The French Broad Riverkeeper’s Guide contains the following warning:
The stretch of river from Barnard to Hot Springs is home to class III and IV rapids. This section of water should not be taken lightly and must be scouted by all boaters.
If it were just me, I could accept the possibility that I would be thrown from a boat and held underwater for some time by the current, after which I would surface and swim to a safe spot. However, it’s not just me on this trip on the French Broad River. My daughters ages eight and ten have been rafting too, and worrying about them in this section of river has kept my wife Megan and I up at night.
We were relieved when Sandy, one of the owners of Blue Heron Whitewater, offered to guide us through this section of the river. At nearly the same time, we were excited to get an offer from Lee Thonus, an avid kayaker who has written about this section of the river for American Whitewater, to shoot some film of my family as we made our way through what is known to paddlers as Section 9.
Blue Heron Whitewater is located at the intersection of Highway 25 and Little Pine Road north of Marshall and south of Hot Springs, North Carolina. Click here to visit their website.
Some of the still photographs of us on this section of the river were taken by Carly Sterne. Thanks to Lee and Blue Heron for supporting our project and helping us through this section of the river!