More Paddlin’ For Me: ChilWOWee Weekend *Updated

For Memorial Day, I joined a Meet-Up for “Blue Buns”. We camped at Chilhowie Campground in Cherokee National Forest. I snagged the last couple of overflow campsites. I drove around the various campsite loops – they seemed to be right on top of one another. The bathroom for the overflow sites was shared with people at the ‘beach’ so it was not a pleasant experience. (Again, this is Memorial Day weekend….)

We had a campfire and enjoyed the people-watching. (That is a family toting twin-sized mattresses. For camping. No tent. No overhang.)

Then we headed out Saturday morning for kayaking and tubing down the Hiawassee River with Hiawassee Outfitters (will not use again… see subsequent post) I hadn’t kayaked since my double rotator cuff surgeries, so I took it easy at first. The views were gorgeous:

It was the first water release of the season – but everyone got stuck in the rapids from time to time.Watching the 4-6 man rafts repeatedly have to get out and push was amusing.

My POV a few times (and my new water shoes):

I was definitely working some ‘booty-scooting’ and ‘pelvic thrust’ movements to dislodge myself. I hit a few rapids and managed to video it, while ‘steering’ with my elbow. (Don’t judge!)

Then we took a hike to Benton Falls – it’s a 3 mile out and back. The signage was a bit confusing because none of us brought a map (brilliant experienced hikers we are!). The majority of the hike was a walk in the woods, passing by some rather colorful characters. (A rather rough-looking motorcycle group, a family in full Berkas, and some very rednecky folks…) The trail took a sharp turn to descend to the actual falls – it was clear that there had been some recent work done but still had a lot of work to do. It was wicked packed and difficult to enjoy the scenery.We hiked back to camp. More campfire and star-gazing. Everyone was in their tents after midnight. Then around 1:30am, a group of young adults (I feel like a geezer typing this) started making a lot of noise. Banging pans. Cooking. Talking loudly. Gave them a few minutes to settle down and hoping someone else (of the 20-odd other tents in the area) would ask them to keep it down. No luck. At 2am, I got out of my tent, walked across field and nicely reminded them “Quiet Hours” began at 11pm. I got eye-rolls and sighs. So then I told them that if I had to come back over, I was cranky from 2 nights of no sleep thanks to loud snorer camping next to me, that I would be packin’ my Bear Spray. It worked. 😉

On Sunday, we hiked back down to Benton Falls – no one was there, so we were able to take it in peacefully.

Then we decided to do anti-tranquility and do some ziplining. The operators were professional and fun, but the views were ‘eh’. 

We ended up kayaking again on Monday (I mixed in Monday’s pics with Saturdays). Definitely felt more comfortable this time around. No GPX files to upload.


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