The Green River Narrows is fast becoming one of the best known whitewater runs in the world, and to many of us in western North Carolina, it's home. We roll out of bed many mornings and call to see if it's running, and roll on down there during any spare time that we can make. It's steep, it's clean, it's beautiful, and it runs most of the time. It's one of the greatest whitewater treasures on Earth!

So here's my insider's tour of the Green, with as many good photos as I could scrape together, rapid descriptions, a little history, and hopefully a little fun woven in. If you want to know more about the Green, check out my information page.

Here goes the tour:

Often left out of tours and videos, and the run itself, the section which I call the Middle Green is a beautiful 3 mile paddle from the power plant to the putin for the Narrows. There are only two significant drops on the section. Here's Bryan Byrd on the first one, "Bayless' Boof". It's about a 10 foot drop overall, with a move to be made from right to left. I like to start as far right as I can get and drive left across the very lip of the drop in order to be in the right place for the big launch at the bottom.

Most folks carry down the hill to the lower putin, though. Here's a photo of the parking area on a less than crowded day. I wonder why....

After the Big Hungry river runs in from the left, there is a great 1/2 mile of class II warmup before the Narrows start. Looking straight down the gorge along this stretch, there is a ridge which slopes off toward the right. Where this ridge hits the river, the Narrows begins.

The Narrows starts with a rapid known as "Bride of Frankenstein", which is a class IV wakeup call to alert you to the impending gradient below. You enter this one on the right, with a good bit of left angle. The first drop is about 4 feet, and I like to float over it and wait for the little back ender. The end of the rapid involves dropping over a sloping ledge and punching the final hole. If you're in a play boat (not reccomended on the Narrows, of course) you can try to drive your bow up on the left hand wall for an extended splat. Then paddle back up into the hole for lefty splat wheels! Here's Jim Michaud finishing up the rapid. The wood in the picture is gone now.

The pace is definitely picking up by this point, and the first class V, "Frankenstein", is right around the corner. There are several great lines through this technical drop. Three different entrance slots are used, with the old standard route being the farthest to the right of the three (if you go one slot too far, you drop over into the undercut and strainers of doom). Once through the entrance, the trick is to go to the right of the pyramid rock in the center, boofing either right into the eddy or left for the straight line. The hazards are the pinning situation left of the pyramid and the large undercut just below the right hand slot. Here's a shot of Kevin Colburn nailing a sweet boof on the more direct left line, with the pyramid rock to his left and the undercut in the foreground (top left).

After Frankenstein, things let up a bit for a while, with a fun 5 foot drop right below. boof right or left through the left hand slot, or try a 360 spin off the finger of rock on the far river right. Then pick your way through the next long class IV, with many possible routes.

The next drop of significance is "Pincushion", where the river pours over a 3-4 foot drop toward river left and rushes into the pincushion rock. point your boat straight down river, and drive across the face of the drop to thread your way through this one.

After Pincushion, there's another long tight stretch of class IV before you reach the "Whale Tail", one of the most beautiful rock formations in the gorge. It's an easy slide down the middle of the Tail, and make sure you turn around and take a look at the rock once you're past. Here's a photo of the Whale Tail taken by Chris Bell.

Right after Whale Tail, the pace starts to pick up for good, as you bang into the entrance slot of "Boof or Consequence". The main route is straight down the middle, to bang through a small slot toward the left, avoiding the log filled seive on the way through. After that, either eddy left for a quick break, or follow the main flow of the water over a 5 foot drop to the right. Scoot through the slot next to the right hand undercut, and run the next two footer in the center heading right to avoid the BIG undercut on the left. Here's Jim Michaud boofing it in his open boat.

Unfortunately, a change in the river leaves too little water on the main route during 100% flows these days, so folks have been using the right side "sneak." From this picture of Jim Little running it you can see that it's anything but!

Next up is "The Squeeze", also known as "Go Left and Die". The normal route is the sneak, sliding over the first drop toward the right, then ramming through a slot too narrow for the boat. After that, it's an easy slide over an 8 foot rocky slope. There is a bolder route being run more and more to the left, though. Boof hard left over a log, and jet across the face of the 6 foot drop and try for the VERY narrow left hand slot at the bottom. The photo is of me, but it's a pretty poor angle for seeing how gnarly this drop really is!

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