On July 22, a group from Lake Hartwell Boating Club took a kayak adventure down the French Broad River. This was a revisit of a delightful springtime journey we took in 2019, except it was a little shorter in distance. We had a larger group this time, three couples (Guderians, Roses and Woodards) plus Rosemary Stevenson. We were not permitted to take our own boats, so we had to use their beamy, heavy sit-on-top kayaks.
We met at 11:15 am at Headwaters Outfitters on US 64 in Rosman, NC, for orientation. Headwaters Outfitters is a family owned business with nice facilities and a friendly, courteous staff. After a short shuttle ride to the outfitter’s put-in, we were issued our boats, paddles and PFDs. Around noon, we boarded our vessels just below some Class 2 rapids on the French Broad River, where the West Fork and the North Fork form the French Broad itself. The rest of the journey had nothing above Class 1 water.
The weather was sunny and hot, and the river was somewhat low. Another 6 inches of depth would have been perfect. Our destination was Headwaters Outfitters’ campground at Hannah Ford, some 6 miles downstream. Our little fleet of six recreational-style kayaks (one tandem and five singles) negotiated some shallow rocky stretches in the upper section before settling into some really easy water the rest of the trip. We stopped at a sandbar about a mile downstream for a picnic lunch. In contrast to our earlier trip, we didn’t see much wildlife along the route.
Because of the heat, the low river and the heavy boats, our three-hour trip took nearly four hours. We felt better because a younger couple that embarked with our group arrived at the same time. Chris and Nioka Rose earned the fitness award, since they arrived at the take-out about 30 minutes earlier than the rest of the group. The main body of the group found it necessary to stop several times for rest and posterior recuperation. The rental kayaks had rather uncomfortable, hard seats.
After a shuttle ride back to Headwaters Outfitters and a change of clothes, we took a brief journey northeast on US 64 to downtown Brevard, where we enjoyed an excellent meal at The Square Root on Times Arcade Alley. As the sun sank lower in the sky, we all reflected on a good day and resolved to join again soon for another kayak adventure.