Monday, August 3, 2015

2002 Hiking and Rafting in Appalachia with Elderhostel

This Elderhostel program is hosted by The Mountain Learning and Retreat Center, just outside Highlands, North Carolina, atop a 4200 foot high granite cliff in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is one of the best organized programs I have attended, and their mountaintop facility is also first-rate. After each of the 4 days' activities, we congregated on the deck for "social time" with beverages and popcorn, just prior to supper.

The first day, we hiked 8 miles or so over Chinquapin Mountain, with elevation gain/loss of 1200 feet, to view Glen Falls, a series of 3 tall waterfalls and cascades.

The second hike began at the Wayah Crest trailhead and we hiked another 8 miles with 1400 feet elevation gain on the Appalachian Trail, including an incredible overlook at Siler Bald.

We rafted two days, first about 8 miles on the Nantahala River, which is shallow and swift and cold with mostly class I and II rapids and one class III rapid, and always surrounded by magnificent scenery as seen below.

The second raft trip was on the Chattooga River which has been designated a Wild and Scenic River and was the filming location for the Burt Reynolds movie "Deliverance." This river was warmer and offered many exciting class II and III rapids, and the class IV rapid seen below is called Bull Sluice, a six foot drop straight down.

We also body-surfed the rapid below this big drop. We used the Nantahala Outdoor Center for both raft trips, and their guides, equipment, and safety record were all outstanding.


Left to right:
Middle row: Claudia, Jim, Gloria, Harry, and Murray
Back row: Joyce H., Dick, Susan, Jerry, Chuck, Marcia, Marilyn, and Bill.

(Not pictured: Nancy, Kathy, Judy, and Sharon)

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