Imagine going on a hike with a fifty-pound kayak on your shoulder. Now load that kayak with all your camping gear, squish in some canyoneering equipment, and sling that expensive multi media gear over your shoulder. Self-support kayaking can be a physical challenge but this is not a story about a cumbersome multi-day trip. This is the Katie Dean Skunk Tour, LIVE on the Chattooga!  

Katie Dean was her enthusiastic self when I answered the phone, "I think the Raven Fork is going to run tomorrow, you want to go?" I responded with a quick, "Of course." 

Early the next morning I drove to meet Katie and her husband Zach. An hour into the drive, and just a few miles from the Raven Fork Creek, the phone rang again. It had barely rained overnight and I was anticipating the worst. Katie’s voice confirmed it, “It looks pretty low.” After a brief conversation we had a new plan and were headed for Eternity Hole to do some play boating.

The river was even lower at Eternity Hole and the dam release wouldn’t start flowing for hours! We were double skunked and morale was low.

The only thing sourced as having water in it was the Chattooga. After discussing the possibility of a third strike out, the decision was made. We were back in our vehicles and on our way to our final option when Katie came up with a real plan B, “How about we overnight it?”

Swinging into the grocery store we picked up rice, beans, brats, beer, and a loaf of garlic bread. Our group’s mood was recovering quickly as we went from skunked to supper classic overnighter.

It had been seven or eight years since I paddled the Chattooga last, and after the first couple rapids I was wondering why I had waited so long to get back on such a fun stretch of white water. We spent the night at Sock Em Dog, and paddled multiple laps on the "hardest" rapids the river has to offer. A strong conversation, a few beers, and a small fire kept us company late into the evening. 

Finishing any multi day is rough and Katie, Zach and I weren't ready for the "real world" yet, so we restocked the next day and headed back into the canyon for another night!


About Chris Baer: In 2011, Chris Baer's Chaco flips took him to eight countries and nineteen states! Chris is an adventuring modern day gypsy chasing his dreams one rapid at a time. In his explorations, Chris has come to know the world and is the epitome of many a Chaconian. Watch the Chaco blog and as he continues to embrace and share his life of adventure.




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