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!


Miles 60 to 75: French Broad River Movie Update

We put our raft in the French Broad at Mile 60 at Bent Creek River Park on Brevard Road across from the North Carolina Arboretum. The Blue Ridge Parkway crosses the river here and there is access from the parkway to the arboretum.

Our plan was to travel up to Southern Rafting just before the Weir Dam at Mile 76. We obtained permission from Southern Rafting to park in the lot but it also looks like people park off the pavement on the gravel road that runs along the river. There were lots of cars.

Here is a video report of our trip:

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Mile 11 to Mile 19: French Broad River Movie Progress Report

My family and I are trying to make a movie about the French Broad River, the people who use it, and the political and social issues that surround it. We hope to raft 149 miles of the river from Rosman, NC to Newport, TN. We plan to do this in sections.

The plan for today was to put in near mile 11 at what is called Island Ford River Access and get out of the river at HapSimpson Park just outside of Brevard, NC.

Here’s our video report of how it went:


IMG_3948IslandFordAccessthree Torgs.JPG

Getting Ready For the Journey

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