The summer of 2007 I got it in my head to take one of my three day weekends and go rafting. I convinced a couple friends and one of my nieces to join the adventure. I use the word "convince" very loosely, since most of them didn't need much persuasion. We left on Friday morning and headed up near Bryson City, NC. We had a reservation at a campground about a mile from the NOC. It was a really nice campground and the people there were friendly. The first night we experienced sport overload. The campground had a patch of grass about 30 yards by 30 yards. They had a basketball hoop, a swing set, and a volleyball net. People were engaged in all these activities. We started playing frisbee in the free space. Added to that was a couple dogs who were running around. Yep, it was an organized chaos of activity.
The next morning we headed to a local rafting outfitter to rent our raft so we could run the Nantahala. One of my friends had run the Nantahala a hundred times by kayak, so he was going to be our guide. This made the rental much cheaper for all of us. Shortly after we hit the water, I was questioning this decision since several times he ran from the back to the front of the boat and flipped into the water. Last I checked it was helpful if the guide stayed in the boat. Luckily it's not a difficult river.
That afternoon we grabbed lunch and then packed into a car to drive to the Ocoee. We were running the middle Ocoee that afternoon. On the way to Tenn someone in the car mentioned that this trip was intense. To which another person replied, "As opposed to cabins?" Several people laughed after a brief pause, but my friend who had made the intense comment didn't get it. About halfway in the drive he shouted, "I get it! In tents, instead of cabins. Oh, that's funny." And at that moment "In Tents" adventures was born. The joke was funny all weekend. Really, it didn't grow old at all.
The next morning a few of us were up early and sitting around the fire. Someone suggested it would be fun to try and have an entire conversation using only song lyrics. This started a hilarious conversation that lasted about 30 minutes. This is a prime example of why I enjoy my guy friends. They are easily entertained, which is nice to join in on.
We were going to run the Pigeon that morning, but it wasn't running. Instead we headed back to the Nantahala. This time we ran it in kayaks and duckies (inflatable kayaks). I ran it in a kayak. It's a whole different river in a kayak than a raft. My blood pressure rose to about 230 after the first rapid. Needless to say, I did not run the last class 3 rapid at the end. At some point I'd love to learn to whitewater canoe.
After running the Nantahala on Sunday, we ate lunch and all parted ways. The group I traveled with from Florida was back in town about midnight. So, in 72 hours we drove to NC and back, ran three rivers, and altogether had a great time. There was no "In Tents" in 2008, but a group did get together in 2009 for another trip. I've already posted a few stories from that trip.
Plans for "In Tents 2010" include running the Cheoah and doing some more camping.