Ocoee River Whitewater

Ocoee River Whitewater
Ocoee River

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

RAIN, and more Rain



Blairsville, GA  (high 72, low 55)


I month of so ago, I had some trouble with my laptop causing it to be too slow to write a blog or do much else. I have had it fixed for quite a while now, but I got out of the mood to write a blog. 

One of the main reasons I write a blog is to be able to refer back to what we did and when and to keep a diary of the weather and temperatures we’re experiencing, so I guess I’d better get back to it.

August was pretty hot here this year and we even had to keep the AC on most evenings until later in the month.

September started getting cool and I think it’s now my favorite month, although we did see some lows into the low 40’s a couple nights.

We’ve  had almost 2 weeks of rainy weather, with only about 2 days of sunshine until Sunday when the front finally passed by.  The combination of Hurricane Jaoquin, which at one point was a Cat 5 storm, and a low pressure system caused record setting rains in South Carolina. The outer bands of the South Carolina 1000 year flooding extended to the northeast Georgia mountains, which is where we are.  We didn’t get nearly the rains of South Caroline, but we got plenty.

Normally rainy days are great times for golf cart rides along the country roads and seeing the clouds hanging on top of the mountains.



views from golf cart

During this rain event, all we saw was rain and grey skies, so we didn’t even get out in the golf cart.  The streets were flooding from the heavy rains, so we left the golf cart parked.

We got well over 5 inches in one 24 hour period. The normally calm Nottley River which borders our campground, got pretty high with raging waters nearly overflowing its banks.

This picture was taken from the car from the campsite our friends will be on in about 2 weeks.  It didn’t overflow it’s banks, but it was very close.  The river is normally 5 feet lower than in this photo.


You can see the campsites to the right.  Those trees are not normally in the river.



We wondered if our lake was going to overflow, and if it did, was our site on the low end of the lake?

It as higher than normal, but it stayed within it’s banks.


I have been unable to resist all the beautiful Mums that are sold everywhere, so the deck was filled with flowers and fall decor.


After days and days of rain, with more on the way, we decided to bring some of our flowers in so they wouldn’t be ruined.  When Al went outside to cover and move them, it was only a light drizzle, but by the time he finished, it was coming down pretty hard.  Poor Al, got a little wet.

Rainy day in Georgia

(pictures taken from inside)

Rainy day in Georgia

Baxter and I stayed nice and dry documenting the progress.


The poor birds were starving but Al kept the bird feeders full and they seemed to have appreciated it.


Thanks Al!  The flowers and birds seem to have survived.

The entire area for hundreds of miles was inundated with rain so our fall foliage may not be nice this year.  We had very little wind, and most of the leaves are still on the trees, so hopefully we’ll get some decent color.

The rain finally stopped Sunday and we have enjoyed being back outside.

Last night on our evening happy hour/golf cart ride we saw quite a few deer. I think everyone was glad the rain quit.

I happened to zoom in and catch this poor trying to have a pee in private.  :)

deer taking a pee

After she finished, she did a little shake.

and shaking her tail afterwards

There are chipmunks in this area, but we had never seen one around our campsite, until this morning.  This guy was hanging out underneath the bird feeder catching what spilled.



I’ve been sanding and re-staining our kitchen chairs and Al has been cutting some wood and making new bear decorations.  Today he is planning to change the oil in the generator.

My best friend that I met in the 7th grade is coming for a visit in a few weeks, so we have to get off our duffs and get our work done!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ocoee River Dam Whitewater Release



Blairsville, GA (high 78, low 59)


I had forgotten how nice the weather is in September here in Blairsville.  I wish September would last longer.  :)   October will bring much colder temps and with it our desire to head south.

I am trying to get caught up on my blogs now that my laptop is running well again.

The Saturday before last, we decided to head to Tennessee to see the last dam release of the season from the Ocoee II Whitewater Center.  It’s about scenic 50 mile drive, and we made a day of it. There are three different white water release areas  (Ocoee I, II and III). We had never seen it from Ocoee II,and since that was the location of the whitewater events in the 1996 Summer Olympics, we wanted to see it with water flowing.   And flow it did!

We had previously seen this portion of the river “dry.”

There are two bridges crossing the river.  This is the main one.


You can see how rocky it is.  It’s naturally made gorge and no rocks had to be excavated.  They did add some rocks for some of the courses for the Olympics.


The dam release didn’t happen until 10:30am, so we got there early enough to take photos of the before, during and after the water release.

Here is a before picture,  looking upriver.



Looking down river.

Ocoee River III Olympic Center before water release, looking downriver from main bridge


If you look at the top middle of this next picture you can see the water starting to come down.  It started out with a little rise and in minutes the flow began in earnest.


Still looking upriver.  It’s coming.


and coming



A lot of trees are now underwater.


The beginning of the flow looking downriver.


Still coming.



The water no sooner covered the rocks than the whitewater rafts started coming, and coming, and coming.





Then, for some reason, they had to all stop by the bridge and wait.  Maybe they needed to make sure there was enough water downstream?


Finally, they started to go.  One at a time.


There are several different whitewater centers. Each had different color boats.  The blue team started first.


There were no spills, initially.




Notice the waterfall behind the raft in the following picture?


I think the next picture shows the same spot before the water came.



There was an area downriver a little that apparently was the spot where they expected people to tumble out of their boats.

There were 3 guys standing onshore, with helmets, wearing life preservers and with rescue ropes in hand.


This area drew the biggest crowds of watchers, so we knew there would be a lot of spills.


Most got dumped from this raft.


There were people under that whitewater.  We held our breath waiting for them to pop back up.


The guys on shore sprung into action to rescue them.  Despite the rafters wearing life preservers and helmets, they could easily die.  Last year two women died one week-end in separate accidents.  A friend of ours who was a tri-athlete and is a strong swimmer, got thrown out of one of these rafts and very nearly drowned a few months ago.  We’re glad you’re still with us Stephanie! 

The rescuer almost went into the water himself.  The lady there grabbed his foot, as he was trying to grab a guy struggling in the water.


You can see the top of a helmet in the water. The poor guy nearly drowned I think.  I think there was another guy underwater towards the left of the photo.


It took him a few minutes to catch his breath.


There were some serious rapids.



Note to self.  If you decide to go white water river rafting, DO NOT go with the company in the RED boats.  They seemed to like to spill their folks.


Other boats had trouble, but not as many ended up in the water as the red boats.


I watched one boat leader have the group stop paddling right in a dip that I would have been paddling like crazy.  They ended up caught in the swirling water and capsized, throwing everyone but the “captain” out and into the water.

This next picture shows something that nearly gave me heart failure.  Why in the hell was this young mother letting her baby get so close to the water?

We assumed this “rescuer” was maybe her husband?



She let that baby crawl all over on those sharp rocks and she did  not always have her eye on that baby.  I would have had that baby on a leash.


At one point the baby crawled right down to the side walk where bicycles were flying by all the time.  Yikes.  What is wrong with people?


After watching for awhile, we took a drive down to Ocoee III, which wasn’t nearly as exciting and everybody stayed in their boats.   :)


Nice rock walls along the highway.



Tandem kayakers getting ready to hit the rapids.


There is another drop off point at Ocoee III. 


The water becomes like a lake, flat calm and with no apparent current.


On the other side of the bridge in the photo above, there is a spillway.  It doesn’t look as high or steep in the picture as it really is.  No rafts or kayakers go off the spillway.




There is a path that you walk down to the water to launch your rafts or kayaks just past the spillway.


Or you can walk down even further to launch in an area with less rapids.


There is a nice little kayak launch here, but somebody decided to stand right in front of the photographer, so you can’t see it very well.   :)


It’s a beautiful area and a wonderful place to spend the day…even if you choose not to go whitewater rafting.


There are mountain biking trails, hiking trails and of course white water rafting and kayaking.

nice trails





It was a lovely day with a high temperature of 70 degrees or less.  Sure beats Florida in the summer!  The ride home was beautiful with gorgeous scenery all the way home.