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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day eight - "mom approved white water rafting"

After quite hot Monday day started rather moderately cool - cloudy and in low 70th. Hoping for the best, we decided to move forward with white-water-rafting adventure.
In a whole, white water rafting, kayaking, canoeing and tubing is one of most popular activities in Great Smokies. However, most of them are quite "real" and not suitable for small kids. It took some effort to find a place that offers rafting experience suitable for 4 years old - small family-owned business advertised itself as "mom approved rafting". They have two major differences - rather easy part of the river with only category 1 and 2 rapids, and option to have "guaranteed guide" in your boat.
Rivers suitable for rafting are actually locates to the south from national park, in more flat part of the area - it took us 40 minutes to get there (alternatives are north of Gattlinburg which is even farther away). We were dressed in life jackets, quickly instructed what to do and what not (pretty much do not jump in the water) and put in the raft. Whole party has included four rafts - first and last with guides - college-aged boys with good rafting experience and reasonable sense of humor. 
By the time we have started moving, some sun appeared. It was still not too hot (which is good, because event that simple rafting includes quite a bit of paddling) but we were able to catch some tan.
Whole trip is 5.5 miles  or 2.5 hours, including about 12-15 rapids of different size and complexity (but all pretty simple).  What kids liked the most was ~one hour stop in the middle, where they were given a chance to swim through the rapid without a raft - just using life jackets. Well, adults have enjoyed this swimming as well :)

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