OK I been busy and I'm just now reporting on our New Year's Eve trip.
We (Randy, Butch, and myself) re-ran the East fork of the Stones from Hoovers Mill Rd to the Readyville Dam. We started the day meeting for breakfast at the Readyville Mill Restaurant (Readyville, TN) at 8 in the morning. You really need to check this place out. The food, service, and atmosphere were great. They even have live Bluegrass/Western music, and are only open for Saturday breakfast. Reservations are recommended. And since the owner of the restaurant also owns the field adjacent to the Readyville dam, it's a perfect opportunity to ask permission to pull out on his property.
After breakfast we drove about 5 minutes up to Hoovers Mill Road to put in. This is also private property (the owner lives at the top of the hill), but there is a public access on Hwy 70 at the Woodbury Arts Center. It's about 10 minutes further down the road and will add around 1.5 miles to your paddle.
We were on the water around 9:15. This is a fast 6 mile run when the water gauge at Lascassas Hwy is registering around a 5.5 ft depth. There are class 1 & 2 rapids about every five minutes. The difficulty is moderate with strainers and currents that will push you right up against the bank. I wouldn't recommend bringing 1st timers on these section. I almost dumped when I hit a snag the current pushed me up against, but got lucky when the snag cracked into.
Further down the river we passed two fellows in a field that were target shooting. Nice enough guys that chit-chatted as we paddled past. We beached on a gravel bar a little further downstream to take a break. We had been there for a while, when all of a sudden, we hear a bullet whistling through the air eventually hitting some branches or field brush. I think the sound was across the river, but it sure heightened our senses. After this scenario repeated 5-6 times, we decided it was in our best interest to move along.
We continued down the river enjoying the scenery and friendship to the pull out. I pulled in first and was greeted face to face by two police officers. They asked if I had seen someone running up the bank. I said no, and immediately they were gone running up the bank. I have no idea what that was all about.
Meanwhile Randy kept eying the break in the dam and decided to give it a shot, successively going through. Then Butch came down and ran through the dam break too. He decided to paddle back up into the break, the current caught the front of his boat, spun him around and onto a rock sticking out of the water. He toppled, but everything was fine. He was in water only about 1.5 ft deep, and the car was only 50 yards away.
We packed everything up, and went to a Mexican restaurant for a late afternoon meal. I stuffed myself. Got home about 6 pm totally pooped, and fell asleep about 8. I may have missed midnight, but it was one of the best New Years Eve I've had in many years.
If you would like to see pictures, go to our Facebook page "Rolling the Stones Paddle Club". You can find maps, gauge readings, and other info at stonesriverwatershed.org
Readyville Mill Restaurant. "Must Eat At" place. Great food and atmosphere. The mill is 200 years old and still grinding grains. Only opened Saturday Mornings. You'll spend $12-15 a person.
Hardees/McDonalds and locally owned restaurants in Woodbury (10 minutes away). Then there is this restaurant, Kirkenburts Smokehouse Grill, in Murfreesboro (30 minutes away). I happen to own it. I have a guarantee-If you're not happy, I pay for your meal. Exit 78-A off of I-24. Please stop in and introduce yourself.
Search: "Readyville, TN" on GoogleMaps