Friday, July 6, 2012

Taming the Tuckaseegee River

My Jumbled JournalRandom thoughts and memories.
A Day on the Tuckaseegee River
Rafting down the Tuckaseegee River was going to be a picnic...literally, I packed a picnic. We arrived at the boat house to pick up our small raft and gear. Others chose tubes, or canoes or larger rafts for groups. They asked us if we wanted a guide. We don't need no stinkin' guide. The 'Tuck' (locals call it the Tuck) has a gentle flow and just a few mild rapids. This would be a very relaxing few hours. It's a beautiful scenic river curving through tall three-lined banks, under bridges and with a view of the mountains, and as mentioned a few small rapids to make you feel adventurous. A lovely day for a river trip.

Off we went!  We waited for the guide raft ahead of us to get going as he had several rafts tethered behind him. They must be city-folk with no experience on a river.

So far so good. We began paddling and soon realized that despite great paddling and great steering we were headed to the bank on the other side with the low hanging trees. We were being pulled even though the surface wasn't that rough. Paddling faster and using both paddles as a rudder to.......
not gonna make it! duck!
Under the trees we careened and used all our strength not to hit the rocky bank.

We paddled like crazy to get back in the middle of the river. Ok, let's try this again. Very soon we were being pulled by some monster-like force to the other side. We were like balls in a cosmic pin ball machine. Get back out in the middle and try to stay there.

You could see where the rocks were hidden just below the surface by the current. I think we hit every rock. At one point we hit the rocks so hard that we got stuck on top like cartoon characters. After we dislodged ourselves we were headed back down the river....backwards! Paddling to turn the raft we bounced off several groups of rocks and went down a nice rapid without tipping over.
It was a little calmer now as this was the widest part of the river. We saw a couple in another boat way up ahead about 100 yards. We were headed in that direction. I thought we were getting a little too close and told Larry not to hit their boat. He assured me that there was no way he was going to hit their boat, now about 50 yards, then 25 yards, then 10 yards away. It was quiet on this part of the river and I wanted to get away from their boat without being noticed. We steered,  we paddled, we steered harder and managed to gently hit the side of their boat sideways, think parallel parking. Very stealth! There was only one boat in view on this large, very ride river, and we manage slam into them. They never saw it coming! They were engrossed in conversation.
"So sorry! the current is very powerful and we couldn't fight it."
 They asked how long we had been so close and did we hear any of their conversation. I assured them we did not. Apparently they were deciding on their plans when they got back to their hotel and wanted us to know that they were not sex-crazed, but were trying to conceive while on vacation. I think they should name the baby Tuck.

I don't think we missed a rock for the rest of the trip. Larry had to get out a few times to dislodge us and once we  were stuck on rocks in a swirling rapid for a while until another guide (with tethered boats behind him) came over to help us and the two of them got our boat off the rocks without anyone getting swept away. That propelled us into a series of small rapids then into an open area that seemed to be calm enough for a rest. We were laughing so hard that we couldn't paddle anyway. When we got on our way again, we managed to go with the flow into a gorge under a bridge where people wave and you wave back like everything is under control. I think that's where people get lulled into a false sense of confidence about river rafting and head to the rental station.

We made it back to the lot where the car was parked and turned in our gear and looked
like the proverbial drowned rats, but we were laughing so hard we couldn't talk and I think people thought we'd gone mad.  We still can't talk about it to this day without
laughing uncontrollably.

We never got to eat our picnic because it was 'all hands on deck' the whole time.
I can't wait to do it again!


photos courtesy of Tuckaseegee Outdoor Center


  1. Oh Rita......only someone who has been there and done that could really appreciate your adventure.
    Ours was back in the late 70s with 2 children, a dog and 3 other families. Friends had a camp on the Saco River in N. Conway, NH and many trips were made with rafts, canoes and kayaks. We were quite a site but had the best times of our lives. Thank you for the laughs and the memories.

  2. Wow! You are quite the adventuresome couple! I would have probably freaked out!! I glad you made it safely back to your car and had a really good time!!

    Ann @

  3. You are so brave. I cannot swim. I would never ever do this.

  4. Man, you are one adventurous chick! I think I'll stick to my hiking! LOL!!!

  5. So...the couple that was concerned if you heard their planning to conceive are now part of your blog posting...LOL! How funny!
    Sounds like just the activity to take on during the hot summer.