Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2017 - 33
Marshall Hess floats, kayaks and
canoes his way down the Chestatee
River in Dahlonga, Georgia, the college
town where Ben LaChance established
Appalachian Outfitters River Outpost
(canoegeorgia.com/706-867-7116) in the
For an hour, my son and I opted to float
for about a mile on tubes, slipping
below an old bridge. But we could
have gone longer, thanks to a trail on a
riverbank, where tubers can climb on
land and then head back downriver
again and again, says Hess. "They can
make the trip as long or as short as
dog, Mica, serving as a tongue-wagging,
huggable first mate. Happily, both are
known to abandon ship and swim with
On a sunny Monday, we stopped below the 40-foot-tall Mill Creek Falls, finding a man and boy on a fishing boat. We
dived beneath Wright Creek Falls. And we
spent a half-hour getting out and exploring rocks while also meeting a millipede
at the swimming hole of the Thompson
River Falls before cruising ever-so-slowly
to the grand finale: Laurel Fork Falls.
"You have the grandparents swimming with the kids," Wade says. "It is a
magical place in the summer. And there is
nothing like swimming under a waterfall
to turn an 80-year-old person into a kid."
Wade regularly docks at Devils Fork
State Park, the place where I stay with
my kid, John, in a luxury cabin (scmountainLakes.com). This tree-filled park
provides one of Jocassee's only access
points, Wade says.
"This is a wilderness lake. Its job
is to let people get into the wilderness
of the Jocassee Gorge. It's a great, big
road map that leads you deep into the
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May/June 2017 33