North Carolina - September 1998

Picture of nanty1 Today's lesson is on rafting and kayaking. Specifically, we are going to discuss the rapid known as Nantahala Falls, found on the Nantahala River (of course) in southwestern North Carolina. Here is image #1. The red box is drawn to help you locate the raft which is currently traversing the second and larger drop sideways. Lesson #1 is: do not go over drops sideways. Notice the serious lack of people still in the raft. This is proof that lesson #1 is valid.

Picture of nanty2 Here we have image #2. You'll notice that we've closed in on the large rock which lies river right as you enter the rapid. (River left in this picture). Lesson #2 is: do not hit the large rock at the entrance to the rapid. Naturally, this picture shows a raft full of people who have failed to miss the large rock. Soon, this will be a raft that isn't full of people.

Picture of nanty3 For image #3 we focus on the second drop once again. Here at the bottom of the drop (in the helpful red box) is what we call a hole. This really isn't particularly dangerous to people in a raft, unless you have absolutely no forward speed whatsoever. (Which is nearly impossible unless, of course, you've lost your paddle in the entrance to the rapid). Lesson #3 is: Do not lose your paddle before entering the rapid. This raft has become caught (momentarily) in the hole, and is attempting the advanced kayaking move known as an ender. However, this doesn't work well in a raft because there's nothing to really hold you in. This results in swimming.

Picture of nanty4 Now you may be wondering, what would happen if I allowed my paddle to become caught in the current, and since I was trying to follow lesson #3, I didn't let go, so I followed it right over the edge of my raft and into the river. The answer is: you'd become wet, probably cold, and you'd get to swim the remainder of the rapid. Lesson #4 is: Do not swim through the rapid when you have a perfectly good boat. Here in image #4 is a perfectly good boat. You'll notice the people who had crewed this boat have failed to follow lesson #4. Shame on them.

Picture of nanty5 Some of you may be wondering if the above rules apply to kayaks as well. Lesson #5 is: Lessons #1 through #4 apply to kayaks as well. Here we have two kayaks (we've called in the reserve yellow box to help our viewers at home as well). Now you'll notice that they have and most likely will avoid hitting the big rock. However, they have failed to stay in their boats, and there's really no way of telling what they might have done with their paddles. This is wrong.

Picture of nanty6 At this point you're no doubt thinking: Wow! Look at all the boxes. Here we see, surrounded by the now-familiar red box, a person. Our less familiar yellow box is pointing out the personal flotation device or, if you prefer, the lifejacket. And the newly hired green box is indicating the boat. The more astute reader will have already pounced on the fact that lesson #4 is going woefully unheeded at this point. Furthermore, lesson #6 is also being violated. Lesson #6 is: Do not go swimming without your lifejacket. By the way, we should mention that none of the people on this web page were harmed (physically) in the making of this web page.


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