Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 47

Adventures Unlimited, which offers trips
down the Ocoee and the gentler Hiwassee,
as well as lodging and a "bus bar" on 30
acres of landscaped and forested property.
An athletic child who grew up playing softball in Dalton, Georgia, as a high
school freshman Johnson made the varsity basketball team-"my height helps;
I'm 6 feet tall," she quips-and often went
fishing, hunting and camping with her
dad, who also taught her how to snow
ski and ride a four-wheeler. Because of her
basketball accomplishments, a number of
large colleges tried to recruit her. But there
was a catch: Many of the coaches want-

ed to "red-shirt" her the first year, which
meant she wouldn't get to do more than
practice until she was a sophomore.
One day she and her father were returning home from one of the schools
when, Johnson says, "I just looked at him
in the truck with big tears in my eyes and
I was like, 'Daddy? I don't know how to sit
the bench. I've always been on the court
or in the field, and always been a team
leader.' And he said, 'Well, let's quit looking at schools that are so big.' And it was
almost like a ray of sun came down."
Cleveland State Community College
soon offered her a full basketball scholar-

...I've taken paraplegics,
quadriplegics, amputees,
people from China that do
not speak English...

ship and she set out to earn a degree in
forestry. Her new coach required her to get
a summer job doing something physical
outdoors, so she asked the outdoor recreation professor with whom he shared an
office for ideas. The teacher suggested she
train to be a river guide.
"I didn't even know the river was out
here," Johnson says. "I fell in love with
the sport. Even though it is a job, it is still
a team sport. It still requires a group of
people to come together to get to the finish line. I never looked back."
After switching her major to recreation, Johnson earned her associate degree while working winters as a substitute teacher, licensed bartender and, at
Snowshoe, West Virginia, a children's ski
instructor-jobs that allowed her to "be
where my heart desires" each summer. After paying her dues with "grunt work" at
the Ocoee outfitter she started out with,
she became a trip leader. About five years
ago, she left to briefly work at a different company before being asked to open
a new restaurant in a former rafting bus
at Adventures Unlimited in 2015. Having managed another bar down the road
before the widening of U.S. Highway 64
shuttered it, she jumped at the chance to
use her mixology skills again.

The scale of Jules
Johnson's rafting
operation is matched by
her involvement in other
aspects of advocacy for
her part of Tennessee.

JULY/AUGUST 2019

47



Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019

Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 8
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 28
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 30
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 37
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 73
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - Cover4
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