Wednesday, May 11, 2011

On the Pigeon River

Last night we heard some very tragic news. Our Team Lead at Dollywood, John, had died of a heart attack on the golf course that afternoon. I find it spooky to think that I just saw him on Sunday at work, and will never see him again. A severe reminder of how mortal we are and how precious time really is. You take for granted you’ll make it to the next day if you’re relatively healthy, but sometimes you must not take anything for granted. Another reason we are doing this now, not later. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his family and friends and co-workers.

The temperature was supposed to be a record high today, so where else better to spend it than in a nice cool river? Last week I noticed the River Rage outfit in Townsend down the road a bit from us. I called them and asked Elvira if we could use our own inflatable kayak, but take advantage of their shuttle. She said sure and we planned it for today – the best weather day of the week. It was a tubing and kayaking rental place with a BBQ restaurant that would give you a 10 percent discount if you used their facilities. Gray led and I followed him to our take out point and parked the Jeep in the shade. He gave me a ride back to Gary while we talked about his desire to become a fulltime RVer as soon as his youngest ‘flew the nest’.

The ride took about 10 minutes and he watched us at work putting together our SeaEagle kayak.
We love this thing because it is the perfect kayak for RVers. It only takes 15 minutes or less to seaworthy shape, and less to put away. Everything fits in a foldable bag except the paddles for which I made a bag. I gave it to Gary for his birthday present back in December of ’09. I think we’ve used it about 7 times by now and in some pretty rough water, but it is a class IV rapids 420x and we’ve hit a lot of rocks and tree limbs with not even a scratch. Like today.

The river was low (considering the enormous flooding of the western rivers) and they warned us that we may have to walk over some shallow rapids. Just getting in the river was interesting. We had to walk into the river climbing around boulders on slippery moss and mud covered rocks. River rocks are very smooth and round – not easy when they’re hidden in knee-deep water. But we made it into the main draw of the Pigeon River around 11:30 am for our 1 1/2 hour cruise. We only saw these two tubers who must have gotten their bums bumped numerous times on those shallow rapids.
We left them far behind and noticed the “Tree of Lost Souls” with flipflops and watershoes nailed to it.
Someone had a clever sense of humor. These geese should be heading further north soon, but first they have to raise their family of five.
There were many beautiful homes along the river with hammocks
and waterfalls. Some other creatures had homes along the river, too, in these various caves.

The water was too shallow in some places and Gary had to get out and haul me over the rocks back into the deeper water.

I wish I could have taken a few shots of the delicious-looking trout we floated over all the way to the end. I offered Gary the net we had along, but he laughed. He was sure a Ranger would see him and we’d get fined. The fishing licenses are pretty steep ($80) and I don’t think we would catch $80 worth of fish while we were here.

We don’t paddle too hard when it’s calm water,
and we did get stuck on about 10 of the 12 rapids we encountered.
The best rapids were the ones that were deep enough that we didn’t get stuck and made us feel like real rapid riders! We were getting pretty hungry and finally arrived at the Jeep at 2 o’clock – way past the time they said it would take.
We deflated the boat, dried it off, folded it up and tossed in into the back of the Jeep and headed to Little River BBQ with a screened porch dining room on the river.
We shared the chicken and rib platter with sides of coleslaw, puppies and fried okra (for Gary – I don’t touch the stuff) two rolls and quart jars of fresh iced tea. Should have taken a picture, for it sure was pretty – but here’s a pretty picture of my hubby on the porch.

We had a great day that, if we were not RVers, would never have happened. We love this life.


  1. What a great day!! Sure was fun seeing the river through your eyes!! Keep having fun!!

  2. So sorry to hear about John. That makes everything so much more important to do now. You just never know. Sounds like you had a wonderful day! Isn't this the greatest life?