If you are ever invited to go rafting on the Nantahala River, by all means please accept. It winds it’s way through a beautiful area of Western North Carolina and you will have an amazing time!
What you should NOT do and I mean NEVER EVER EVER EVER is make the decision to forego the 4-8 person group raft and get into a duckie. The cute name should have been what made me stop and say no. I mean really why would you travel down a river, with the powerful rush of the water, in something called a “duckie.”
Not to be confused with the rubber duckies that might have joined you for bath time as a little one, a duckie is made of the same rubber/PVC materials as larger rafts. To me they look like inflatable kayaks. Want to know more about duckie’s? Go here.
An experienced kayaker along the coast of North Carolina, a certain family member to remain nameless thought it would be a good idea for the two of us to raft down the Nantahala in duckies while the rest of our family safely used a larger raft. It was fun for about the first 20 minutes, then I almost drowned for the first time.
My duckie hit a rock the wrong way, I shifted my weight as instructed by the guide before he dropped us off, but to no avail. I tipped over and was in the freezing cold water. I managed to hang on to my paddle with one hand and the duckie with the other hand. But, figuring out how to hoist myself back into the raft was another matter entirely. Thank goodness for a kind samaritan in a real kayak that stopped and helped me back into the duckie.
I then managed the rest of the two hour trip without falling out again until the very end when I flipped again after a 2-3 feet drop. This time it happened to be caught on camera by the rental place who was stationed on the bank of the river to take pictures of groups as they finish their trip. Much to the enjoyment of my family, there were 4-5 pictures of me falling out up on the rental place’s website for a couple of weeks. I was also contacted after the weekend with messages such as “I am proud of you for not dying” and of course I still hear about it at least once a year at a family gathering.
So, lesson learned. Rafting on the Nantahala YES. Rafting in a duckie on the Nantahala or anything other river NO.