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Smokey Mountain Spring Break 2008 Trip Report

AutoBoof Kayaking Spring Break 2008

Unless otherwise Posted
Photos by Steve McGrady
Text by Chris Gorman

chris gorman boxcar rapid french broad
Photo by Clinton Koontz

My 2008 Spring break couldn’t have landed on a better week. It was the first week of March, a giant band of rain hit the entire east coast, dumping up to 2.5 inches in some places. From West Virginia to Georgia, the rivers were full. No one had to travel far to find the goods.

We started off from Blacksburg, making our way to NC to harvest some of the rain. We soon found that everything was too high. Everything was blown out, Except the tiny tributaries of tributaries a moderate amount of water.

One of these tributaries of tributaries was Tannasee creek, a tributary of a tributary of the Little Tennessee river, over near the north fork of the French broad.. This is a great class 3 – 4 creek with some wood that required some class 5 scouting, We had a large crew, and owe a lot of thanks to Clipper and Sprinkle for that run. They bombed ahead and pre scouted all of the major drops for us. At one point Clipper sat in the middle of the river screaming ‘LEFT!’ as the river took a 90 turn and crashed over a 10 foot ledge. Unfortunately we have no photos to share with you.


West Prong

westprong kayak autoboof

The following day, Wednesday (03/05/08) all of the rivers in the Smokey’s lowered to reasonable levels.

I have wanted to get on the West Prong of the Little Pigeon for a long time, Boofing through the lower section is truly an aerobic work out. Skully, Steve McGrady, Matt, and I caught the Lower West Prong at 1.4ft. Great level.
We made it down to the top of the mini gorge before I noticed that the paddle I was using cracked down the shaft. There was no carnage, I was hitting my boofs all day, the paddle just cracked in an eddy. No one had a breakdown paddle in their boat at the time.

It seemed unsafe to continue boating through so many continuous and difficult rapids with my paddle threatening to split in two at any moment. I hiked to the road and hitched a ride with a friendly park ranger (who had a serious semi-automatic rifle in between the passenger and drivers seat, but that’s another story). I made it down to the river just in time to greet Steve, Skully, and Matt and congratulate them on a successful run.

Thunderhead and Tremont

Every river in the park was running. Naturally we decided to take advantage of this rare occurrence and add a couple new rivers to our resumes; Thunderhead Prong into the Tremont. Thunderhead prong is a feeder stream into Tremont.

We drove to the put in for Tremont and hiked up Thunderhead Prong to the first bridge where the river splits and even more volume is lost. Thunderhead consists of maybe 5 ledges with boogey in between. After the last drop of Thunderhead, Lynn camp Prong comes in on the right, signifying that we entered onto Tremont.

skully boofs stop sign kayak autoboof
Bone's Biggest Boof

The level was rocking and the river consisted of a couple sketchy tree limbos and numerous 5 foot boofs. Thanks to Matt we made it safely to our cars, but not before launching a couple sick boofs off of stop sign rapid.

gor boof autoboof kayak
The author hitting the sweet spot in Stop Sign

chris gorman autoboof productions kayak

That week was awesome and that was only the first two days...More to come!