Wednesday, June 27, 2012

10 Ways to Cool Off at NOC

It's hot now, and it's only going to get hotter: Atlanta, Charlotte, Greensboro, Columbia and Knoxville are all preparing for four 100° days spanning this weekend.

So, we created a top-ten list of ways to cool down here at NOC. Whitewater rafting always offers refreshing summer fun, but we tried to focus on some other options to mix things up a bit. So, here it goes:

1. Paddling the Nantahala: Whether you kayak, canoe, stand-up-paddleboard or raft the Nantahala, the river's famously cold temperatures are going to feel great this weekend. Sure, sometimes "the Nanty" is a bit chilly, but not now. The beautiful, shaded river will be the best place in the entire Southeast to cool off this weekend.

2. Get a Chilly Pad: A Chilly Pad? These cooling towels are amazing. Just wet one, and it starts to cool to the touch immediately. Technically there's nothing unusual going on (it's just evaporation), but you'll swear there's more to it. We've got this high-demand item stocked up at the Outfitter's Store and at NOC Gatlinburg, so pick one up before you go hiking or biking, and you'll be much more comfortable.

3. Lake Paddling on Fontana Lake: NOC offers guided tours and rentals of the Nantahala channel of Lake Fontana. Starting below Big Wesser rapid--the Nantahala's last hurrah--paddlers enjoy a two-hour round trip out to spectacular Bird Falls.

4. Catch the Breeze: NOC's new Zip Line Adventure Park uses wind, not water, for its cooling effect. After soaring down an almost-600' zip, climbers take on a series of high-altitude, high-exposure challenges. These include additional zips, wobbling obstacles and fun climbing puzzles. Located at the Nantahala, the Zip Line Adventure Park compliments Nantahala River trips with an additional two hours of excitement.

5. Surf School: Yes, you can surf in a river. And, just like surfing at the beach, it's a blast. Join NOC Paddling School instructors at NOC's Nantahala River campus for a free surfing session almost every summer Saturday. They've got kayaks and stand up paddleboards available for casual demos. Guests can just paddle around in a calm, flat eddy, or they can venture into the small, but exciting Surf School Wave. Either way NOC instructors are only steps away with encouragement and support.

6. High Altitude Hiking: Temperatures tend to drop 3-5° for every 1,000' of elevation you gain. So, Clingman's Dome in the Smokies, which is 5,895' higher than downtown Charlotte should be around twenty degrees cooler. Good, cool, high-elevation hikes include Andrews Bald and most hikes starting from the parking area at Newfound Gap (if your goal is staying cool, drive up to the 5,046' gap and start there). Our guides at NOC Gatlinburg know the best hike for any situation. Stop by and ask for some free advice.

7. The Famous Cool Jewel: The signature dessert at River's End Restaurant. This tasty, cool snack requires smothering a scoop of vanilla ice cream in granola, chocolate and caramel syrup. Easy to make. Easier to enjoy!

8. Rapid Transit: If you really can't enjoy the sizzling outdoors, then you can compromise. Ride the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in a comfortable, climate-controlled car, or enjoy an open air car with the breeze blowing through. You'll be able to see great Smokies scenery without baking in the sun. And after the train ride you'll enjoy lunch and a rafting trip on the refreshing Nantahala River.

9. Treat the Heat: If you're serious about outdoor recreation eventually you'll need to learn about thermoregulation both in hot and cold environments. SOLO Wilderness Medicine classes, like the basic Wilderness First Aid certification, show you how to manage these medical issues and others while having fun outside. The next course starts July 14th.

10. Frosty Brews and Riverside Tunes: Weekly microbrewery tastings at The Pourover make great opportunities to relax after a day of playing in the summer sun. Upcoming events feature the Nantahala Brewing Company and Lonerider Brewery. Cool drinks are on tap every night at The Pourover, and the shady riverside atmosphere always provides an ideal place to chill out. The tastings and the live music schedule just make a good thing even better.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

NOC's Exciting June Rafting Specials

It's June, and we're about to hit peak season on the South's whitewater rivers. But that doesn't mean there aren't any specials or discounts out there for savvy shoppers. In fact, we went ahead and collected these for our blog readers, enews subscribers and and Facebook friends so you could see them all in one place.

Here's a list of the top NOC specials going right now:

1) Ocoee River rafting trips for only $20. Yes, you read that correctly; the 3pm, 4pm and 5pm trips on Sunday the 24th are only $20. That's 60% off peak day rates on the most popular river in the world! Don't worry there's no catch: the rafts are still inflated, there's a great NOC guide in the boat, and you're running the same awesome rapids. This will be NOC's best Ocoee deal of the season. Take advantage of it!

Big splashy fun on the Ocoee River. You can see why it's many rafters favorite run!

2) Nantahala Rafting and Zip Line Adventure Park Combo: NOC opens its new Zip Line Adventure Park this Friday at the Nantahala. It's the perfect compliment to the very popular half-day Nantahala trip: a 550' zip line into a 16-obstacle aerial adventure park 40' above the ground. The entire raft and zip experience only costs $89.99the normal price for most zip line tours.  

NOC's new Zip Line and Adventure Park features exciting zip lines and complex aerial obstacles testing  concentration, focus and mettle!

3) Save $20 per person on 7am Chattooga River Section IV trips on June 16, 17 and 24. Yes, 7am seems early, but consider these factors:

Perhaps my personal favorite summer experience: approaching the drop
at Seven Foot Falls on the Chattooga. 
a) Scarcity: weekend Chattooga trips tend to sell out throughout the summerthe outfitters only have a very limited amount of availability on the Chattooga, which contributes to the river's wilderness feel.

b) Quality: the morning trips are the guides' favorites due to more plentiful wildlife, moderate temperatures and the early-morning river ambiance.

c) Convenience: yes, it doesn't seem convenient to be at the Chattooga River at 7am, but you'll be finished in the middle of the day, and you'll be able to make it back home or to the cabin for more time with family and friends.

And, to boot, you save $20 per person. Just book as normal, and we'll apply the discount at the end of the transaction.

4) Nolichucky High Adventure Ducky Trips. These are the most exclusive rafting trips NOC offers. When water levels get just right NOC offers exciting guided duck trips through the Noli's Class III and IV rapids. Non-kayakers, will experience the rush that's hooked the hard boaters. If you've enjoyed a duck trip on the Nantahala, this is the big next step. These trips are for paddlers 16+ and include a very high guide-to-guest ratio to ensure guests are appropriately supported. Don't miss this opportunity.

NOC guide demonstrating the line through a large rapid on the Nolichucky
High Adventure Ducky Trip.

5) Pigeon River rafting. So, if you are really flexible you can still grab spring pricing (30% off) on Pigeon trips through Friday. If you can't just drop everything and go rafting, that's ok (get your priorities straight for Pete's sake!). NOC offers standard late-day discount trips for $29.99 and $24.99. Just to put this in context: if you live in Knoxville, and you can get off work a bit early, your group can go rafting on select 5pm trips and save money. Think of that as adding a bit of weekend right into the middle of your workweekalways a good thing.

Family fun on the Pigeon River. These happy rafters will remember this trip forever.