We arrived at the Hanging Rock put-in on a first Saturday Outing...not knowing what to expect. After meeting everyone we were on our way for our first river trip in our brand new canoe. Despite being warned about the divorce boat syndrome, we fared relatively well for our first time out. Of course, after we found out who was in charge with the navigation (Fristen). The weather at the start of the trip was great. We became familiar with the small riffles of the Dan, through guidance and suggestions of some of the DRBA members. We never imagined all the different styles of strokes that Jeff would show us! And Lindley and T helped guide all the way through the trip. We experienced the beauty of the Dan and just how much fun it was floating down the river.
Just before we stopped at Moratock Park to eat lunch we witnessed a baptism on the side of the river. While watching the baptism, we were caught off guard by the largest rapid we would run that day (class I). We came pretty close to getting wet but we managed our way out of the rapid and then somehow, avoided swimmers. Once at Moratock Park, Ken met us for lunch. He was later meeting us to shuttle the vehicles back to the take out. Back on the river, after lunch, the weather became extremely intense with thunder and lightning moving in on us very quickly. When the rain came we took cover and shortly decided that it was letting up. Upon leaving our shelter, the storm really hit us with a punch and it started to hail! This time when we took cover we were still being bombarded with HUGE hail! This part of the storm seemed to last forever but it was soon time to push on. We can say we have never been stuck in a hailstorm outdoors let alone in a canoe on a river. It was definitely a new and exciting experience.
The rest of the trip was great with a small mist on the river and plenty of small riffles. The scenery on these two legs of the Dan was spectacular. There were lots of forests and undeveloped land with dramatic cliff walls. We were now closing in on the Hemlock Golf Course take out and the end of the trip with the infamous broken dam we kept hearing about. We were beginning to wonder if it was really that difficult or if the group was just trying to frighten us a little. But after the weather we witnessed nothing was going to scare us. Well we finally made it and after hearing of the dam since lunch and the much-anticipated thrill of the run through the dam.... we got stuck. It turns out that after getting stuck a couple of times on the river we learned a couple of general rules for ourselves. If there is a lead bout...follow it. And within our boat we learned the difference between one who steers the boat and one who navigates the boat. (Maybe this can be applied outside of canoeing also.)
Kyle and Kristen Hoover
Camping at near by Hanging Rock State Park.
Hanging Rock St Park access off SR 1487 about 1 mile north of Danbury on Hwy 89.
Dan River Book by Forrest Altman
Carolina Whitewater by Bob Benner