It only takes a few overnight paddling trips to realize that multi-day paddling is simply a more in depth way of experiencing the river. Beyond the realm of getting our fix, spending more than one day paddling a river immerses you that much more in the essence of the place you normally just blaze through for a quick ride. On the path towards being in the moment more of the time, an overnighter on any river is time worth spent. When you slow down your typical approach to getting out there, getting it done and coming home, you see more; the resolution is greater, there is more to everything you interact with.
After paddling stretches of the upper Obed this winter, I quickly realized that the best whitewater overnighter in Tennessee would be to put in at Potter Ford and takeout at Nemo bridge, for 22 miles of wilderness paddling with no bridges and little sign of civilization. Not to mention this stretch has miles of classic whitewater. Due to Catoosa closing off access to Potter Ford, the weekend we targeted would require puting in at Adams bridge another 4 miles upstream, yielding a 26 mile journey.
I must say we had the perfect group. South Knox and West Knox represented well, with a broad variety of personalities to bring to a boil the ideal concoction of paddlers. Like any adventure, there was a lot more to this simple weekend getaway than any one of us could have anticipated. That's the one thing you can count on when you leave the artificial world behind for more than one fleeting day. Camaraderie, adventure, beauty, wildlife, solitude, action, carnage, and all around good times.
Some frozen moments:
How inviting is this?
Good place to be
Steve Sanborn & Rachel Codd
Scouting "Billy Goat Bluff", which was quite a narrow spot for the rafts
Steve driving through Billy Goat
Avoiding what seemed to be a mandatory high-side
....About that high-side
Russell, sole canoeist
Overnighters with rafts. Yep, that's a table.
Lunch Break at Obed Junction, Day Two
Marshall riding the beast at Rockgarden
The Son of Dod, walking on water
Marshall and Renee coming through Widowmaker at a juicy flow.
Spring highlights just starting to come in
Goldilocks, wettin' them curls at Widowmaker. "This one is too big".
The Dodson family, pups included, getting a little more than the brochure offered
Raft #3 charging the last big one on the Obed
Group photo, Mikey showing some skin
Every night I spend in the Obed makes me look forward to the next that much more. Here's to the next great overnighter up there.