Lover’s Leap and Paint Rock: Views of the French Broad River from Up on High

As a part of work I’m doing on a film about the French Broad River, I drove north from Asheville to Hot Springs so that I could shoot some video of the river from Paint Rock and Lover’s Leap.

Paint Rock is about seven miles north of Hot Springs on River Road. Heading north on Highway 25 into Hot Springs, I took a right onto River Road right before the bridge. It’s a pretty cool road in that it is narrow, changes to gravel, and stays very close to the water. I had to stop once because there were a bunch of wild turkeys in the road.

River Road, Hot Springs, North Carolina, Appalachian Trail, AT

River Road near Hot Springs

I made a mistake that got me about 40 minutes of extra exercise. I wanted to stand on the cliffs and take a picture of the river and so I looked up the Paint Rock Trail online before I left. I read that I should go 1/10 of a mile on Forest Road 54 and look for the trail. I found it easy enough and began to hike. It was a hot day for November, in the upper 80’s. The trail was very steep and kept me at least 30 yards from the edge of where I thought the cliffs might be. The underbrush was thick and I was a little worried about scrambling through the underbrush and falling over the edge down onto the rocks. I thought the trail would come out to an overlook. Eventually, after thirty minutes of hiking practically straight up, I was so high that that I wouldn’t be able to shoot the river with my GoPro.

Paint Rock, North Carolina, French Broad River

from Paint Rock Trail

On the way down, I got off the trail a few times to try and find the overlook I had in mind but didn’t see anything. Once I got off the mountain, I waded around in the area of where Paint Creek flows into the French Broad. I stared up at the cliffs and couldn’t see how I could get out to one of the lookouts. I also realized that even if I could scale one of the cliffs before me, it wouldn’t offer much of a view of the river as much as the adjacent mountain.

I started to walk on River Road back toward Hot Springs and the direction I’d come. It was then I noticed a very steep trail that went up to a ledge that looked out on the river. I’d done a tough 40 minute hike when a little five minute scramble would have done the job.

I took some pictures and shot the video I needed, and so with plenty of time to still get back to Lover’s Leap, I didn’t mind the extra workout.

French Broad River, Paint Rock

video footage from here will make our French Broad River movie

 

In Hot Springs, you access the Appalachian Trail to Lover’s Leap across the bridge from town. If you’re headed north into Hot Springs, you need to take a right before you can drive under Highway 25 and park at the Nantahala Outdoor Center parking lot. The AT goes right past the parking lot. I’m 90% sure that the rapid pictured below is called Surprise. We went over this with Blue Heron Whitewater when we did Section 9 of the French Broad River with them. The water level is wayyyy down from when I was last in Hot Springs.

surprise rapid, Hot Springs, North Carolina

Surprise Rapid

I walked along the river upstream to follow the white blazed AT. There are many switchbacks to get to the top.

Hot Springs, NC, resort, AT, French Broad River

Hot Springs Resort from Lover’s Leap

I was excited to meet a solo AT hiker. He told me he was doing half of the trail this year and the other half next year. He’d started earlier in the summer from Harpers Ferry, WV.The guy had covered over 20 miles on the day we met and over 400 miles for the summer. I told him my family and I had gone up there to buy a used raft.

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from the bridge in Hot Springs

 

Click here to find the Facebook page for our French Broad River movie

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Write me with questions or suggestions: William.Torgerson @ gmail.com

Thanks for being interested in what we are up to at Torg Stories!

 

 

Have less. Live More: Torg Stories Podcast with Yukon and Bean

Have less. Live More: Torg Stories Podcast with Yukon and Bean

Welcome to the Torg Stories podcast at TheTorg.com. September 15, 2016 edition.

This week I talked to Angie and Nelson Stegall. These two are known as Yukon and Bean on their website. Angie and Nelson were a big part of the catalyst that inspired my family and I to raft 140 miles of the French Broad River. They made essentially the same trip we made except for while we went home every night to work on our movie, these two camped.

Their life philosophy is to have less and live more. Because they are a tenant on a farm living in a 250 square foot trailer, we met at the Penrose Access Area on the French Broad and near the town of Brevard. Dupont Forest, home of some of my favorite waterfalls in the state, is  and one of my favorite spots in the area, Dupont Forest. You’ll hear the occasional car drive by and several times a small airplane. I started off by asking these two how they met.

audio podcast above and on iTunes

Video Podcast Above

French Broad River, documentary, movie, film, Asheville, Brevard, Hot Springs

Yukon and Bean on their Raft

 

We four NC Torgs have completed our trip on the French Broad River. We are now doing interviews with a variety of people knowledgeable about the French Broad including a geologist, biologist, fish hatchery superintendent, water quality testers, and more!

If you have questions, comments or ideas for our French Broad River movie, we’d love to hear from you.

Click here to find the Facebook page for our movie.

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The End of our River Journey! Miles 136 to 149

Along with my wife Megan and our two daughters, we have completed our goal to raft 149 miles of the French Broad River from the headwaters in Rosman, North Carolina to what is called the Rankin Bottoms located just northeast of Newport, Tennessee.

The trip was a part of our project to make a movie about the French Broad River, the people who use it, and the social and political issues that surround it.

The rafting trip was just the first phase of this project. I am now writing about the river and continuing to interview those related to the French Broad. This includes Brevard College Professor of Environmental Science Jennifer Frick-Ruppert and University of North Carolina Asheville geologist Jackie Langille. I will continue to post the periodic update about our French Broad River movie project.

French Broad River, Star Inflatables, rafting, kayaking, Asheville

Got questions, comments or ideas for our French Broad River movie?

Love to hear from you!

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Miles 110 to 136: French Broad River Movie Update

This progress report covers two days of rafting. 

  1. First Day: We put in at the Nantahala Access near the bridge in Hot Springs, North Carolina. The sign at the access center says that non commercial traffic is welcome. We rafted with my sister Anne and took out at the Wolf Creek Access near Del Rio, Tennessee.
  2. Second Day: We began at Wolf Creek Access and rafted to the Highway 25 / 70 boat ramp just southeast of Newport, Tennessee.

We at Torg Stories are making a film about the French Broad River, the people who use it, and the social and political issues that surround it. As a part of this film, my wife Megan and daughters Charlotte and Isabel are attempting to raft from the headwaters in Rosman, North Carolina to the Rankin Flats, just northeast of Newport, Tennessee. This is a distance of 149 miles.

***

The Falls.JPG

Rapid named “The Falls” near Mile 133 of the French Broad River 

 

Got questions, comments or ideas for our project?

Love to hear from you!

Click here to find the Facebook page for our movie.

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Thanks for being interested in what we are up to at Torg Stories!

Warning! Section 9 Whitewater on the French Broad River

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.

rafting, Marshall, Hot Springs, Section 9, Barnard

Thanks to Sandy and Blue Heron Whitewater!

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.

French Broad River, Section 9, Asheville, kayaking, rafting, Hot Springs, Barnard, Stackhouse

The Torgs on Section 9 of the French Broad River

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!