Blue Hole Summer 2012 Roadtrip Diary

Here's the final update for my 2012 journeys up to Tennessee and to Blue Hole!

Dates Plans Comments
June 7th and 8th Thursday and Friday roadtrip made! Spent two great days in the river and got pretty well sunburnt. Saw a lot of old friends (David and Noelle, Asa, and my friend Randall Gatlin, who was one of my Tenn. friends who first showed me Blue Hole back in 1994 or so) and new, like Jacob and his friend whose name I can't come up with; Matt, Austin, A.J., Dylan and friends, and others. Sadly, only two photos taken from Thurs. were readable on the underwater camera; all the pics and vids I took on Friday were trashed.
June 27th and 28th Wednesday and Thursday Roadtrip made This trip was a bit disappointing, in part because I broke my own rule and didn't call ahead to the Whitewater Center to check river conditions. My friend Jason and 12-year old Adam and I arrived at Blue Hole only to see the alarm lights flashing. There was no loudspeaker voice warning us to stay out of the river, though, and the water was low. When I checked with the Center staff, it turned out that TVA had released water down the rivercourse almost two hours before. We walked down to where the tunnels are, but kept our stuff up high and away from the river, just in case. A guy told us that the water was about 10 minutes away. I quickly began swimming through the underwater tunnels, not sure of what was coming, and meanwhile some kids had arrived and had gotten in. Sure enough, I saw in the distance higher water coming down the riverbed, got out and told the kids to as well. Some of them listened, the rest got washed down the river a little.
We stayed for a while and 'bodysurfed' down the river, but left fairly early for Cleveland and to go eat. On the drive down to Cleveland we saw firsthand and at close range -- 5 ft. from the roadway! -- the smoking, burning brush from the forest fire at Goforth Creek. (!)
On Thursday I called ahead and was told the water was high to "feed the middle" for rafting, so we went to the beach up at Chilhowee instead. It was nice and little Adam really enjoyed it, but it was no Blue Hole.
July 5th and 6th Thursday-Friday holiday roadtrip made! Finally, a great 2-day trip up to Blue Hole! The weather was clear during both days, the water flow was the lowest so far this season, and the water was nice and warm. Made a lot of new friends and loaned out my extra masks and goggles to a plethora of grateful, thankful people, including some who had been checking out this very page as they were arriving at the Whitewater Center. :)
Of note: a very powerful gustfront -- a band of strong winds spun off by a thunderstorm -- hit the region on Thursday night, plowing through Cleveland TN at around 5:30 and Blue Hole at around 7 pm. Trees were knocked down all over and power was out to most of Cleveland -- including the hotels where I stay at for most of the evening. There were a few deaths from the storm, including, oddly enough, the owner of a Harley motorcycle franchise not too far from my house in Georgia. Winds were estimated to top 80-90 mph in some areas; luckily at Blue Hole itself they weren't stronger than approx. 50 mph.
Pics from this second trip are now posted here. Hope I get everyone's name right!
Email me if I talked to you up there, or if your name is missing!
July 12th and 13th Thursday and Friday roadtrip made I added this extra trip to coincide partially with my friend Chris and his wife Diane's camping trip up to Blue Hole. My friend Ripper came along, basically "on the way" moving from Dahlonega back down to Atlanta. Unfortunately there was a mid-level low pressure area and a stationary front causing a lot of clouds and showers in the entire region. On Thursday it didn't rain at Blue Hole while we were there, but it was cloudy and the water level was somewhat elevated due to rainfall runoff in the basin. With air temperatures only in the upper 70s we didn't get in the water too much. For the first time in years, I had to wear a pair of long pants overnight in Cleveland TN during high summer. (!)
On Friday the weather was somewhat improved, with more sunlight and slightly warmer air temps. A passing brief but heavy downpour caused us to exit the river at around 1pm, but we got back in again afterward. Talked to some pretty cool people and was in the water more, but with another rainstorm coming in at around 4-4:30, we decided to head back to Atlanta a bit earlier than normal. We also wanted to check on three rescued kittens back at the house. Got some pics on Friday, primarily of the higher water flow, posted here.
July 18th and 19th Wednesday and Thursday Roadtrip made! Just me onboard for this trip. Really awesome water conditions, very low and warm, and very clear except when stirred up by a few large groups. Despite a forecast calling for a 50-60% chance of afternoon thundershowers, we only had a passing storm drop some drizzle on Wednesday and no rain at all -- and hardly any clouds, either -- on Thursday. Met some great people and saw a few old friends, too!
Pics from this trip are located here!
Vids are now up on YouTube in this playlist!
August 8th and 9th Wednesday and Thursday Roadtrip made For this trip, my friend Jason and his son Adam came along, since it was little Adam's last chance to go to Blue Hole before school started for him on the 13th. THIS time at least the water was low and stayed low (no emergency releases from the dam), but the weather was somewhat cloudy on the first day and rainy on the second. After about 3 hours in the water on Thursday and then a big new thunderstorm rolling in with solid rain behind it, we left at around 3:30 and headed home via the Ellijay -> Cartecay -> Dahlonega -> Gainesville route to avoid Atlanta traffic. This route won't normally save any time, but would be faster than messing with Atlanta perimeter traffic.
August 15th and 16th Wednesday and Thursday Roadtrip made! My friend Ripper came along this time, and we had good weather and dry, slightly cooler air. The water seemed a bit colder than it should have been since it wasn't flowing very fast and the sun was out more than it was in, but we still had a great time. Saw several familiar faces including Jonathan and his friends from a few weeks ago; some of them returned on Thursday as well. I took just a few pics and vids, which I'll post later.
August 22nd and 23rd Wednesday trip scrapped, one-day Thursday roadtrip made I'm not sure what happened to these pics and/or vids.

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