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Discussion Starter #1
I'll be in Tennessee for a long weekend at the start of May. I want to bring my IK and check out the smokies. Anyone know anything about the Ocoee or the Pigeon? When are the releases? What are they like? Will I find boaters to shuttle and run with that time of year?

It'll be like early summer!!!
 

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Ocoee should be open by then, rockslide at the put-in added some off-season drama this year. You will have your choice of 24,964 people that would help with shuttle. its madness. but fun. Ocoee isn't in the Smokies though, further south. Tellico River is near the Ocoee, and its a blast if it has water.
Pigeon is kinda boring IMO, but easy shuttle and access right off I-40. again, shuttle wouldnt be a problem on release weekends.
Both Ocoee and Pigoen are dam release, Ocoee all weekend and Pigeon on saturdays and a few weekdays if I recall.

the forum at BT may help...
www.boatertalk.com

lots of other stuff might be flowing in May if it stays wet. The Little and some of the creeks around the Smokies are classics. get in touch as it gets closer, we're always heading to TN or NC most weekends.
 

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I personally am not a big fan of the Pigeon because of the smell. There is a paper plant upstream that stinks and they dump stuff into the river that changes its color. The Ocoee is fun and there are always a ton of people there. If you are near the Erwin area, the Nolichucky is also a really fun river. It is freestone so with the spring rains, May is normally a good time for fun flows. It is a remote gorge by eastern standards and super pretty. Class 3/4, but if the flows are above 1,500cfs I'd be careful in a funyak. It can get pretty pushy. The Nolichucky is about 50 minutes north of Asheville and there are a ton of boaters in Asheville, so you could probably find someone to show you the good lines.
 

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Kjirsten
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Randy, I did the Ocoee and the Nolichucky while I was there last summer. Here are some pros and cons:

If the water is up, the Noli should be a lot of fun.

It's more remote-feeling- it's supposedly the oldest gorge in the east- everything is covered in kudzuu (sp?) and it feels like a jungle. There are train tracks following along part of it.

There will be way fewer people. There aren't as many rapids, but the ones it has are fun.

The day I did the Ocoee, I had to wait for over 30 rafts from 4 different companies to launch before me- one of whom pinned on the first ledge drop 5 feet from the ramp, which was nice of him because it gave everyone else a cushion to push off. :twisted:

Throw in the 50+ kayaks who were on the water that day and suffice it to say, the traffic jams were incredible.

The plus side is that the Ocoee is continuous Class III (they call it Class IV but it's not by Western standards and I'm not being pretentious)

The other plus is that the Nantahala is on the way to the Ocoee so if you're in the area you could hit that too- I didn't get a chance to run it, but it looked really pretty (not rowdy) from what I could see.
 

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Nanty is class II with one III and can be very busy as well, not quite Ocoee busy but close. very cold water. Noli is very far from Ocoee, keep that in mind. But prettier and much less crowded. Long shuttle, $25 at the campground will get it taken care of for you. Well worth it @ 1500cfs or more.

People that call Ocoee class IV dont boat. Even the Upper O is still a class III+/IV-. Middle O is fun class III, like TMTTR said, and the only hazards are the hundreds of floating undercuts.

Again, you may have a few dozen options that are much better than all of the ones mentioned above. Rain dependent...
 

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The Nanty is class II and exceptionally boring if you have anything other than the most basic of skills, which judging by your posts I think you are well beyond that level. Exactly where will you be in TN? That might help narrow down the options a little. The Noli is cool because it is extremely regulated and there are only 6 permits to run it commercially and they are shared between 5 outfitters. This means that even on the busiest of days there is very little commercial traffic. However, in early May there isn't much commercial traffic on any rivers. www.unclejohnnys.net will get you to a shuttle and cheap place to camp.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks y'all. It sounds like a circus on the Ocoee, but maybe May will be milder. I'm actually going to be staying in Nashville, but I have a rent a car and can travel to the smokies. Anyone know of boating closer to Nashville/Murfreesboro?
 

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Cumberland Plateau. No dam release, all free flow. My favorite place to boat in the southeast, the Smokies are a close 2nd.

Big South Fork, Obed, dozens of quality creeks...I could go on and on. Plateau is more of a game time decision because its rain dependent, but the BSF will have water. Its a remote area, you would definitly want to meet up with locals for most of these runs.
another good site for Plateau and Smokies runs...kinda weird to navigate but useful...
Main Creek Page

The Smokies will still be your best bet for roadside/easy shuttles as long as we have water. Expect to drive at least 3 hours to the goods.
 

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The BSF is fun, and fairly chill. Very pretty, though for some reason I've only managed to catch it on rainy days. The Tellico is a blast, especially if you like ledges. Cain creek into the Caney Fork is a blast if you like creeking.
 

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The ocoee is a lot of fun. Even with the crowds, its worth it. There may be better times of day to put in to avoid the mass launch, I'm not sure when that is though. Also there is an upper section that doesn't run as much that is a a bit harder than the lower section. Tons of info on these runs on AW.

Tellico and the Little are classics in the smokies. Depending on what difficulty you are looking for, these could be great. The main tellico run has lots of ledges and one of the easiest 15ft waterfalls there is. I'd run it in a ducky! If you want more class III, I think there are runs adjacent or close that are a bit mellower.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well I might not drop in a ducky it just because Jeff Snyder does. I'll probably plan on boating class 3 in the duck since I'll be rolling with strangers, I swim from the duck and the east is undercut, and it'll be my first time down whatever it is. I'll call the clubs though. I might try to paddle two rivers in the one day I have, or at least do a longer trip with an easy shuttle. Where can I paddle 10 miles of class 3 near the road out there?

I was going to bring my mandolin to Tennessee, but it looks like it'll be the ducky instead.
 

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10 miles will be tough, but running the Little River in the Smokies from Elkmont all the way to the Elbow would give you lots of class II-III+. I'd sneak or walk the Sinks if you're in a ducky.
Tellico River from the upper Ledges section all the way down to Tellico Plains if you wanted...class II-III+.
Both are scenic and very fun.
 

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A few the members in chota paddles a duck.

If you can hook up with some locals you could also try a run on clear creek(jett to lilly) or the obed, but those are not roadside.

If the little is in it will be worth the drive. It was my my regular after work or the last 2 years. Hitch-ability is okay during sunny weekend winter days due to the many tourists, just in case you plan on solo run.

You can run it lower than 2.6 on the gauge, I'd say 2.4 is the cut off but I have run it as low as 1.8 and still had good time.
American Whitewater - NWRI - Little 3. Elbow to the 'Y' (Townsend)

Post in the trip planner on boater talk, a lot of the knoxville boaters use that forum.
 
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