2017 APE’s Nolichucky Gorge 1st Timer’s River Trip

This past Saturday (8/19/2017) was the Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts (http://www.riverapes.org/) annual river trips on the Nolichucky Gorge geared for first timers.  This river trip has been a staple event almost every year for the club since its establishment all the way back in 1986.  The APE’s also leads a trip on the Lower Nolichucky during this event for an easier whitewater river trip option.

For the past 6 years the APE’s Cruise Director has had the pleasure to work with USA Raft to make this trip run like a well oiled machine.  USA Raft provides the APE’s a great place to stage and use their facility for the put-in/take-out for both the gorge and lower river trips.  They also provide shuttle service using one of their raft buses and a trailer to haul all the kayaks to the gorge put-in.  After the river trips, the APE’s picnic is hosted back at USA Raft in their café facility.  All this together makes for a fantastic river experience for all the paddlers thanks to USA Raft!

This year’s gorge trip was once again another good time for all who joined!  The group had a nice 825 CFS river level and the weather was warm & sunny.  23 paddlers were in the group that included: 13 kayakers, 1 ThrillKat and three raft crews.  The group only has two first timers this year, so the trip was modified from year’s past.  Part of the group focused on guiding the first timers in a successful descent.  Another group worked and played the run in every possible way.  This made it a thrilling run for everyone!

After the river trips, both the gorge paddlers and the lower paddlers came together with other who could not make the river trips in one large group to have a wonderful gathering at the annual APE’s picnic.  During the picnic, Rahual Subramanian, was awarded the “APE’s Rookie of the Year” award for his many PFD and progression through this paddling season.  Good food and fellowship were had by all in attendance! 

APE’s Celebrate 15 Years of Cleaning Up the Nolichucky River

Saturday, June 18th, marked the 15th Annual Nolichucky Cleanup.  The Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts have been hosting this event annually to help keep the Nolichucky River clean for paddlers, fishermen, and river-users alike!  The summer is a very popular time for people frequent the rivers recreationally and the APEs group is proud to help everyone see the beauty of the Nolichucky by keeping it clean the way nature presented it.

This year over 30 volunteers put blood, sweat, and tears into removing garbage along a 10+ mile section of the river below the gorge (USA Raft to Riverpark Campground). Paddlers loaded up their kayaks, rafts, or canoes with trash collected from the banks and maneuvered their loads to drop off points where the land crew picked up the garbage and transported it to the local dump station.

In total, 4 truckloads of trash and 28 tires were removed from the river! Pictured below Jeff Vannoy, a volunteer for Team River Runner and member of the Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts, picking up one of the many tires along the riverside.

After hours of hard work, volunteers enjoyed barbeque donated by Texas Roadhouse of Johnson City. A second part of the cleanup was a raffle for a Jackson FUN that was donated by Jackson Kayak. The proceeds of the raffle directly benefited Camp Bays Mountain as the group rebuilds its camp in a new location. Thanks to the generous donors and support of the paddling community, the APEs group was able to donate nearly $400 to Camp Bays Mountain!

Pictured below is Debbie Briscoe, the winner of the Jackson Kayak FUN and many-year coordinator of the cleanup, along with Wesley Bradley, the local Jackson Kayak Regional Team Member.

Overall the cleanup was a great success! USA Raft owner, Matt Moses, remarked, “You guys did awesome on the clean up! I paddled to Jackson Love yesterday and it looked so much better! We all love working with APEs and are proud to be your partner and home base on the Nolichucky!”

APE’s member, Jeff Baldwin, commented, “Great day on Saturday participating in the annual Nolichucky clean-up.  Awesome BBQ and good times hanging out with fellow paddlers. So enjoyed the day ………trying to remember if I gathered any trash… LOL!  Big thanks to Andrea Parra and Sara Reis as the event was a very nice start to their newly elected positions within the club!”

The APEs group is grateful to all the volunteers and sponsors who helped make the cleanup successful. A special thanks to USA Raft for providing the cleanup location and for all they do to help local paddlers get out on the river. What a great day!

Sponsors: Jackson Kayak, Mountain Sports Ltd., Chaco, Astral Buoyancy, NRS, US Forest Service, Kokatat, Landmark Learning, USA Raft, Uncle Johnny’s Hostel, Texas Roadhouse of Johnson City

-Report by: Andrea Gass-


Big thanks to all who supported the Jackson Kayak Fun Raffle during the APE’s Nolichucky River Cleanup & Celebration! We raised $391.61 to support Camp Bays Mountain and Debbie Briscoe went home with the new boat!!


APE’s Nolichucky 1st Timer’s Trip Report

Noli Gorge paddlers ready for shuttle.

Saturday, August 22, 2015, was the Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts annual first timer’s trip on the Nolichucky River.  We had a warm clear day with partly cloudy skies and temps in the 80′s for our river trips.  The river flow was a low 390 CFS on the Embreeville Gauge, which made for a steeper more channelized run for our Gorge first timers.  We organized both a Nolichucky Gorge trip (Class III at this level) lead by several of our top gun APE’s and a Lower Nolichucky River trip (Class II) lead by Debbie Briscoe.

The Noli Gorge trip participates met up at USA Raft at the take-out to load up all of our boats on one of USA’s buses for a shuttle up to the put-in in Poplar, NC.  The group managed to load up all 36 boats on top of the bus and a boat trailer.  Then we got rolling toward the put-in with all our gear!  An impressive feat by itself!  We had 37 total participates on the Gorge trip with 11 first timers.  The gorge boaters split into several smaller groups at the put-in and paired up experience gorge boaters (Big thanks to: Ryan Horn, Ryan Shealy, Jennifer Bradley, Jamison Evans, Bill Schooley & Elliot Lavery as our river guides) to show lines and set safety for our first timers.  We also had several other safety boater to help with sweep and safety also!  Thanks to all who helped in this effort.  It would have not been a successful trip without all of you!

Scouting Second Drop of Quarter Mile.  Photo by Curt Wilhoit

Murphy’s Ledge of Quarter Mile.  Photo by Jerry Griffin

There were some swims by a few of the participants during the trip in On the Rocks, Quarter Mile and Rooster Tail.  However all swims were cleaned up quickly with our safety boaters and everyone finished the run with no major incidents.  

Bottom of Rooster Tail. Photo by Jerry Griffin

Lots of progression occurred on this river trip also.  We had a couple of chances to stop and surf at Jaws and Twin Eddies.  Despite the low river level these two spots were still really good for river play!  Congrats goes out to one of first timers, Alex Crow, for completing his first ever 360 spins in both directions in his kayak at Twin Eddies.  Overall many paddlers on the gorge trip said they had a great time, so mission accomplished!

Gorge Take-out. Photo by Morris Caddell Jr

Check out Morris Caddell’s video of the gorge trip with this link:


The Lower Noli trip had a great turn out also!  Debbie led a group of 14 paddlers on a run from the USA Raft Outpost to the parking area take-out near High Road/Low Road Rapid.  Good times were had by all on the Lower trip!

Lower Noli paddlers.  Photo by Mikie Fields

After we got off the river, we all met back up at the USA Raft Outpost to have a picnic dinner catered by Chef Les Lollar and his cooks.  We all enjoyed some very tasty BBQ pork, grilled chicken and several side dishes for the main course!  Then we had ice cream for dessert!!  After the meal many stayed around for fellowship, a game of volley ball and river tales.  Then we topped off the day with a WORLDKAYAK.COM prize drawing for all the participants and many went home with some nice prizes to top off the day thanks to WK Program Partners!

APEs Big Laurel/FB9 Creeking Trip Report

The week of July 13th, 2015 was filled with heavy rains in the southeast which got many creeks and rivers up and running at very healthy flows during the week!  Big Laurel stayed above 1’-0” on the gauge Monday-Wednesday with all the rain.  This setup a possibility for the run to hold for a Saturday trip.  On Friday gauge readings came from the Laurel River Store that the run was at +1” on the gauge in the A.M. and the level only dropped to 0” in the P.M. (The run is consider runnable down to -6” on bridge gauge at the put-in).  Things were looking very promising for a good low runnable level on Saturday…

A poll was given to the Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts earlier in the week to choose a class III run for a club river trip on Saturday, July 18, 2015.  A majority of the respondents were very interested in giving Big Laurel a go for a beginner creek style run if it was at a runnable level.  So after checking the level one final time on Friday afternoon the call was made to meet at the Big Laurel put-in Saturday morning to set shuttle for a run down to the French broad Section 9 take-out in Hot Springs.




On Saturday morning when the group arrived at the Big Laurel put-in they were blessed with a perfect first timer’s level of -1” on the bridge gauge.  Stoke was high for all 15 APE participants in anticipation for a good run with many of the participants being first timers and getting this pristine run at a good level on hot sunny July day!  The large APE’s group was also greeted by a group of 8 paddlers from Foothills Paddling Club who were also there to paddle Big Laurel that morning.

Both groups set shuttle to their take-outs and returned to put on the river at the same time; so since the APE’s group was larger and had more first timer’s the APE’s trip leader made the call to let Foothills put on first to not slow down their smaller group.  Once the Foothills group had drifted out of sight the APE’s slide their boats into Big Laurel with 13 kayakers, 1 open canoer and 1 inflatable kayaker. 

The large APE’s group decided to break into 3 smaller groups of 5 paddlers each to navigate the larger rapids more safely on the run; mainly so eddy service did not get overcrowded while running the drops.  Each smaller group had an experienced river guide and safety boater to support the other group first timers.   One of the smaller groups was made up of 4 ladies and one guy who expressed his empowerment of getting to join the ladies group at the take-out!

The Big Laurel run started out well with the three groups making it through the first rapid (Pinball) with only one brief swim.  Then we all boogied down the first mile of the run through a few no named class II rapids to arrive at the top of Stairstep Rapid.  The entire group scouted the rapid from the river left bank and trip leaders discussed with their small groups line options for the rapid. 

Jamison Evans probed the first line to show the first timers the best line while they scouted from the river bank.  Others in the group set safety at the bottom of the rapid.  Then all of the first timers went back up to their boats to give the rapid a go and all completed their lines with 100% success!

The group boogied down a couple more no named class II rapids and then arrived at Suddy Hole.  Trip leaders explained this two part rapid to each of their small groups and the trip leader dropped over the first ledge to eddy out nearby to direct all the first timers over the best line of the entrance ledge.  There was one big over the handle bar crash at this ledge onto a rock in the drop that resulted in a swim, but the victim was OK and quickly cleaned up with a self-rescue.  The entire group all ferried over to river left to setup from the large eddy to run the main slide of Suddy Hole down the left of center line.  The group leader slide down the drop and setup to direct each person as they dropped the 7’ tall slide.  Everyone finished this rapid with a smile!

The entire group of 15 turned down river again to make the right bend down toward Lower Prelude rapid.  The group split back up into their smaller groups of 5 paddlers to navigate this longer class III boogie rapid.  Everyone made it down this rapid with dry hair!

After all three groups met back together in the pool below Lower Prelude we all took in the beautiful landscape of the river banks leading up to the Narrows.  The group split back into their 3 smaller groups and trip leaders lead their first timers down into the right entrance of Narrows.  Each smaller group navigated the rapid with 100% success in a follow the leader style line from right to center down this busy Class III+ rapid.    

The group headed on down the river to Cliffside rapid.  Each paddler had to go one at a time down the right shallow shoal rapid leading into the cliff wall to make the left turn and stay off the right wall to make it down into the pool below the rapid.  We had one paddler crash into the wall and flip.  After two failed roll attempts a swim resulted and safety boaters were quick to help the swimmer to the right shore below the cliff wall.  After some encouraging words and help with the drain plug to empty the boat, the paddler was back on the river to rejoin the group.

The group headed left around the island below Cliffside rapid and rounded the right bend into what is normally an easy no named shoal rapid leading down to Flume rapid.  However from the recent high water events the group came upon tree strainers in this rapid that quickly became problematic.  Trip leaders scrambled river right to miss the highly visible strainers on the river left to only realize that there was another bad strainer on river right at the surface of the water blocking a good line down the right of this rapid.  Trip leaders managed to get over the right strainer by boofing over the top of it, but then quickly redirected the following first timers to cut back down the center of the rapid that lead them over a very shallow manky shoal.  The group was navigating this move OK until one of the paddlers got swept sideways trying to make the move and became two point pined on a side broach against two rocks between the strainers.  Safety boaters were able to quickly attain up to the pinned paddler to see if they could pull the paddler off the rocks, but the flow had already began to pillow on the upstream side of the boat making it very difficult to budge.  Other paddlers from the group quickly realized the incident and got out of their boats to assist from the river bank.  After making sure the pinned paddler was stabilized from flipping under the water, a rope was attached to the pinned boat’s grab handle and thrown to the river left safety crew.  The three paddlers in the safety crew grabbed the rope and gave a big team tug to begin moving the pinned paddler and boat off the rocks, while safety paddles in their boats continued to stabilize the broached victim in the center of the river.  After a couple of tugs from the safety crew the paddler and boat was pulled up and over the rocks upright and OK.  After the group pulled the pinned paddler to safety and detached the rope from the boat some of the group went to work trying to move the right strainer blocking the good right line.  After a couple of minutes of wiggling, pushing and pulling the paddlers were able to push the log up against an adjacent rock to reduce the potential danger the strainer was causing in the right line.

After the swift water broach rescue and strainer cleanup the group of APE’s got back in their boats and refocused on heading down Big Laurel to finish the last two major rapids (Flume & Humble Pie – AKA: Lost Poggie) with no problems.  The group celebrated in the last pool of Big Laurel before the confluence with the French Broad about a huge success for many of the first timers in making the 3.7 mile trip with 200 vertical feet of drop as their first creek run!

And then the group made the right turn at the confluence of French Broad Section 9 into Windy Flats… 

This section of river lived up to its name on this day.  It was windy, flat and extremely low flow.  The French Broad gauge was reading in the low 700 CFS range in Asheville that morning – LOW FYI.  Group leaders had never seen this section of river this low with Big Laurel running good!  The group trudged along down Windy Flats for over a mile dodging rock shelves and paddling what many described as the Dead Sea with water temperatures nearing bath water feel.

The group finally made it to Kayak Ledge (AKA: Needle Falls) to boof into the low water pool below and continue the slow scrappy paddle onto Frank Bell’s rapid.  The group arrived at Frank Bell’s and realized that it was really low!  The entrance had no central channel to enter the rapid, so one of the safety boater got out on the shoals to help pull the others over rocks to scrap into the pool below and then run the bottom two main features with a dog leg left to right line.

The paddle to the take-out from below Frank Bell’s can’t be described any other way than brutal!  Lots of flat water paddling and rock dodging occurred down to Surprise Ledge.  But due to the low water the group found that Surprise Ledge had grown about a foot taller due to the low level on FB9 which made for one nice last boof.

The group reached the take-out nearing exhaustion from the long slow paddle down FB9.  However a cool stream flowing into the river was found at the take-out and many of the group sit in it to cool off and refresh before heading to their cars to load up.

The day was finished off in the take-out parking lot with cold tasty root beers and Mexi-Cokes from an Orion Cooler.  Then the group had a World Kayak style prize draw for all the group participants and everyone went home with a prize thanks to World Kayak’s Program Partners!


Successful River Cleanup!‏

Check out the radio interview about this event on AM 910 WJCW:



I want to thank everyone for a great cleanup! Once again we came together as responsible stewards for keeping our home river clean & healthy!

Thanks to Jennifer Bradley for organizing everyone and coordinating the event.
And Ryan Shealy for speaking for the club and giving away all the wonderful prizes that Jen & Wes Bradley raised from our sponsors.
And also Laura Shealy for bringing us some awesome BBQ, and Jerry Griffin for debuting the NEW APE’s T-shirt and keeping us all in line! Emoji

Lots of thanks also goes out to Les & Matt at USA Raft for having us. We so are grateful to them for how hard they work to make us feel so appreciated!

Our musical entertainment was just perfect with the talented members of the Whiskey Sticks who are dedicated fellows who enjoy supporting the Nolichucky and APE’s events.

But most of all thanks to all our members who came out and worked so hard with chain saws to remove hazards, walked the banks and brought a variety of crafts to float the river to clear the trash from recent storms. Many (and you know who you are) battled bees, poison ivy, snakes and an abundance of exposed rocks to hang us up during this low water window of time, all the while showing dedication and love for our cause!

The river is cleaner and after everything was said & done we left dirty & tired but exhilarated from the rewards of a job well done!

We should all be swollen with pride of our cleaner & most beautiful river!


Kayaking Clinics from Team JK Coming to APE’s‏

News from Scott Fisher (APE’s Safety/Education Officer):

More great news, this time for our kayakers. Four time World Freestyle Champion and founder of Jackson Kayaks, Eric “EJ” Jackson, has agreed to come teach a clinic for APEs in March 2015. This will likely be a one day river running/freestyle clinic on the Nolichucky Gorge.

As if that weren’t enough, six time US Freestyle Team member, creeking pioneer and winner of the first Green Race, Clay Wright, has offered to teach an advanced creeking clinic, likely on the Watauga (or similar river) in Apr.

Specific dates and cost have not yet been determined for either of these clinics.

Reply to Scott at ( TFisher1@its.jnj.com or 276-698-4644 ) if interested in taking advantage of either or both of these outstanding opportunities to learn from two of the most accomplished paddlers on the planet! And thanks to Wesley R. Bradley for helping set this up!

2014 APE’s Nolichucky Gorge 1st Timers Trip & Picnic Report

Noli Gorge paddlers ready for shuttle.  Photo by Dawn Berglund

Saturday, August 30, 2014, was the Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts annual first timer’s trip on the Nolichucky River.  We had a hot and humid day with partly cloudy skies and temps in the high 80′s/ low 90′s for our river trips.  The river flow was a low 400 CFS on the Embreeville Gauge which made for a technical & tricky level for some of our Gorge first timers and returning paddlers.  We organized both a Nolichucky Gorge trip (Class III at this level) lead by several of our top gun APE’s and a Lower Nolichucky River trip (Class II) lead by Debbie Briscoe.

The Noli Gorge trip participates met up at USA Raft at the take-out to load up all of our boats on one of USA’s buses for a shuttle up to the put-in in Poplar, NC.  The group managed to load up all 29 boats on top of the bus and get rolling toward the put-in in less than an hour with all our gear!  An impressive feat by itself!  We had 29 total participates on the Gorge trip with 12 first timers (28 completed the run).  The gorge boaters split into 3 smaller groups at the put-in and paired up experience gorge boaters (Big Thanks to: Jeremy Gass, Ryan Shealy, Jennifer Bradley, Andrea Ramsey, Jamison Evans & Justin Tipton) to show lines and set safety for our first timers.  There were several swims, broaches, boat pins, a hike out from “On the Rocks” back to the put-in, a couple of scary moments and even a kayak wrapped around a rock from a pin at “Rooster Tail” during the trip, but thanks to good preparedness and safety from our leaders 97% of the paddlers in our group made it to the take-out after a rather slow and challenging day.  So the trip was not our best on the river, but it was somewhat expected with the low level.  We think the biggest take-away tip from all the incidents that went down during this trip is paddlers who want to take on the mighty Noli Gorge (despite the level) need to have good sense of how to complete a combat roll and have class III boat control skills to finish this run with style.  Overall many paddlers on the trip still said they had a good time, so it was good to know we had met our objective for many!

Noli Gorge paddlers at the put-in.  Photo by Wesley R. Bradley

The Lower Noli trip had a great turn out too despite the low level and holiday weekend!  Debbie led a group of 14 paddlers with 7 first timers on a run from the USA Raft Outpost to the parking area take-out near the Sawmill below Devil’s Looking Glass Rapid.  Good times were had by all on the Lower trip!  However we did have two paddlers, who were not part of the group, get in trouble by wrapping their recreational open kayak around a rock in the rapid above Chestoa.  A few of our APE’s aided them in rescue recovery of their craft and thankfully no one sustained harm from the incident.

Lower Noli paddlers at the put-in.  Photo by Dawn Berglund

After we got off the river and many lessons were learned the hard way, we met back up at the USA Raft Outpost to have a picnic dinner catered by Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen.  We all enjoyed some tasty fried chicken and fixings for the main course!  Some APE’s members brought some really good snacks and desserts to share with the rest of the group too!  After the meal many stayed around for fellowship and river tales to top off the day!

Jack D Nelson’s SUP view of  the APE’s Noli Gorge 1st Timers Trip in this video:

YouTube Preview Image

13th Annual APE’s Nolichucky River Cleanup = Success!

We had 45 volunteers register on Saturday morning (6/21/2014) on the porch of the Crockett Cabin at  U.S.A. Raft Outpost!  Over 50 bags of trash were collected from in and around the banks of the river.  Several tires, wheels, and large debris were also cleaned up out of the river.

APE’s received some great news coverage before and after the event this year.  Check out the links below for each story and video:



After the cleanup all the participates enjoyed the BBQ dinner with all the fixings and the prize drawing loaded with some great items from our sponsors!

Prizes were supplied by the following generous sponsors:

Landmark Learning

Mahoney’s Outfitters

Mountain Sports Ltd.


Uncle Johhny’s Nolichucky Hostel

Jackson Kayak





Shred Ready

Wilderness Systems Kayaks



Innova Disc Golf


Thank you to our Supporting Sponsors: USA Raft, Texas Roadhouse of Johnson City, Cherokee Adventures, TVA, USDA, Washington Co. Tire Recycling Cent., Food Lion, Eastman and Wal-Mart

Thanks to everyone for all your hard work & dedication to make this cleanup a wonderful success! It’s a collaborated effort to keep our river clean and pristine for us & future generations to enjoy. And we’ll just keep on doing it as long as it’s needed!  A special thank you goes out to our own, Debbie Briscoe, for her continued effort in organizing this event each year!!

2013 APE’s Nolichucky Gorge 1st Timers Trip & Picnic Report

By Cheryl Killman

Saturday, August 24, 2013, was the Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts annual first timer’s trip on theNolichuckyRiver.  We had a nearly perfect day with mostly clear sunny skies and temps in the low 80′s for our river trips.  The river flow was around 1,100 CFS on the Embreeville Gauge and this was a prime level for the first timers ready to take on the mighty Nolichucky Gorge!  We organized both a Nolichucky Gorge trip (Class III-IV) lead by Wesley R. Bradley and aLowerNolichuckyRivertrip (Class II) lead by Debbie Briscoe.

The Noli Gorge trip participates met up at USA Raft at the take-out to load up all of our boats on one of USA’s buses for a shuttle up to the put-in in Poplar, NC.  The group managed to load up all 29 boats on top of the bus and get rolling toward the put-in in less than an hour with all our gear!  An impressive feat by itself!  We had 29 total participates on the Gorge trip with 9 first timers.  We split into smaller groups at the put-in and paired up experience gorge boaters to show lines and set safety for our first timers.  There were some swims and even a broken paddle during the trip, but thanks to good preparedness and safety everyone made it to the take-out with big smiles!  Good times, good times!

TheLower Nolitrip had a great turn out too!  Debbie led a group of 16 paddlers with two first timers on a run from the USA Raft Outpost to the parking area take-out near the Sawmill below Devil’s Looking Glass Rapid.  Our local Team River Runners Chapter also rallied 8 paddlers with 4 first timers to run theLower Nolitrip in conjunction with Debbie’s trip.  Good times were had by all on the Lower!

After we all got off the river we met back up at the USA Raft Outpost to have a picnic dinner catered by Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina.  We all enjoyed some tasty burritos and tacos with all the fixings for the main course!  Some APE’s members brought some really good desserts to share with the rest of the group too!  After the meal many stayed around for fellowship and river tales to top off a great day!

Steve Moore Noli Gorge Video

YouTube Preview Image

12th Annual APE’s Nolichucky River Cleanup Was Huge Success!

We had over 60 volunteers register on Saturday morning (6/22/2013) on the porch of the Crockett Cabin at  U.S.A. Raft Outpost!  On that very porch is where we had our first big river cleanup 12 years ago and wow did it feel good to be back!  Also some of the same band members from that first cleanup were going to be playing again for us later that evening!

It was a busy start with event organizers, Debbie Briscoe and Laura Ward, getting the APE’s Banner up and the APE Face banner up.  All the while, Wesley Bradley was getting the Jackson Action Wagon  boats on display and our Treasurer Jerry Griffin getting busy with fixing a table with our club t-shirts and stickers.  Buffalo Mountain Camp and Retreat, who included Jo Anne Pasqua and Jason Onks, had a very well represented table of their camp with picture boards of the devastation the flood had caused.  Bill Finger came with the Team River Runners to help with parking and soon after that Debbie was busy signing volunteers up for the sections of the river we were focusing on to be cleaned up.

USA Raft supplied duckies to several folks who didn’t have boats and many brought canoes, large kayaks and rafts to help with the effort.  By the time Debbie got on the river to cleanup her section it was mid-day.  We could tell that a lot of the trash we picked up was from the recent flooding from the spring storms.  Lots of things stuck in trees and washed far up on the banks.  We found lots of plastic containers, broken glass, cans, lost shoes, hubcaps, but most of all we wanted to get the tires.  Tires are a lot of work to get out because they are full of sand and mud.  So wallowing out all the sand and mud from the tires takes a while and is dirty work.

Jerry Griffin, Michael & Collin Keesecker were driving to all the spots where the paddlers on the river were stacking up the bags of trash and piles of tires along the road side. That takes a lot of logistics and Jerry is the best at knowing all the roads and how to get there!  Thanks to Jerry, Michael and Collin for being our road runners!

After we all got back the Kona Ice truck came and we all enjoyed FREE cool & refreshing ice treats after all that hard work.  The next welcomed treat was dinner!  The Texas Roadhouse BBQ sure was good and it went fast; along with potato salad, coleslaw and the APE’s signature baked beans.  Pal’s Tea was the perfect beverage to go with it all and it was all donated by WalmartPal’s & Texas Roadhouse thanks to our new Social Director, Laura Ward!

After dinner the Whiskey Sticks started rockin’ on the stage with a bluesy, rock-a-billy sound that was just marvelous!  Our very own Cruise Director, Wesley Bradley, took the role of Master of Ceremony and started the drawings for all our wonderful prizes!  Including the Jackson Kayak Zen 75 we had been selling raffle tickets for to help raise money for Buffalo Mountain Camp and Retreat!  We raised $830.00 for Buffalo Mountain Camp with the JK Zen raffle!  Scott Mancl was the winner of the JK Zen and he was absolutely thrilled!!  He did not already have a boat, but has wanted to learn how to kayak!

We had many other prizes including two $110.00 gift Certificates from Chaco, a PFD from MTI, a SPOT GPS from Mahoney’s, a Swiftwater Rescue Course Scholarship from Landmark Learning, loads of cam straps from NRS and many t-shirts, hats, a cooler, tote bags, & stickers from Mountain Sports, the Nolichucky Hostel, NRS & Mahoney’s.  APE’s even threw in a t-shirt as a prize!

Thanks everyone for all your hard work & dedication to make this clean a huge success! It’s a collaborated effort to keep our river clean and pristine for us & future generations to enjoy. And we’ll just keep on doing it as long as it’s needed!  A special thank you goes out to our own, Debbie Briscoe, for her continued effort in organizing this event each year!!

Click here for Cheryl Killman’s Event Photos

APE’s Spring Meeting

Who: Current APE’s Club Members or new recruits

When: Friday, April 5, 2013 @ 7:30 P.M.

Where: Smokey Bones1905 North Roan Street  Johnson City, TN 37601

Come on out and join the club in fellowship for some fun, food, event & river trip planning, and river tales!

NOC Pool Session Road Show was a BLAST!

Chris Hipgrave (NOC Retail Director), Will Norris (NOC Instruction), & Brad Caldwell (NOC Retail) are on tour for the next few weeks to showcase some cool new 2013 paddling products and give free instruction at local pool sessions.  Chris and I decided to team up the Jackson Action Wagon and the NOC Road Show to meet up at our weekly Tuesday Night Freedom Hall Pool Session on 12/4/12 inJohnson City,TN. This would be their first pool session on their tour and it will be a hard one to top, because we had a ton of fun! 

The event had a huge turn out by our local APE’s club members and other local paddlers!!  We had over 40 people in the pool trying out several new boats from many different brands and all kinds of new gear! 


We were some of the first to feast our eyes on some really cool new gear!  In the showcase was the new Immersion Research “Royale” Spray skirt.  It is very nice!  The Royale is a rubber rand skirt (Like the IR Lucky Charm) with Kevlar rim protection and a neoprene lap flange like on the IR Kling-on Bungee skirt!  Can you say super durable and dry?! 

We also got to see and wear several new PFD’s!  Astral has some nice new colors for several of their returning jackets for 2013!  We also got to see the new 2013 Astral Green Jacket Rescue PFD w/ the clam shell pocket and Astrals new SBB freestyle vest!  Both great products with some great features!  One other new PFD we got to check out was the new Kokatat Maximus Prime rescue PFD!  This new jacket is super sweet!!

With the J.A.W. and the NOC teamed up, some of the boats that were there for folks to demo were:

Jackson Kayak Supercharger – stand up paddleboard


Pyranha Nano S/M

Dagger Jitsu 5.9 w/ the new 2013 outfitting

Liquid Logic Stomper 80

Jackson Kayak Fun Runner 60

Pyranha Jed Eye

Dagger Mamba w/ new colors & new 2013 outfitting

Jackson Kayak 2013 Star, All Star & Super Star

Pyranha Burn S w/ new color

Jackson Kayak Karma M & Karma L

Folks were overwhelmed with all sorts of new products to try out!  Too top off an already great evening, NOC gave away a new Astral Willis PFD by playing some NOC trivia with the participants!!  Then the NOC gave out some 20% off swag coupons to all the participants!  A good time indeed was had by all!

2012 Noli HTTD Series Medals Presented by APE’s

Our final event #4 for the 2012 Nolichucky Hometown Series is only a few short weeks away!  The competition for the points series has really heated up in several of the classes.  Who will make it up on the podium and go home with one of these sweet medals sponsored by the Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts?! 

No Freedom Hall Pool Session Tomorrow Evening

Our weekly Tuesday Freedom Hall Pool Session has been canceled this week due to a swim meet that popped up in their schedule.  We will resume our normal weekly schedule next Tuesday, July 3, 2012 from 7:10-9:00 P.M.

Since we can’t paddle in the pool and the river level will be good, let’s head to Big Rock tomorrow evening for some park-n-play for those with their own gear!  $3 for a Riverpark Campground day pass or $35 for an annual pass FYI.  Please obey all Riverpark Campground rules and regulations when on site.

Hope to see you on the Noli! :-)

Get Some Press at the Pool!

The Johnson City Press will be at our Freedom Hall Pool Session tomorrow evening (12-20-2011 @ 7:10-9:00 P.M.) to shoot some photos and write up a little story about our weekly event!  Come out to join us for a good showing and get your photo in the paper! :-)  Hope to see you at the pool and Merry Christmas!!!

Team APE’s Going Strong in Canoe Club Challenge Series!

Jen Villain CCC

Team APE’s came back together this past Saturday afternoon at the NOC for the Canoe Club Challenge event #2!  Another great time was had by all in attendance and we had a total of 13 paddlers support our team!  Big thanks to Max, Rick, Jeff, Ryan, Jennifer, Mike, Ty, Paul, Tierney, Clay & Ann Marie for joining Team APE’s!  We came in with another strong 3rd place finish overall in event #2 as a club.  Team APE’s has a solid 3rd place spot on the podium currently in the series and we are only 10 runs away from taking 2nd from the AWC!  We also met one of our goals for this series, which was to place above the AWC and CCC in one of the events!  Rock on Team APE’s!!  Let’s keep the strong momentum for the Team going into the final event next month! 

Club Point Results for Event #2

Georgia Canoe Association – 119

Nantahala Racing Club – 51

APE’s – 48

Atlanta Whitewater Club – 46

Carolina Canoe Club – 36


Club Point Current Series Standings

Georgia Canoe Association – 181

Atlanta Whitewater Club – 98

APE’s – 87

Nantahala Racing Club – 64

Carolina Canoe Club – 53

East Tennessee – 9


The complete results are in the PDF link below for team and individuals: 

CLICK HERE for 2011 Jackson Kayak Canoe Club Challenge Event #2 Results

 Wes Stinger CCC

Big thanks to Erin Weatherford as our team timer/coach and for the photos in this report!  Thanks to my lovely wife, Jennifer Bradley, for the coordination on the pedestrian bridge to keep the team running smoothly.  Jen sure did look good running my Villain through the slalom gates ;-)

Make plans to join Team APE’s on August 13, 2011for the Jackson Kayak Canoe Club Challenge Event #3 on the Nantahala!  There will be a downriver race & slalom race for this final event!  Stay tuned for more details… Hope to see you on the Nanty to join Team APE’s!!

Exploring the Holston River Trip Report

-Deb Reynolds reportingExplore Holston

Church Hill to Christian’s Bend

This stretch of the Holston River is a great stretch for a both beginner and more advance paddler. The water typical has enough current to allow you to drift and look around at God’s creation but enough water to get a work-out if you want one.  It is one I have traveled several times but every paddle is different and thus worth repeating each year. 


We had a completely new crew today with 5 solo kayaks and a canoe.  I left my kayak on my car for the opportunity to canoe with Bill Tindall who lives on this stretch of the Holston River and provided me a personalized tour. We started out about 9:30am with a light rain that eventually disappeared with a temperature in the high 60’s low 70’s. After week of hot humidity, this day was a gift.


This year we saw the results of the storms we have had with many trees on the shore washed away and no signs of beaver slides. Bill took us around every island for the most scenic route, several of which I had not been around before and we skipped by one island as a small sandbar had appeared blocking our way. Spencer was fishing most of the trip and caught and released ~7 fish – a few bass and several small bluegill.   We saw a very small fawn for this time of year on the last island. We also saw blue heron, cormorants, tons of green heron (a first for me), kingfishers, Canadian goose, many wood ducks, turkey buzzards, and LLB’s (little brown birds), catfish, and turtles sunning on rocks. I think many of the group will be back after seeing several fishing spots they want to try. Present were Rick and Denise Wright, Eric and Trish Osborne, Spencer Gilliam, Bill Tindall and myself.

Trip Leader Bill Tindall

Trip Leader Bill Tindall

Team APE’s Starts Strong in Canoe Club Challenge Series!

Team APE’s came together Saturday afternoon at the NOC for the Canoe Club Challenge!  A great time was had by all in attendance and we had a total of 9 paddlers support our team!  Big thanks to Rick, Whitney, Josh, Andy, Jeff, Jamison, Ryan, & Steve for joining Team APE’s!  We came in 3rd overall out of 6 clubs with a score of 39.  I thought this was a good strong start for the series! 

Club Point Results for Event #1

Georgia Canoe Association – 62

Atlanta Whitewater Club – 52

APE’s – 39

Carolina Canoe Club – 17

Nantahala Racing Club – 13

East Tennessee – 9


The complete results are in the PDF link below for team and individuals: 

CLICK HERE for 2011 NOC Jackson Kayak Canoe Club Challenge Event #1 Results


Make plans to join Team APE’s on July 16, 2011 for Event #2 at the NOC!  Hope to see you on the Nanty!!

APE’s Nolichucky River Cleanup Report‏

Noli Cleanup

We had record attendance at the cleanup this year! But first let me say and I couldn’t have done it without the support of our club officers Jerry, Cheryl, Wes, Jeff & Scott. All the help with organizing, getting the food, helping to pick up donations and TVA bags was a huge help! At sign-in time there was an overwhelming period of giving out location assignments and organizing clean teams that was very exciting. After getting everyone on their way at all the pacific points of focus I teamed up with a small band of merry volunteers and set off to the Saw Mill put in. The weather was perfect and the water was wonderful!

From this years heavy rains there were a lot of debris piles full of bottles and all sorts of other stuff. We found clothes, boots, cans, pipes, plastic, metal pieces, barbed wire and even a microwave and stuffed animals! What was the name of that doll again Phyllis? Jerry reports that we cleaned up 3 full truck loads of trash with several tires. And Michael took trailer loads of trash too. I also have reports that many of you took your bags directly to the dump so we really got a lot out of the river!

One of the participants that was new to attending the cleanup said. It made her mad to find so much trash carelessly left in the river. That comment reminded me of when we started concentrating on these sections of river. It use to be much, much worse. I can’t explain how bad it was through Bumpass Cove and across from the Saw Mill a decade ago. Heck I can remember there being a mini van in the river that stayed there for two years before the County got it out!

At Chestoa park the Sheriff showed up with manpower to help out too and that was a total surprise! They will definitely get a letter of gratitude from us!

We timed our duties to be finished around 3:00 and were all getting off the river and playing in the hole at the Big Rock about the same time. It’s always such a pleasure to be at the Riverpark Campground. The atmosphere is so festive when the river is right and the boaters are there! Cheryl’s pics reflect the good time had by all! Nancy & Brucie are hero’s to let us have free access to it for the cleanup!

The food was wonderful. Cheryl out did herself with BBQ from the best local restaurant and all the fixins and some WONDERFUL cookies! There wasn’t even crumbs left of those! I made the club style beans we look forward to each year and many others helped with the set up.

The Toluenes band was a big hit too. They were friends of mine from Gatlinburg who are an acoustic duo with really good stage presents and also coming out into the crowd and working it for audience participation. They helped me with giving away all the prizes donated by our sponsors and holding the grand prize for last being a scholarship for a swift water rescue course at Landmark Learning. The winners being a new couple who own property on the river and are boaters too! I won it one year and it is a really good course that’s made me a safer boater!

I want to thank the volunteers from The Carolina Canoe Club, TEHCC, The Chota Club and The Johnson City Team River Runners. This was the first year TRR has participated and they were a big help with parking, driving a trash runner trailer and with shuttling. Not to mention hard working helpers on the river!

Special thanks to Mahoney’s this year too. They were responsible for getting a monetary donation from Columbia Sportswear and then Matched it! It completely covered our food and the band expenses! Then on top of that sent a team to come help with the cleanup!

Thanks to all! But in the grand finale of this report, it was such a pleasure to see so many APE’s come out this year and give their ALL! Our work shows and brings a smile to my face every time I paddle the Nolichucky and see how much better the river is looking!

Debbie’s Noli Cleanup Photos are here: http://community.webshots.com/album/580305480BdlBMP

Cheryl Killman’s Noli Cleanup Photos are here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1909316607325.106123.1074133134&l=28096744f6

Debbie Briscoe

2011 APE’s Winter Meeting Review


The meeting was fun and productive!  The BBQ from Creekers was really tasty and it was great to see all in attendance!  We had a total of 20 APE’s at the meeting and we got a lot decided for the upcoming year!

APE's Fellowship APE's Winter Party Meal!

For all those who did not get to make it to the Annual APE’s Winter meeting/Party, click on the minutes link below for a PDF copy of the items we went over at the meeting with notes added to the agenda in bold blue.  Please feel free to send any comments, suggests, or voluteer to wesley@worldkayak.com and I will forward it to the appropriate coordinator!  Hope to see you on the river!

2011 APE’s Winter Meeting Minutes

2011 APE’s Winter Meeting Agenda


For all those who can not make it to the Annual APE’s Winter meeting/Party tonight, click on the agenda link below for a PDF copy of the final draft of the items we will be discussion tonight FYI.  Please feel free to submit any comments, suggests, or voluteer to wesley@worldkayak.com!  Hope to see you on the river!

2011 APE’s Winter Meeting Agenda

Regional Member Articles