“Whitewater Rafting Trip” promise leads to a Grand Adventure on the Ocoee River

 

“Whitewater Rafting Trip” promise leads to a Grand Adventure on the Ocoee River

By BFMG Staff: Darren Shepard

I made a promise to my daughter Katie Shepard; we were going to take her whitewater rafting when she turned 14 years old. This is the minimum age to tackle the Ocoee River with a commercial outfitter. My wife Tammy and I took our son Evan and Tori 3 years ago when they turned 14.  They loved it! Now it was Katie’s turn, and she has patiently waited for three years to get her “feet wet”!

The plan was simple. A large part of my life has been spent in pursuit of many outdoor activities with even a greater emphasis towards fishing and hunting. Tammy and I spend a lot of time in pursuit of these activities, and the kids enjoy some of these adventures as well.

Our goal was to start showing each of our kid’s other outdoor activities to drive their passions today and in the future. Besides, anytime you get a 14 -year old girl off of her iPhone and get her outside success has been achieved in my opinion!

“Whitewater Rafting Trip” promise leads to a Grand Adventure on the Ocoee River I made a promise to my daughter Katie Shepard; we were going to take her whitewater rafting

The Ocoee River is across the state line in Ocoee, TN. from our home in North Georgia and was the perfect destination for this trip. Located in the Cherokee National Forest along state Highway 64, the Ocoee River is one of the most popular whitewater rafting areas in the country. The Upper section of the Ocoee River was the site of the 1996 Olympic Summer Games, and the middle section of the river consists of several Class III and a few Class IV rapids providing significant challenges for the novice and expert paddler alike. Many of the outfitters in the area provide both full day rafting adventures to include the upper and middle sections or half day trips focused on the middle section of the Ocoee. This is a great experience and area to set up a family trip, get a few friends together or even create a team building “exercise” for work.

The trip was a great success. After the initial rafting safety class and a fun bus ride to the launch area, we were off to tackle the rapids.  Tammy and I just smiled and laughed as we took off each knowing what was coming.   Just seeing Katie’s eyes and hearing her laugh as we hit several big rapids like “Table Saw” and “Power House” was a blast. Katie was committed to staying in the raft the entire trip regardless of the challenges the Ocoee was going to throw at us, and she did it! She had a great time and a new appreciation for a different outdoor activity she will remember for the rest of her life. For me, it was just a great day knowing my wife and I shared another day with Katie and hopefully opened another door leading to more outdoor adventures for her in the future.  Mission accomplished!

Our last couple of Ocoee River rafting trips have booked with Sunburst Rafting Company and lived up to their great reputation for this trip. This company has been taking “whitewater” adventure seekers down the Ocoee River for 40 years. They provide great guides, experience, fun and are reasonably priced. Plus, they provide a great safety class, transportation to the areas to “put in and take out” of the river, restrooms and changing area to “dry out” for the ride home. If you plan a trip to tackle the Ocoee River, check out Sunburst Rafting Company www.sunburstrafting.com (423)-299-9620

There are plenty of areas to visit and a few places to grab a bite to eat when out for the day. The Dam Deli and Diner near Benton, TN. was a new adventure, and the food was great. Besides, if you have a dry sense of humor and appreciate a few “puns,” this is a place you can’t miss.

From now through the end of September it a great time to hit the Ocoee but you need to make plans quickly before the “season” closes. If you can’t make it now, make sure to plan a trip for next year. In fact, with all of the great rivers, trout fishing, hiking trails and so much more to do in the area, wrapping a small family vacation around an Ocoee River whitewater rafting adventure would be a great way to spend a few days. One last recommendation: No iPhones allowed!

 

 

Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

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