The Pigeon River courses through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Western North Carolina and East Tennessee rising above the town of Canton, N.C. providing a perfect rafting experience for families. There is both an upper section and a lower section. The upper being reserved for the more experienced rafters while the lower river provides an easy and relaxed ride for both children and seniors alike. I mentioned in earlier blogs my consideration of two rivers for my next ride. The Pigeon is River Number 2.
The Upper has five miles of intermediate Class III and Class IV rapids which provides a fun, fast-paced whitewater run through rapids named Powerhouse, Big Rock, Roller Coaster, Lost Guide, and Chubbie Checker.
The name harkens from the passenger pigeon and avian friend now extinct whose migration path once included the river valley of North Carolina.
Some troubles for the Pigeon river were noted in the aftermath of Hurricanes Frances and Ivan which visited the region in September 2004 forever changing the character of the river. The rains from the storm were seemingly never-ending; the resulting flooding was severe. Canton and Clyde were underwater in area resulting in severe damage to both towns. Upstream, these water heights were never seen before causing the catastrophic collapse of Interstate 40 actually capsizing into the river gorge due to the waters force. The guard rails were just hanging on flailing about with nothing anchoring them. Trees became dislodged when the soil holding them was eroded in response to the flow of the water. The entire shoulder of the road and a good part of the dirt was claimed by the water. Trust me, for many businesses that are affected by this closure as well as our own Bed and Breakfast, we are all hopeful this issue will be resolved shortly.
Regardless of this temporary 1-40 issue, while I might put the Pigeon on hold until I-40 is repaired and can be accessed-I would do an immediate re-install as soon as I-40 allows. I assure you that you will have a lot of company as this river offers a white water mind game that will blow yours.
Patti and Gary Wiles