It happens every year. You spend the fall and winter months cooped up indoors with little to do but watch television and surf the Internet, so when summer vacation finally arrives, you're eager to get outside and do something fun. If you're looking for a little adventure to help shake off the boredom, head for eastern Tennessee to brave some of nature's most exciting rapids.
Be Prepared to Get Wet
There's no way around it. When you embark on a whitewater rafting adventure, you're going to get a little water in your shoes – but you'll be too busy hanging on to notice.
Your rafting adventure begins with a short safety class led by your guide, so you know just what to expect. Next, you'll board a bus to head for the launch area. Don't let the peacefulness of the launch site fool you though - Big Pigeon River features plenty of Class III and Class IV rapids to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Your five-mile trip begins serenely enough, but soon you'll find yourself plunging through rapids after rapids, water cascading over the bow of your raft and drenching everyone onboard. More than 15 individual rapids make this section of the Big Pigeon River one of the most popular whitewater destinations in the country, so you can expect a thrilling adventure.
No Experience Necessary
If the thought of maneuvering through the rapids in an inflatable raft makes you nervous, don't worry. You don't have to be a whitewater pro to enjoy a day on the river. Professional rafting guides will help you choose the right trip for you and your family. A scenic ride along a slow-moving river with just a few easy rapids is perfect for beginners. Kid-friendly treks accommodate youngsters as young as three, so bring the whole family along.
Most whitewater trips feature a stop for lunch, so you'll be able to enjoy the scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains while you dry off a bit. Your picnic offers an extraordinary opportunity to see a pristine wilderness few will ever encounter, deep in the heart of one of America's most beautiful national parks. Don't get too comfortable, though, because soon it's time to get back in the raft for the remainder of your afternoon adventure.
If rafting just isn't your thing, consider a laid-back kayaking trip. This relaxing cruise along the shore of a tranquil lake will let you enjoy all that summertime in the Smokies has to offer. Catch a glimpse of a whitetail doe and her young, as they stop for a drink of cool water, or just enjoy the riot of colors the wildflowers paint on the landscape.When you're eager for some fun in the sun after a long winter, the Great Smoky Mountains have a lot to offer. Family-friendly whitewater rafting along the Big Pigeon River provides everything a memorable vacation should: plenty of excitement, stunning scenery, and memories that will last a lifetime.
Jon Hoffman is Reservations Manager of Volunteer Cabin Rentals specializing in Smoky Mountain rental cabins in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN. Visit them today at http://www.volunteercabinrentals.com to book cabins for weddings, vacations, reunions and other special events.