I’ve wanted to paddle the French Broad River for years but just never have had the chance. When we thought about doing it over this past 4th weekend, I said, “Let’s do it!” You never know where life will take you in the future, so do it now before things change and move in another direction.

The river starts as a small stream high in the North Carolina mountains and flows 200+ miles to Knoxville where it joins up with another river to become the Tennessee River. Then it travels on to Asheville where we caught up with it. One of the owners of the Asheville Outdoor Center told us that it is the third oldest river in the world, even older than the NC mountains (formed some 300 million years ago)! Just reporting what I was told and I won’t say if I agree or not.

While the river is fairly flat through the city of Asheville (perfect for tubing and float trips), there are some big rapids north of the city, which is a great place for whitewater rafting and kayaking! We did not choose to paddle there.

We chose the paddle through the part of the river that passes by the Biltmore House.

Anne having fun in her first sit-on-top kayak ride.

Pat always enjoys kayaking and always looks great!

In this photo, she paddles under one of the four bridges we crossed.

I’m always just happy to be “there.” We celebrated my two year anniversary of being cancer free or NED—No Evidence of Disease. It’s my first major milestone in this journey back to full health.

Wow! Finally, we saw the Biltmore House from the river. Everyone in our group wanted to know if we could see the house from the French Broad and the answer is “yes” barely and quickly. It looks much smaller and closer from this vantage point.

At this point in the paddle I was probably having fun but also thinking about the Tugaloo River in Stephens County. Here there was street noise as we paddled; but on the Tugaloo, there’s no street noise, no city pollution, and no river trash. We are pretty blessed to have a river like the Tugaloo in Stephens County.

We finally did enter what kayakers call the “quiet” part of the river. This is where you can trick your mind into thinking that you are not in the middle of a large American city. The river is broad, beautiful, and you hear the sounds of nature—geese, eagles, and other river things.

A parting shot of everyone’s favorite sighting—a Grey Heron doing a little fishing along the shoreline.