After Work Kayaking

With recent rain storms and more daylight in the Southeast, after work kayaking trips have become my new favorite past-time. I certainly enjoy full day paddle sessions on the weekends, but my days off tend to be sporadic and I often see my friends go off to the river while I go to work. However, after work sessions have become an awesome way for me to spend more time on the river and even get on some new runs.


A few months ago, I got a new boat, the Antix. The Antix has been amazing for the springtime after work kayaking sessions. My closest backyard river is the Little River. This is a great class III-IV run that starts out with a bang and several ledge holes that go into an 8 ft drop. The Antix does a great job staying on top of the water and boofing these holes. Despite the playful tail, I have no concerns that my back will catch unless I want it to. Then, after lapping this fun sequence several times, I continue downstream working on stern squirts, boofs, and surfing along the way. I can’t wait to try the Antix out on more challenging runs!


My overall favorite after work run so far has been Henderson Creek. This is a gem of a run on the Plateau, located between Knoxville and Chattanooga. It starts off with a class II paddle in, where last week we had to paddle around and occasionally portage several trees, due to the recent storms. Then, you quickly get into a 1-mile section of steep class V creeking. The rapids have multi-move slides, boofs, and maneuvers, and are super fun! Then, you reach the confluence with Richland creek, where the river character changes into big water class IV until the take-out.


Another great after work paddling trip is the Crooked fork. This creek flows into the Emory River and is located north of Knoxville. The run starts with three 15-20 foot waterfalls, and then continues on to multiple boulder garden style rapids.


The longest after work run I have paddled in the past few weeks was the West Prong. This is in the Smokies. Many times, the upper and lower sections are paddled separately. However, we had daylight and motivation, so went for both as an after work session. I had never paddled this river before, but it had been on my list since moving to Knoxville almost 3 years ago. In order to finish before running out of daylight, we paddled quickly and I mostly followed lines of my two friends who had both paddled the section before. We got back to the car with about 20 min to spare before dark.


Overall, it is turning out to be a great year of kayaking! I have already paddled 7 personal first descents in the southeast since January. I am hoping for continued rain and many more trips to come! There are so many rivers I have yet to explore! Hope everyone else has been taking advantage of the rain and daylight too! ~ Diane Brasuell (Gaydos)

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