Friday, June 25, 2010

Ned Beatty Was NOT Invited

Although Burt Reynolds would have been more than welcome to come along.

My friend and fellow blogger Jacob and I took a little three day backpacking trip this week down the Chattooga River Trail. Although for many people it's a running gag to invoke the first few notes of "Dueling Banjos" when entering the woods or venturing into a particularly rural part of the country, a trip along the banks of the Chattooga makes it a little less funny because this is where the classic 1972 film Deliverance was actually shot.

While it would have made for a more interesting blog post, I'm happy to report that nobody squealed like a pig nor were we forced to kill any toothless hillbillies with a bow and arrow. But we also didn't get to enjoy the company of a cocky and strangely bare-lipped Burt Reynolds either, so I guess there's always room for improvement.

What we did enjoy was a trail that follows one of the most beautiful rivers in the southeast, if not the country. And I'm not the only one who feels this way: The Chattooga was designated a national Wild and Scenic River in 1974. It is well known among whitewater enthusiasts for it's wild, roadless nature and imposing rapids, and I'm sure this is well-deserved. For now I'll have to take their word for it, though, because the lower half of the 30-mile trail kept us well away from the river, up on the ridges among the impenetrable forests. We could hear what sounded like some serious cataracts down on the river and the occasional whoops and hollers from exhilarated rafters, but the action was well out of view.

The upper half was a different story: the trail spent long stretches winding beside the river and we encountered a slew of waterfalls and trout-filled pools. Our campsite the first night was actually located on a tributary between two scenic waterfalls, the lower of the two cascading directly into the river, creating a nice deep pool that was perfect for a pre-dinner swim. Not too shabby as campsites go.

Other highlights included a close encounter with a copperhead snake, Mark Doucette's left-behind fuel canister (writing your name on your litter must be worth a merit badge), a spirited thunderstorm that drove us to seek shelter in a conveniently located and temporarily unoccupied camp kitchen (probably saved my camera) and innumerable downed trees and a washed-out bridge resulting from the deluge.

You can see some pictures of our journey here. I highly recommend it. And coming soon, I should have another shaky video set to music you've never heard of. I can feel the anticipation building already.


Courtney said...

You getting bitten by a snake is my biggest fear every time you go out backpacking.

And I have never seen Deliverance. We should remedy that.

Lynn said...

Ditto Courtney on her first point. I'm not so interested in a Deliverance viewing.

Julie said...

I have never seen Deliverance, either. I think I'm ok with that. I can still chuckle when people say to run if you hear banjos.

It looks like an interesting trip. Thanks for the photos. I'm looking forward to you movie! What can he do when there's someone to help?!

Aaron said...

Oh dude. I'm sorry to go totally off topic here, but I could so watch Deliverance right now. You would think that the lack of a 'stache would rob Reynolds of his power, but you'd be wrong. Dude kills people with a bow and arrow! It's great. Plus Jon Voight, the dude from Beverly Hills Cop*, Ned Beatty rape...that movie has everything.

* - Ronny Cox, according to IMDB. I knew that.

Jacob said...

Courtney, First point: Love the snake. Respect the snake. You don't have to nearly worship the snake as my parents do for their vermin eliminating power, but there's not more reason to fear a snake than there is to fear any other dangerous animal. I've been running around rural woods and swamps my entire life and I've never been bitten or even had a close call. It can happen, but if I were you, I would worry more about Mickey falling. His mountain goat agility is going to fail him one day and he doesn't share my deliberate (slow) caution on steep objects and slopes.

Courtney, Second point: Deliverance sucks. I hated that movie. Not only did I find it a little offensive, I was also intensely bored. I do encourage you to watch it for yourself. After all, it's one of those cultural things people expect you to know. Just know that you don't have to like it because it's a horrible movie. In fact, if you rave about it after seeing it, I may hate you, just a little.

Mickey: It was a good hike in the first half, and if I hadn't had skin integrity issues in the last half, I think I would have been in a much better mood when we finished. As it was, by the time I'd be on the road out of the National Forest my mood was already shifting from misery to joy. I was in an incredible mood for the rest of that day.

Sid said...

I don;t think I've ever done an overnight hike. No, I lie. there was Kilimanjaro. First time I ever touched snow.

Going to google copperhead snake to see if it's venomous.

The Modern Gal said...

Oh come on, the only music acceptable for this video IS Dueling Banjos. At least do it for your readers who haven't seen Deliverance. Your video can be the Cliffs Notes version.