Cheoah River Bash for All a Slickrock Grill Tradition
One of the unique things about the Tapoco Lodge is that the Cheoah River runs directly past the back door. Rooms overlook the beautiful river, and visitors can sit out in front of the Slickrock Grilland watch the river flow by. The Cheoah River is located in the extreme southwestern corner of NC, near Robbinsville. The American Whitewater organization began investigating the whitewater potential of the Cheoah River in 1999, according to their website. They advocated for a controlled whitewater flow study in 2000. Flows on this river were severely impacted by the Tapoco Hydroelectric Project. On September 17th, 2005, the first recreational release occurred on the river. There will be a minimum of 18 releases annually for at least the next 40 years, based on a number of factors including rainfall.
During the water releases one can watch the rafters and kayakers come plummeting past, paddles flailing, throughout the day. Once they reach Lake Calderwood they rest up, snack, and return to the beginning of the run to “do it again”. By the end of the afternoon groups and individuals wander up to the lodge and order supper as they watch the few final rafts and kayaks.
Tapoco Lodge offers a place where everyone can sit, relax and watch the water. They are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) approved so visitors with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to see the races and enjoy the beauty of the riverfront. I often watch the kayakers for hours and marvel at their ability to navigate the Class V rapids that makes the Cheoah River one of the most popular sections for paddling and white water rafting in the Country. The river is not an easy ride. Class V is as difficult as it gets and there is an element of danger to each run.
Observers can be seen gasping and covering their eyes throughout the day, but that just adds to the excitement. For the best seats, visitors should arrive at the Lodge around 11:00 am. Plan to spend the afternoon and prepare yourself for a delightful time. Watching the race from the lodge is fun, there is tasty food and the beauty of the surrounding mountains and gardens make it very hard to beat. You can bet that I’ll be there watching too!