Olympic Whitewater Center

Blue Ridge Journal Day 6

Day 6

Thursday

Highlight of the day: The Olympic Whitewater Center. We arrived at the Welcome Center and explored the near dry Ocoee River bed where the 1996 Summer Olympics were held. Had we visited on the weekend we could’ve watched kayakers tackling the hybrid course (it’s partially man-made) in all of its glory. We settled instead for the lower section of the Ocoee where we watched rafters and kayakers alike tossed about on what looked like a thrill ride. Dana and I have done our share of guided whitewater rafting but nothing we’d experienced compared with the river before us. At one point we met Sally and Steve who were canoeing and kayaking, respectively, down the Ocoee and had pulled out for a moment due to Sally having a foot cramp. We talked for nearly half an hour as they offered pointers for we novice paddlers. They told us about a great spot to pull off and watch kayakers “rodeo” named “The Hell Hole.” They weren’t kidding. What a blast. We found a spot under the bridge where we could’ve reached out and touched the boats. We got some great pics and video. We weren’t there very long before our newfound friends made their way through the rapid…at least Sally went through. Her hubby decided to take a gentler path…around the rapid. We waved and cheered as they went by. We literally had to pull ourselves away because of our growling bellies. After a delicious meal of cedar-grilled trout, most of which Dana caught, we chilled for the night.