Newbee needs some advice for trip.

I need some advice please.

First the facts:

I’ve rented canoes and kayaks a few times in the past. My experience is limited to lakes, bays and slow flowing rivers and springs.

I plan on purchasing a Old Town Discovery 169 soon. This will be my first canoe.

I will be going on a two week 3000 mile road trip with my 18yr old son this spring. We will be camping, hiking and canoeing along the way.

Right now it looks like I will be canoeing at least three times along the way. Ichetucknee Spring FL, Nantahala or Pigeon River NC and Upper/Eastern Susquehanna River Pa the later two are class one/two rapids.

Now for the questions:

I would really like to take the canoe but maybe I should rent for this trip?

(My concern is sometimes leaving the canoe alone at trailheads for many hours at a time. Also shuttle service seems to take longer than renting and is almost as expensive as renting itself. Gas mileage for such a long trip with canoe on top of Grand Caravan.)

How do you guys shuttle?

Are class one/two rapids too much for a calm water paddler with this canoe?

Do I need flotation for class two rapids as a beginner?

I’ll be coming up the Blue Ridge Parkway from Florida into Eastern Pennsylvania all the way to Maine. Recommend more outfitters with shuttle service for easy rivers, lakes or bays.



few comments
When i do a shuttle I bring a 10 foot chain and pad-lock and put it in a small dry bag etc. I lock the canoe to a tree or something solid and either hitchhike or similar and come back for the canoe. Ive never had a problem, I even have left all my gear too without anything stolen.

Well depending on your ability and comfort/expereince. I cannot say if you can run the class 1-2. To me they are nothing, but Im also not a begginer. If you tip over in a Class 1 is that a CLass 1 to you? My guess and you need to do a little research is that those rapids you mentioned are short. A 169 is a good canoe especially loaded with gear. Know how to stear, draw, pry and manauerver in that type of water. You can probably also line around it or walk around/portage so I wouldnt let if stop you from doing the trip. Inquire with those who have actually paddled those rapids.There are very few rapids in this county that you cant walk around/portage or line including some of the Class 5 in the grand canyon. I know people who have canoed that too.

Bring the canoe
You can drop it in some pond or calm lake every day along your trip. For rivers I’d get advice from the shuttle service. The Nanty in spring has class 3 places where you’ll need skills bags and a bailer.

On a two week trip you could canoe 14 different days with your own canoe or two or three times while renting them along the way. Which do you want to do?

I’ve never had a canoe taken off the roof of my car in over 20 years of toting canoes on cars, so I just don’t worry about it.

Light response
You are getting a light response to this - could be because there are a bunch of questions here.

The first two posts from those who know canoes suggest that you (including your son, as a team) would need to know several strokes to get thru the rapids well, and that the river in question has some sections that are class 3 in the spring. It doesn’t sound like you’ll have the strokes in hand or time in the canoe to be ready to handle higher class water by spring - or am I missing a piece here?

Also, you haven’t mentioned the likely water temperatures. Given that you are talking about doing moving water with no apparent background in handling it, you have to assume a capsize is likely. If you and your son end up swimming, are you prepared with clothing that could protect you against lower temp waters long enough that you could swim your way out before hypothermia started diminishing your faculties? And do you two know how to swim in moving water without risking trapping a foot or getting knocked into a rock?

Perhaps you have covered this stuff, but from your post alone I am not seeing it. And I suspect that this river in the spring demands that you do think about this stuff.

First Off!
First off what’s the big idea using my name?

LOL never mind that. I use C1 because there are so many of us Tommy T’s around.

Anyway, If it was me I’d want my own boat. Much more convenient and flexable.

Typicaly shuttles are done with a second car.

In your situation you might want to consider bringing along a bicycle. A good cable or chain and a padlock ought to keep your bike or canoe from wandering off.

The 169 is fine for class I/II rapids. You need to assess your own skills including how much unintentional swimming you are willing to do. My advice would be to start out slow and work your way up.

Flotation is mainly to protect the boat. While the 169 is as tough as they come, a wrap would likely spoil your vacation at least. I’d put as much flotation in there as I could.

Afraid I don’t know too many shuttle services but if you come up to the Deerfield in Charlemont Mass, you can usualy hitch hike at least on weekends.

Good luck,

Tom Taylor

is probably not for a rank beginner with no moving water experience. You can judge when you get there as the road follows the runnable section. There is excellent instruction available there and that may be a great experience for you and your son to share. Cold moving water can be very dangerous if not prepared in clothing, skills, experience. And the Nanty is cold even in mid summer as it comes through the mountain from the bottom of a reservoir. Lots of fun stuff to do at the Nantahala Outdoor Center…plan to spend a few days…they will be happy to help you fill the time!

Could they raft?
If there is an outdoor center and instruction at the bottom of this stuff maybe they could pay a few bucks to take a raft trip. Assures a lot more safety and still gets them the fun of being in the white stuff, if they don’t have time to hang around and take some lessons.

first off congrats
on selecting a bomb proof canoe. The OT 169 Discovery is a tank. It handles the rought stuff with ease. Never had a problem in class 1/2 with the Discovery. Keeping upright is a matter of keeping a paddle in the water. This boat stays pretty dry and floats high. I doubt you will have trouble in these water classes.

Get a good cable lock for when you are leaving your canoe stashed.

Hope you have a great trip. Sounds like a lot of fun.

Rent duckies. My opinion is that the
Nanty is too hard for people in canoes or hardshell kayaks who have not had whitewater training. I see lots of people get away with it, but they’re like logs floating down the river, continuously out of control.

The most popular Pigeon run is harder than the Nantahala. The next section down is much easier, except for one low class 3 almost at the end.

Even on “easy” whitewater, there is just no substitute for some proper training. Even then, it helps to be with a group who know the river.

One question is answered by…
… the question itself. The fact that you are asking if Class II whitewater can be done by someone with your experience tells me that you will pretty-much be drifting through the drops, and with luck, keeping your mistakes to a minimum, and again with luck, not crashing too hard into rocks along the way (in the absence of such luck, you can expect to crash and get wet, and maybe even wrap your boat around a rock). Some of the most basic apects of staying “in control” in whitewater are not intuitive until you’ve done some learning (lessons are best, but reading helps a lot if your mind works well that way) and had enough practice . This doesn’t mean that you can’t make it through the rapids you will encounter, only that it will largely be a matter of luck, and how “cooperative” those sections of the river turn out to be (not all Class II is created equal). From the way some are describing this section of river, it doesn’t sound like a good place to get your first whitewater experience in a canoe.

I really like the advice givenh above, for renting inflatables. You’ll be a lot better off in such boats at this stage of the game. You might still want to bring your canoe if there are any other paddling opportunities during the course of your trip.

I couldn’t resist…

– Last Updated: Feb-11-08 2:59 PM EST –

I agree with a lot of what has already been added, but had to add my 2 cents worth.

The Nantahala is cold; average temp. of water, even in Summer will be 50 degrees or "less".
You already know the hazards of repeated dumps in water this temp.......

In Spring/Summer there are often early afternoons showers there. If the air temp is warm, this often results in fog on the river. Sometimes visibility will be "less" than 75 feet.
This create route selection problems, especially for the uniniated.

In the Spring, if there is heavy rain, the volume of release will increase, the gradient on the river is pretty good already, and the Nanty can become a little "pushy" to the uniniated.

If the raft traffic is high that will also present route selection problems (obstacles to dodge) for a beginning tandem canoe team in a "new to them" canoe. Don't count on a bunch of tourists in rafts, or duckies to slow down, or dodge you if you are in front of them! They either can't, or won't. Raft traffic typically heaviest on weekends.

If you take an Old Town 169 down the Nantahala; you better have good flotation & plenty of it. That boat will be a bear to handle when it takes on water & "it will". It will be a "real problem" in swift water if you capsize it in the wrong place, and you "just might". Do NOT get downstream of that monster if you capsize it!

Can the Nantahala be run in an Old Town 169 by a couple of beginners. Yes! You can run it in a bathtub too, but that doesn't mean you should.

Before you do a run in your 169; do a guided raft trip on the same river. The raft trip is fun, fairly inexpensive & is a good river scouting oppurtunity. Also, drive up to the parking spot on the highway, is slightly downstream of Patton's Run, get out & scout it. Also, walk up to the falls above NOC & scout that before a canoe run.

My opinions are based on over 20 trips on the Nantahala in a solo canoe; often accompanied by intermediate/advanced paddlers in solo & tandem canoes, and kayaks.
One of my recertifications as a Swiftwater Rescue Instructor was at NOC. I also completed Intermediate Level II solo canoe training there.

Am I telling you not to run it? NO.
Do it! Just use some common sense.

Beautiful area! Joyce Kilmer national forest area is near NOC; it is a beautiful spot to spend a morning, or afternoon.

Good luck,

P.S. Most suggestions for Nantahala would apply to the Pigeon. Suggest you check on days when water "will be" released on Pigeon.

The Nantahala
Agree with some of the advice above but if you want to learn you have to pay the price somewhere, somehow and the Nantahala is a great place to learn and the safest IMO.

They Nanty may be a little rough in spots but not as bad as many proclaim. I did my first ww in a rec kayak there and then my instructor course. If things go wrong; you get wet, cold, too tired it is easy to get out and it ain’t that cold unless you live on the Equator

The negatives said about the Nanty are meaner than the river. Many are shocked and don’t believe even a 12 rec kayak can make it and would bet against me making it and then they see a successful run and a big smile.

Many have paddled the Nanty in a canoe. Go for it. Just make sure you know what to do if you flip. Have a great time and enjoy a new paddling experience. I did even though the falls at the end won the first 2 times.

It’s cold, and has killed several people
so I don’t recommend trying to learn on the Nanty unless you have good prior instruction, OR are closely followed and helped by others.

I have hundreds of Nanty runs behind me, and I have had to help many people who had been suckered by the local notion that it is a “beginner” river.

Most died from foot entrapment

– Last Updated: Feb-11-08 7:06 PM EST –

and drowning who were in rafts.

Say what you want but I didn't have any ww experience and I learned on the Nanty alone and I don't think it's that tough and probably have 40-50 runs down. It's cold but not that cold. I've paddled it in a t-shirt and honestly forgot the PFD once.

If someone wants to learn (especially around Atlanta) name a better place?

How about…
…the South River?

Back to basics
The person posting here isn’t looking to spend a significant amount of time learning whitewater. They want to put the canoe in the water along the way on a 3000 mile trip with their son, and the question is whether it is safe for two people who are unlikely to have had time to gain any particular tandem canoe paddling skills to take a shot at some easier rapids in the Nantahala in the spring.

I’m guessing that they also want to not have something happen that’d ruin the rest of their trip, like an injury. Mitigating the risks here gets them the rest of this vacation - from the sounds of it a trip that few fathers and sons get to experience.

It’s probably safe to assume that, since they will just have gotten the canoe, things like helmets will be well down on the list behind basics like paddles, PFD and float or dry bags. Clothing for immersion is likely to be similarly stretched. 50 degrees is cold water for most people, a reality that doesn’t go away just because one particularly stubborn person refuses to let it bother him.

As to the argument about whether someone died from generally swimming or foot entrapment - that is just plain silly. Obviously they had fallen out of some kind of a boat first, unless they have some really odd rafts on the Nanty. A couple of beginners are no less likely to have that problem should they fall out of a canoe rather than a raft.

A number of people who know this river well have made some good arguments against this guy and his son taking their own canoe down that stretch, as well as offered other ways they could run it with less risk. For the purpose of this trip that sounds like a good approach. If they want to come back and go for the challenge of it all, they can do it when they don’t have the leg to Maine still in front of them.

The one in Atlanta???

Thanks MOM

– Last Updated: Feb-12-08 9:30 AM EST –

for clearing that up.

Don't you think we can read?

I'll start posting when I think your comments are silly.

His biggest question was:
to take the canoe or rent for this trip?

What water he paddles will always be dependent on the water level that day.

About the Ichetucknee…
Try to paddle the river on weekdays only, especially during the spring/summer season. The park will not allow anything disposable or breakable (such as glass) on the river. You are allowed to carry a water container (such as canteen) but not a disposable bottle. Sandwiches and other foods must be in a non-disposable container (such as a tupperware sandwich tub). If you enjoy alcoholic drinks (beer, wine, etc.) don’t even think of taking it onto state park property. They will fine you for each and every container in your vehicle and/or boat and it ain’t cheap! If you’re content with following the rules you can have a great time.

Now when I go there I avoid all that by launching from a private park on the south side of Hwy27 but the only reason I can do that is because my ex-wife owns property in the Three Rivers community (a mixed blessing of sorts). I can paddle upstream into the park and when a park ranger goes to give me a hard time I inform him/her of my launchpoint and since Florida law states that except for a few areas, any navigable waterway up to the mean annual water level belongs to the people of the state of Florida, they then leave me be.

Have a great time.

Thanks to all who replied.

As far as the Nantahala goes… it seems more prudent to gain some experience and then try it in late summer with a group when the temperature is a little more bearable. Guess we better see about either taking a guided raft tour or finding a slower moving river up to class one rapids in the Bryson/Asheville area for now.

Will post another thread and see if there are any suggestions for such.

Thanks again,