Normally my big weekend adventure posts that span across a day or two usually include a bunch of photos but for some reason we didn't take any pics last weekend. Why we didn't I'm not sure, we had cameras on hand. I guess we were just having too much fun and forgot, sorry. I do have some to share that I forgot about from the previous weekend but I'll get to those later.
So where was I.... oh yeah, Tsali, I ain't gonna lie we didn't put in a bunch of miles on the bike Saturday, after riding Thompson and Mouse Branch we opted for a shower and lunch/beers on the river banks of the Nantahala river. The NOC (Nantahala Outdoor Center), if you've never been there is like a small village in itself all centered around the river and whitewater. We've grown attached to the two funky little restaurants that sit on the river banks. The have pretty good food but the local brews they have on tap and the kayak action going on just a few feet from your table is what really draws our attention. We ran back to camp, swapped out sweaty, stinky lycra, grabbed the dogs and headed over to the NOC. Moonshine and Jackson love to play in the water even though it's ice cold. While Melinda stood in line geating lunch I took the dogs into the water to play. There were a couple of kids collecting rocks off the bottom and stacking them up on a larger rock just off the waters edge. Moonshine, who has a thing for rocks was watching the two kids very closely. Before I knew it she started snatching their rocks they were laying out to the side. After a minute the kids realized what was going on and gave me the stink eye.
While we were having lunch on the banks of the river with the dogs a group of guys practicing swift water rescue for the local rescue squad caught our attention. They were pretty cool to watch, especially their techniques for pulling someone out of the water in class 2 and 3 rapids. I noticed all of them were wearing helmets with their names or nicknames written on duct tape on the front of their helmets. In one particular rescue they had their biggest guy, probably pushing 300 lbs., with the nickname "ham sandwich" or "hamburger" stand facing up stream while the rest of the guys ducked in behind him in two lines. Ham Sandwich was wide enough that the rest of the guys could stand behind him and stay out of the current. They all kind of leaned into him to keep him upright against the flow and walked sideways out into the river to the person who they were rescuing. They grabbed the kid up tucked him in behind Ham Sandwich and carried him back to shore all as one unit, Ham Sandwich diverting the rapids around the group.
Sunday morning after we ate our weight in free pancakes we loaded up and headed back to the NOC for an appointment with some whitewater. It's been a long time since I rafted the Nantahala so I really couldn't remember the difficulty but everyone said it was pretty tame so we opted to go unguided. If things got slow on the river we figured our lack of experience might make it a bit more entertaining.