Tag Archives: Ocoee Whitewater Center

Photography 101 – Day Thirteen: Moment & Motion

Early in my self-education about photography, I learned that the camera should be set for high-speed to capture the stillness of action unless, of course, the intent is to purposely blur a subject blurred. In today’s assignment, I learned that blurring is OK and sometimes desirable.

The Ocoee Whitewater Center in Copperhill, Tennessee was built for the 1996 World Olympics held in Atlanta, Georgia. Nestled on a sleepy river deep in a rocky gorge, in the Cherokee National Forest, the Ocoee river was modified to provide some of the best white water rapids found anywhere.

Water releases from upstream dams are managed by the Tennessee River Valley Authority and are scheduled through the summer to provide turbulent water flow for thrill seekers and flood control.

When the water is held back, the rocky bottom provides pools of fresh, cool water for sun bathers. Then the alarms go off warning people downstream that the quiet rocky bed would soon become a raging river with whitewater that will flip many experienced kayaks or professionally control river rafts. This is just a perfect setting for today’s assignment. We no longer live in that area and water releases are not scheduled until April. The photos presented are from our visit to this are in 2012.

13a DSC_0346I am standing downstream of the water flow – obviously before the water was released from the upstream dam. Notice the large boulders on the left and center of this image. Water is channeled between these two boulders.

13b DSC_0380The professional river guide, in the rear of the raft, steers between the two boulders.

13c DSC_0391A kayaker is in control of his own destiny. I can say he demonstrated exceptional navigation techniques on his approach to this spot.

There are no white water rapids near my current location and the rain today is keeping most adventure seekers indoors. I look forward to finding locations similar to this where I can apply today’s theme.

Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.


Blue Ridge Once Again

Since we are so close to Blue Ridge, GA and Windy Valley Llamas, it would only make sense that we would find time to visit the place we workamped during the summer of 2012. So on Sunday Dec 8th, we left Townsend, TN and headed south to Blue Ridge, GA. Our route took us to Maryville, TN; then south on US411 to Madison and south on TN 68 through the south end of Cherokee National Forest.  The Winter scenery of bare trees replaced the lush green forest we saw during the summer of 2012. Still the mountains are beautiful.

We made the 105 mile trip in about 2 1/2 hours. We were excited to make this trip because when we left Windy Valley Llamas, we knew we were leaving life long friends there. We were warned in 2012 that the Blue Ridge Mountain area would call us back. They certainly did. After a chance to catchup on what has been going on during the past year, we had a wonderful dinner with Pam and Jerry along with their neighbors, Tim and Karen, and two other workamper couples.

Monday morning we got up to visit the llamas. The two Great American Pyrenees dogs, who guard the llamas, did not have any problem with us coming into the pastures. It was apparent they remembered us. Our goal was to check out Sushi. She was the llama that Carol help deliver in May 2012. In the photo on the left Sushi is less than 6 hours old and standing by herself. The fence in the photo is about 5 feet tall. Monday’s photo (below) of Carol with Sushi shows how much she has grown.DSCN0554I fell in  love with Dior. One of two rescued llamas Pam has added to the herd. She was very friendly and loveable.

DSCN0550We had an enjoyable visit although it was too short. Working at Windy Valley Llamas was the best thing that we’ve done in the two years on the road. We love the Blue Ridge Mountain and all the waterfalls. As we headed back, we decided to take an alternate route (US-74, US-64, TN-40) that would take us past the Ocoee Whitewater Center. (Click the tag on the right to see that post). As we drove past, we noticed the water flow looked pretty strong. We turned back for a closer look. Sure enough, the Ocoee River was out of its banks. Only to serious kayaker would dare venture out on this river today. The two channels of water seen on the left of the following photo is a walk way along the edge of the river. Normally there would be more rocks on the right side of the photo where viewers can sit to enjoy the rafters and kayakers travel downstream.

DSCN0562Further down stream at the Ocoee Dam #2, the water was pouring over the spillway. Normally the water barely trickles at this point since the flood gate that maintains the water level would be open. Today is a different story. Make sure your computer’s speakers are on to enjoy the sound.

It is amazing to see this raging river turn into a quiet and peaceful scene down stream. Lakes Parkville and Ocoee had been lowered to accommodate the runoff from all the rain in the region.

DSCN0570We turned north onto TN-30 to head back into the Cherokee National Forest. As we climbed, we drove past a few isolated homes buried in the forest. These folks wanted to be far away from the hustle and bustle of city life; they want peace and quiet; they wanted to be left alone.

We next came upon the Hiwasee Union Baptist Church (founded in 1848) nestled on the banks of the Hiwassee River, The building was erected about 1899 through the joint effort of the Hiwassee Union Baptist Church and the local Masonic Lodge. This two-story, frame structure served as a community building. The upper floor was for lodge meetings while the first floor served as the church meeting hall. The first floor was also used as a schoolhouse for a brief time.

DSCN0573We soon found our connection to US-411 and headed for home. I leave you with yet another old barn. We love these old structures. If only walls could talk.

DSCN0575Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

Whitewater Adventure

Today’s water release from the Ocoee #3 Dam occurred at 9:00AM as scheduled.  It takes the water about 1 1/2 hours to make the two-mile trip from the dam to the Ocoee Whitewater Center (OWC).  Our plan today was to be at the center to watch the water arrive then to enjoy a lazy day picnic while watching the rafters conquer the river. I probably blew through the rest of my monthly 5G data limit loading the videos up to YouTube. I hope you enjoy the show.

There is a walking bridge that crosses the Ocoee River just as the river reaches the OWC.  In this video, I am standing on the bridge looking upstream. Shortly after the water arrives, you will see the early rafters having to wait for the water to rise down stream. The horns you can hear are the warning signals letting swimmers know that water is approaching and they should get out of the swimming holes quickly.

Once the rafters arrived, I turned around on the bridge and shot this video looking downstream. The rock wall in the video is about 24″ tall.

Meanwhile Carol was at the other end of the OWC at our picnic spot. She recorded this video with her iPhone. It took about 8 minutes for the water to make its way from where I was to where she was. You can see how quickly the water rises in her video.

A few minutes later, Carol captured the first spill of the day. You will notice a large crowd gathered on both sides of the river.  This section is very dangerous and is where the river claims victory over many rafters. There are guides on the banks ready to toss a life rope to those tossed from their raft.  In this video you can see everyone got tossed. Fortunately everyone was rescued and nobody was hurt. In the time we watched the rafters, there were about 6 or 8 additional spills.

As I was making my way back to the picnic area, I paused at another bridge to shoot this video. These guides were hot dogging their rafts by purposely aiming their raft for a rock that jutted out of the water. At the end of the video, one of the guides achieved their goal.

Water release on this section of the Ocoee occurs only on Saturday (8 hours) and Sunday (5 hours) from Memorial Day through Labor Day. I’ll be doing a little more research to discover how much water flows from the Ocoee #3 dam.

We had a good outing today. The weather was beautiful. The dogs loved getting out for a change. Thanks for stopping by. Y’all come back now.

Day Tripping #2

NOTE: I am looking for a solution to give you, the reader, some control on font size of the blog posts. Please be patient as I search for a solution. Thanks and enjoy the reading.

Hey, Pearson. What did you do today?

Well, I took a quick trip to Chattanooga.

Chattanooga?, Isn’t that in Tennessee? I thought you were in Georgia?

Yep, Chattanooga, TN. Actually, Chattanooga is closer to us than Atlanta. Carol’s toy broke and we had to deliver it to an Authorized Dealer for repair. Chattanooga was the closest dealer. Roundtrip was 186 miles, plus there was a side benefit to the trip.

Oh, yeah? What was that?

We had lunch at La Altena, down on Main Street. It is just across the street from Pilgrim Pride’s chicken processing place. This is a hole in the wall, but the food was authentic.

Of 255 reviewers, they rated 93% LIKE on Urban Spoon.  That is a pretty good score for the number of reviewers.

Carol’s Chicken Fajitas were moist and very tasty.

My Camarones ala Mexicana where great. The plate had lots of shrimp, and loads of sautéed onions, tomatoes and jalapeños.

Fresh chips were crisp. Salsa was very good. It was not  a fancy place but certainly a place we will go back to when we are in Chattanooga.

Cool, Pearson, what else did you do?

Well, after that, we headed back home to Blue Ridge.  We drove past Parksville Lake and Lake Ocoee on Highway 64. As we entered the Cherokee National Forrest, we noticed the middle section of the Ocoee River was congested with white water rafters. I have no photo of that because I cold not find a place to pull over.  We decided to stop at the Ocoee Whitewater Center (OWC) to check out the Ocoee River, sans water. The TVA controls water releases from the three dams on the Ocoee. They release water in the upper section only on weekends. Since I wanted photos of the river around the OWC with no water running and with water running, I thought this would be a good opportunity to take photos of no water running. Here are a couple of those photos.

This is a shot looking upstream towards the OWC.

This one is further down stream looking back upstream again. The bridge in the background is at the OWC. The bolders on the left and right are about 15 to 20 feet tall

It is hard to imagine that this peaceful view will turn into a raging river on the weekend.

And when we got home, this had arrived. That means I get to crawl back under our RV and replace our black tank valve. That should be fun. I can assure you I will back flush that tank a bunch before I pull the non working valve out.

That’s it for day tripping. Y’all come back now.