Brad Barker and I went down yesterday evening (4-10-06) to check out
As of 7/21/05, the access on river right to the Secret Spot is temporarily closed due to construction of a new bridge. However, if you go after 5:00 when the workers are not there, it does not "seem" to be a problem. Supposedly there is an access on the river left but all we found was private property signs everywhere. Also, the construction of a new pylon has rerouted about 1,000 cfs to the wave. Therefore, at 3,000 cfs on the gauge, it is almost washed out. I would imagine that 1500 to 2000 would be an ideal level now. Enjoy!
A friend and I went down to have a look at Secret Spot approximately 5 months ago. Level was somewhere between 2 and 3K if I recall right, and there did not appear to be anything there. That was my first time and his second or third at the spot. Anyone else have that problem. Not sure if the new bridge wiped this one out - maybe we just misunderstood the guage
No second drop is not murphys ledge its actually the second drop in what is known as S-turn and sits right behind the Big rock known as BFR. Its right at the top of Quarter Mile. Murphys ledge is the the last drop of Quarter Mile and would actually be like the 13th drop of Quarter mile no where near the Second Drop as the actual drop is known.
I would object to 'on the rocks' listed as a class 3+..... I've seen one drown in the under cut a long time ago and have seen too many close calls since. Personally pulled 3 people out when I guided on the chuck for cherokee Adv. Two were our custies, one touron from USA..... I think it still a class four, but I also know that two year olds are cartwheelin' down thirty footers........
The first rapid is Last Chance, it will follow shortly after you cross under the RR bridge. Just about any line can be run through here with enough H20. You will see rocks in the river on your left side, most people start about 15' or so to the right of these rocks, pinning possibility if you go left of these rocks unless it is high water. Once you are headed down stay leftish & look for the eddy that is behind these rocks or you can blow past the eddy and stay left. If ya catch the eddy the wave hole below you is fun. (Look @ the picture on AW site)
You will have a pool then On the Rocks is next. In the center of the river there is a setup eddy behind a large rock start from here with an angle to river left, really depends on the level on how the hole will be. If you don't angle your boat going into the drop you can get pushed up on the rock in the bottom of this drop, hence the name. If you get pushed to the right of "the rock" straighten your boat and look for a clean line, people pin here and some rocks are undercut. Ideally go left of all the large rocks that will divide the river below the drop. Instead of the drop you can also: boof on river left with enough H20, you would need to get out look @ the rapid to get that line you can pin if you go too far left. Also there are creekin' lines to be had on river right, it is better to follow someone who knows them or get out & look. (Look @ the picture on AW site)
Next is Jaws, which is a awesome playspot. Starts to get munchy around 2000 cfs, especially on river right. 1500-1800 is my favorite play level. If the weather is nice you will have locals here. People play here then hike the tracks back out. (Look @ the picture on AW site)
You will have some class II-III type stuff then you will come up on Quarter Mile, probably the toughest on the river, definitely the longest. You can boat scout your way through entrance to Quarter Mile. At the start of Quarter Mile rapid you will find a large eddy on river left, plenty of room. From here you can see down the first drop, there will be a curler wave, past that you will see small eddies that can be caught. Hit the curler wave angled towards river right. On your left there are some nasty pinning spots and sieves. You can easily get out of your boat in that eddy and check out the hazards in the first drop. Catch one of the small eddies I mentioned earlier. From here you will see a large rock on river right, peel out and head for the left side of that rock, you want to stay pretty close to that rock 5-8' there will be a large hole on your left. Catch the eddy behind that large rock you just passed. From here you will see a large rock kinda in the center, on the immediate right side of that rock is Hungry Jack hole. You will want to be right of that large rock avoiding the hole and then ferrying back left behind the large rock. DO NOT go left of that large rock, there is a spot called No way Jose that is bad. There is a move called Tilt a Whirl on the left of the rock, but you need to follow someone for that. From here it is boogey H20, look for the horizon line - that will be Murphy's Ledge, almost a river wide hole. You can take a far right or far left line, you can boat scout either side. Far left is the normal route, people have said there is RR debris on the right. There is a fine line in the middle of the ledge, again you should follow someone for this line.
This will get you through the toughest part of the river. Next significant rapid is Roostertail. Start river right and angle to river left for the first drop, avoiding hole on the right. After that you will cut behind a large rock on river left.
Rock Garden is deceiving and not easy to scout, the line is impossible to describe. The river will bend to the right and filter down through a rock garden, keep your boat straight here, you will broach if you get sideways, I have. You want to stay straight and bounce off the rocks.
Railroad wall rapid is indicated by a large concrete railroad wall. This is a large hole. When you see the horizon line get to the left eddy above it. There will be a rock in the center of the river sticking up out of the H20. Cut against the left side of this rock, you will be skirting the hole so keep it close to the rock.
I have only described the real significant rapids, there is plenty of stuff in between the rapids I have mentioned. Do Do Hole, Maggies, Twin Eddies (great play hole in the bottom), etc. and other class II-III type stuff. Keep in mind you can scout almost anything on river left and carry everything on the RR tracks. As I mentioned before, the Nolichucky is the coldest H20 I have been in this winter, there are RR tracks but the river is remote, no hiking out to a road. Also after last weeks flood keep your eyes open for new wood, I am sure it will be there, we came across some last Sunday in Bama. 2000 cfs will be juicy for a first time run with no guide. Just because I have given long descriptions does not mean that this is some kind of monster river (atleast not around 2000cfs) I am overly detailed, I guess.
I love this area Erwin is great, I have a lot of good friends in this town and the locals are always nice. Erwin Burrito is worth checking out as well, awesome spicy chicken quesadilla and spicy chicken sandwich.
Hope this helps, have a great time.
10 years ago
Runnable down to around 500 cfs but VERY scrapy - go find some dam release or borrow a boat. Around 1500-2000 cfs is ideal. The 500-1000 cfs range keeps everything around "easy" class III. However, much above 3000 cfs and the run is class IV during the first several miles before cooling off to III-III+.
Although some rapids begin to wash out at higher flows, most get much more difficult, with REALLY big waves and Gauleyesque type holes. The Nolichucky gets ran at much higher levels (squirted as high as 16,000 cfs or so - definitely NOT recommended), but much above 3000 cfs and the river begins to change character dramatically; swims can potentially be quite long and dangerous. Many don't paddle it over 3000, while some don't even show up till then. Most call it a day unless they're quite familiar with the run and ready for some seriously fast pushy water and munchy holes around 5-6000 cfs. Usually when the Nolichucky is running that high, plenty of other nearby runs like the Doe or Watauga are likely running too. The last few miles can be anticlimatic when the water gets low (say 1200 cfs or less), but look at as a chance to take in the fantastic scenery more easily.
As you probably guessed by now the Nolichucky can vary quite a bit in its tone depending on the water level & it can carry a whole lotta water. Bear in mind the gauge is well downstream of the take-out so it is not the most accurate indicator of water levels in the gorge.
For the TVA gauge reading call 800-238-2264 & press 3; Nolichucky @ Embreeville is the first reading.
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Jaws at 3000
take out for jaws
Playing Around @ Secret Spot
Josh neck up @ jaws
Havin a good time...
(MN) Jaws washout
On the Rocks entrance
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