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First Time: Whitewater Rafting on the Pigeon River (Hartford, Tennessee)

  • On September 16, 2014

Call us adrenaline junkies. Adventure tourism is our style of travel since we’re always on the lookout for activities that involve an element of risk. When we had recently experienced a Carolina Moonshine ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Railway, we saw an activity desk passing out brochures for a beginner-friendly white water rafting outfit in Hartford, Tennessee called "Wildwater."

First-Timers: Before You Go White Water Rafting

PIC: Before You Go White Water Rafting

  • HEAD OF THE CLASS: You can start with baby steps on Class I-III rapids. Even on our raft, we had non-swimmers that braved a few Class IV rapids.
  • SUN SHADE: Lather up with sunscreen.
  • RAIN OR SHINE: You’re going to get wet! Wear outfits you don’t mind getting soaked head to toe. Prevent tush chafing by wearing shorts and water shoes to protect toes.
  • ACCESSORIZELESS: Don’t bring anything on the raft you wouldn’t want wet or lost in the river (jewelry, money, phone, car keys…).
  • DRY LAND! DRY LAND!: You’ve accomplished your mission to propel and maneuver the raft with a paddle through varying grades of rapids. Now that you’re finished, you’ll probably be thirsty and/or opened up your appetite. Bring something to drink and snacks for afterwards. Plus, change of clothing and a towel, of course.

First-Timers: White Water Rafting 101

PIC: Wildwater Rafting - Pigeon River's Class III-IV White Water Rapids

  • GEAR UP: A safety conscious adventure outfitter will usually provide and require you to wear a helmet and PFD (personal floatation devices). The best PFDs are USCG approved and are designed to turn an unconscious person face up.
  • SLIPS & TRIPS: If you should happen to fall out of the raft, cross your legs, stay on your back and ALWAYS keep your feet up. You don’t want to get your foot trapped by a rock along the river bed.
  • LISTEN UP: Our guide gave us cues to paddle forward or backward in unison. Lean into the raft, as needed, as to not capsize. But my favorite cue was if we heard him say, “James Brown!” he meant for everyone to tuck and duck… ‘cuz noone gets down like James Brown.

PIC: Beginner White Water Rafting on the Pigeon River

PIC: White Water Rafting for Beginners on the borders of Tennessee and North Carolina

Complete Photo Gallery

Wildwater Rafting (Hartford, TN)

QUESTION: Would you try whitewater rafting?

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