrix, who apparently has worked out which lines work for a rec boat.

My husband
went down the upper part this weekend while I waited at the outfitters for him. He found someone who had lots of experience and hung out with him most of the way down. He had a great time, but I’m still too chicken cause I don’t want to flip over again. My boat is just a bare basic boat (Victory blast) kind of like an old town otter.

Yeah, I paddled an Otter 14 on ocean
inlets. Not a boat for quick adjustment turns.

You know, you might cut the run down by starting where the gravel shuttle road comes down off the mountain and runs along the bank. If you don’t want to do the big rapid near the end, you can go down the right side of the islands, where none of the drops is as severe.

I object
don’t underestimate rec kayaks. Wanna see a pic of me going over Etowah Falls in a rec kayak

I did Etowah Falls w/o sprayskirt
and made it.

Knee braces???
for what? I shorten the distance to my foot pegs and wedge my knees in.

Why on earth would that impress me?
I have seen people run various falls in all sorts of jackass craft. I don’t even have any particular respect for people that run falls.

And, serious kayaks have knee braces. You and other Seals may get along without, but good braces are part of high skill development.

Explain jackass craft.

– Last Updated: May-31-07 11:36 PM EST –

My kayak did't come with knee or thigh braces and I learned to roll with out them. I'm not saying they are bad...I'm saying you don't have to have them. I guess I need to go get some...I want to be high skilled.
I don't use nose plugs either, I know that means I low skilled too...or maybe I have very good water skills. Not sure of the answer. I'll do some more research. Does color designate degree skill?
What's your beef with Trident owners? Did they throw you a PFD in BUDS or did the bricks get you down, on was it the telephone pole carry?
I suggest we leave the past where it is and deal with the present.
Wasn't trying to impress you or anyone. Just stating what a rec kayak could do. They are underestimated, especially by you know who.

They are not underestimated. I know
I can do most of the rivers I do now in a rec kayak. I just would not be able to do a tenth of what I can do, on those rivers, in a craft that does not handle well, and usually can’t be rolled.

Rec kayaks make unavoidable compromises. They offer pretty good lake performance, pretty good ocean inlet performance, and pretty good river performance. They are a jackass craft for running difficult rapids, a jackass craft for whitecapped lakes, and a jackass craft for the open ocean.

We had a guy in GCA who used to run GA whitewater sitting in the back of a Folboat. He was successful on all sorts of rivers. I even saw him run Bull Sluice. But he wasn’t listening to us when we said his boat was a jackass approach to whitewater. Then one day, on a relatively easy run (the Conasauga below the Jacks junction), he wrapped that sucker around a midstream rock any of the rest of us could have avoided. He had to walk out. We never saw him again, but I wish he had gotten a proper boat and made use of what he had learned already.

If you go back to what the original poster asked, and then review her later interchanges with me, you will see that she does NOT want the sort of encouragement you are offering. The cautions I have offered, and the encouragement, are exactly what she was looking for.

Can I suggest that a Navy Seal might be possessed of a degree of (over)confidence and know-it-all-ism that may be disfunctional when transmitted to others?

Wait a minute…she stated
"I always just use my recreational kayak on the Hiawassee, but I see a lot of people also using large rafts with paddles, I’m wondering if they are better suited to going over the large underwater bolders/rocks in the river and if they are less likely to flip over."

She appears to be a good paddler because she “always uses” her rec kayak.

Good, or lucky, or… other?

– Last Updated: May-31-07 11:54 PM EST –

She's worried about flipping and asking for rec boat to raft comparisons in regards to stability! No offense to her, but that doesn't sound like a high level of river mastery to me (probably more than me FWIW - my local tidal river's a class 0-1).

Now for this part
"Can I suggest that a Navy Seal might be possessed of a degree of (over)confidence and know-it-all-ism that may be disfunctional when transmitted to others?

You can suggest anything you want. Maybe we are over-confident. That is debateable. Maybe we want to know our limititions and push what the average person would consider reasonable. The Trident is a symbolism of knowing those limitations and be confident of what we can and have done. We are not normal and we are proud of who and what we are and become very defensive when someone points fingers. I stated nothing but facts of what a rec kayak could do without sarcasm.