The Nantahala River I have personally experienced. The main attraction for me was its reputation for being a good starter experience for all that white water rafting has to offer. On the morning of my 50th birthday, after fixing breakfast for our guests, we left to celebrate my birth. I joined some 250,000 rafters that raft this river yearly. I can truly say, save my required ongoing efforts in keeping my sister (positioned at the stem of the boat) seated restricting her efforts to observe the water over the top of the boat)it was total fun.
This Western North Carolina's river reputation as a good place to start is accurate. It provides the novice with a wonderful, exciting opportunity to observe all the vistas of the river surrounds without scaring them so effectively they do not wish to experience this activity again.
A rambling relaxing ride though Class 2 rapids before the "big enchilada" at the end Natahala Falls(Class 3). The company we rafted with took pictures of that event and let me tell you-- those are completely hysterical. The looks on those faces I swear is worth the price of admission. Fortunately, folks will usually let you see their pictures because when you are actually in the act of "descending the Nantahala Falls" trust me you are too busy making your own faces. The only thing on your mind is ....Oh God help me! Though this river actually has Class 2-Class 5 rapids (kayakers, after some good rain, are able to put their skill to the test in a place called,"The Horns of God." Most of the general public experience the Class 2-3 portion of the river.
The Nantahala is a dam controlled river and also one of the oldest rivers in the world. Every day, a release from the Nantahala Dam (upstream by about 15 miles) pulls fresh and cool water from the bottom to flow into the river. Even on the hottest of summer days this river provides a cool respite. The water has taken centuries to carve the canyon in which it flows. The force of that water has created a canyon so deep that there are areas that see only limited amounts of sunlight each day.
Our native Cherokees used this fact to provide the name Nantahala: Land of the noon-day sun.
So, plan a Birthday trip and raft our Nantahala. I promise it won't blend in with all those other birthday celebrations. The Nantahala will make it a stand out event.
Patti and Gary Wiles