On the first of June we start driving south to visit our friend Eli Helbert. Eli visited us in Munich for one week after the Kayak Freestyle Worldchampionchips last year in Plattling and invited us to visit him at his home in Asheville, North Carolina, in order to show us his local rivers. Unfortunately our timing is quite bad, as Eli has to fly to Alaska after a few days to teach some Canoe-clinics. But the time spent at his home was great! First thing, we get greated with when we get there is a “Radler”, i.e. a mixture of local beer and limonade. And at the next morning Eli tops it with a delicious breakfast with fresh eggs out of his backyard from his own four hens!
At the breakfast we also get to know Eli`s family, his fiancé Megan and Megan`s kids Sage and Quinn, as well as Rilla, the coolest dog ever!
At midday Eli brings us to his house-river, the Broad French River, which goes straight through Asheville. There are a few smaller playspots on this river, e.g. the shithole. Eli`s dog Rilla accompanied us all the way and swims through every single rapid! It`s favorite game is to retrieve sticks or rather whole tree-trunks out of the river.
On Saturday we meet other friends of Eli at the Nolichucky, a really mellow and very beautiful river.
At the evening Eli takes us to a true BBQ-restaurant called “Luella’s Bar-B-Que”. According to Eli a must if you visit Asheville! On Sunday we go to the “Eternity Hole”, a really smooth hole on the Tuckasegee.
On Monday we accompany Eli to the Pigeon where he is booked as a guide. The Pigeon is a class III river, which at a higher level has a nice small play-wave on it.
On Tuesday we already have to say goodbye to Eli as he leaves for Alaska but Megan and the kids are happy to have us some more days. So I got the chance to meet up with Cheesy and his girlfriend Adrienne who live near Asheville and they take me down the Green River, which was awesome!
Then we go for two days to the NOC-Hole, the Nantahala Outdoor Center, the place of the worlds in 2013.
The next way we say goodbye to Megan, Sage, Quinn and Rilla and start our really long way West to meet up with Leif and Natalie Anderson.