It is late in the day, but oh what a day it has been. One hundred and twenty lucky paddlers have hiked down a nearly completed walkway and, after lowering their boats that last 90 feet by rope, have put onTallulah Gorge for this historic first day of white water releases available to the public. There remain 40 minutes before the dam gates are closed and the water level drops. All shuttles have ceased running and most of the paddlers have finished their runs. Except for us.
AWA Access Director Rainey Hoffman and I put on the river and experience it the way few people did on this busy day. Not being a soul in sight, we began negotiating the steep, class IV+ rapids on our own,“read and run” style: not much time left for time consuming scouts. This run definitely has the feel of a first descent, and I will carry it with me as one of the great paddling days of my life.