Rafting the Ocoee River
I have only ever had one real rafting experience. It was when I was little. Maybe six years old or so. We had gone on a family trip with another family and their son and daughter. This rafting trip wasn't particularly memorable for some splashes of water, or how I sat on the inside so I wouldn't get thrown out, but it was memorable because my mom did. Get thrown out I mean.
I believe this was in Lake Tahoe and we were going through a shallow, rapid, rocky area. I don't remember much except being really confused about why my brother and the other little boy Eric were crying hysterically. It didn't seem like a big deal — she just had to get back in the raft. I had been on enough roller coaster rides to know that this was not a big deal.
Eventually, she did get back in the raft. And got a huge bruise from it. To this very day, my mom never lets me forget that Collin apparently loves her more because he cried and I didn't. (Obviously that's wrong. Plus, if someone is in a disaster, wouldn't you rather have the more calm person anyways? Ya, that's what I thought.)
The reminder of that experience throughout the last 20 years of my life has not fared well for how I thought about rafting. So when Matt got a Groupon for High Country Adventures rafting on the Ocoee River I was excited to redeem my rafting experience, but also a little apprehensive. What if Matt fell out of the raft this time??
Luckily, this was not the case and spoiler alert: it was AWESOME!! Just look at those happy face photos below. It really felt like I was on one of those Disneyland rides where the "raft" spins around and you don't know where the water is going to come from.
We did the first morning ride of the day, which I preferred because there wasn't as many people on the river. Because it was a couple hours from Nashville and in East Tennessee where the time zone is an hour later, we decided to spend the night at a nearby hotel (which included a KING size bed! We'd been sleeping in a full size bed so having a night in a king size bed felt actually like a little too much space, but I'm sure I'd get used to it).
Matt sat at the front of the raft and made sure to really try to dip all of us at every point possible. But joke's on him because look who got splashed the most (my favorite picture):
They train the raft guides super well. Our guide had only done a couple of rafting trips and I never felt uneasy about his abilities.
Also, the family that we shared the raft with continued to comment on how much better this rafting trip was from a previous one they took somewhere else. So not all raft trips are alike. And based on their experience, and now mine, this is the right river experience to take.
If you're looking for some rafting, go High Country Adventures.
We survived, and you can too.