The Tellico / Obed Trip Report

Where We Went and What We Did • March 22- 23

by Jimi Nixon

We met at my house at 5:00 in the AM, left around 5:30, and high tailed it down to Tennessee faster than legally possible and made it to the Obed river around 12'ish. Talked with some guys going down Crooked fork, but we decided to stick to the original plan of doing the river run instead. So after a mile long grueling hike down to the river, we put on.

The Obed has many class 2 to 3 shelves and a class 4, Rock Garden which gets that rating due to the undercut rock. Me, Steven, and Mary ran the Rock Garden. Mary liked it so much she ran it again in Toni's "drunken" boat. I found a nice auto ender spot right below the rapid to play in for a while.

I considered Oh My God to be the hardest rapid on the run. Apparently Toni did too since she swam right into Oh My God Eddy, which is what happens if you manage to not swim under Oh My God Rock.

Steven, Mary and I ran Nemo at the end. I was too cold to enjoy it, and the rapid is not really worth the carry back to the car unless you have energy to burn.

After a nice dinner of Mexican food at the best Mexican restaurant I've been to in a long time, we drove on down to Tellico Plains and holed up in the KOA to sleep off the very long day we had.

Bright and early next morning, we drive on over to the Upper Tellico where Steven and I put in to do a duo run. This was a very intense run! Especially after finding out 3/4 of the way through that Steven hadn't run any of that stuff either like I thought he had! This was creeking at the finest that either of us had ever done it! We scouted all of the ledges, and had no trouble with any of the upper ledges.

The `Baby' trifecta was just great! Steven picked out a tight, but good route through the Crybaby, and then we dropped right on over Baby Falls . I had no problem, but Steven got off course, went over sideways, and got his skirt blown out for his trouble. After emptying his boat, we tried to decide on a good way down the Diaper Wiper, but we both liked different routes down. So I ran the right side, and he ran the left.

After some more boogie water, we made it down to Jared's Knee. After looking at it, Steven decided it wasn't for him that day. So he set safety and I went ahead and ran it. After a very uneventful landing at the bottom, we were at the end of the Upper.

Even the little stuff was fun. Except for the no name rapid that I ran mostly upside down / and or sideways right after the Bald River Falls ! No one swam, and no injuries except a pretty good scratch Steven got on his hand. Mary and Toni decided that taking pictures from the road of these 2 crazy-ass fools running this stretch was smarter than running it.

Well after a small break, and time for Toni and Mary to prepare, we hopped back in the boats and all 4 of us ran the Lower Tellico . The rapids were tougher than I was expecting, and much tougher than Toni was expecting. Other than Steven giving Toni a couple of Eskimo rescues at the bottom of Bounce off boulder and a no name slot move later in the run, all was uneventful. Mary managed to snap a picture of Toni with a big smile on her face right after the Bounce Off Boulder. Clearly she had found her element!

After getting out, we had a lunch/dinner at the Ruby Tuesday's and drove on home. On the way home, it snowed. Boy did we pick the right place to be this weekend!!!

River stats were:

Obed - 2890 cfs @ 7.28 ft. The water was cold.

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