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10 The Tar Heel Thursday, June 5, 1980
in focus: outdoor recreation
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Joe Coates, manager of The Trail Shop, Kayaking on the Haw River rapids
Paddling Haw River rapids provides
adventurous, challenging experience
By Jack Mohr
Floating on a calm, smooth river, undisturbed but for the wake
of a kayak and the brushing of the wind through the trees, you hear
the sound of falling water. The stomach gets queasy as the
adrenalin starts folowing in anticipation of what awaits you
As the roar of churning water becomes deafening, you sit
straining to sight a course through the turbulent water. As you
enter the rapids, dodging rocks and finding eddies, the adrenalin
takes hold. Instinctively, you choose a route through the rapids,
your body and mind pushed to the optimal coordinated
performance level. As Joe Coates, manager of TheTrail Shop, puts
it, "Kayaking in the extreme is an art form."
Just 20 minutes outside Chapel Hill on U.S. 15-501 toward
Pittsboro is the Haw River. The upper Haw is a great place to get
your feet wet. Slow and flat with intermittent rapids of Class II
magnitude, even a beginning paddler can negotiate it at low water
levels. However, when the upper Haw is running high after a hard
rain, it should be attempted only with an experienced paddler in
By river, the trip from Chicken Bridge to the 15-501 bridge takes
approximately VA hours. (This does not include time for capsizing,
picnicking or picture-taking.) Prospective river-runners should
plan to take an entire day for the trip in order to fully enjoy the
scenery. An abundance of wildlife is visible from the river,
including the great blue heron which flies up from the coast,
hawks, falcons, owls, deer and beaver.
The lower section of the Haw River is rated Class III and should
be attempted only after testing your paddling ability on the upper
Haw. This part of the river is not negotiable when the water level is
low, whereas the upper Haw can be paddled year round. The trip
down the lower Haw takes about 2H hours.
But when the lower Haw is especially high, it should be
attempted only by experts. Terry O'Brien of the Trail Shop
that at high water levels the lower Haw is a dangerous and
potentially deadly river. "Inexperienced persons are killed there
almost every year."
Employees at Haw River Runners' Emporium advise that
certain precautions should be taken by anyone planning to paddle
the Haw River. A float plan should be filed and life jackets should
be worn. If you fall out of the boat in the rapids, you should float
along until you reach the calm water before attempting to stand.
Always float feet first, to avoid striking your head against rocks.
White water rapids are rated by class ranging I to VI. Class I
refers to smooth, swift water with obstacles, i.e. rocks, visible above
the surface. Class II is swift water with a broken surface and some
obstacles submerged. The Sierra Club says that beginning paddlers
should stick to water classified Class I or II. Class III, for more
experienced paddlers, has submerged obstacles and standing
waves. Class III is the maximum level of difficulty negotiable by a
Maps of the upper and lower Haw are available from either the
Trail Shop or the Haw River Runner's Emporium. They indicate
the location and difficulty of rapids, landmarks and suggested rest
stops. Maps of other white water rivers in North Carolina are also
More information on paddling on the Haw River can be
obtained at either the Trail Shop at 405 W. Franklin St. or the Haw
River Runner's Emporium at 211 E. Main St. in Carrboro. Boats
and equipment can be rented at both establishments1.
Fall out of an airplane ?
Some jump at the chance
By John Drescher
Picture this: you are in a small airplane, 3,000 fm above acres
and acres of tobacco farms in rural Franklin County. The side
door opens. You adjust your goggles one last time and run your
hand across your back, checking your parachute pat k for about
the 40th time. The man next to you shakes your hand and wishes
you luck. You creep closer and closer to the edge, take a deep
breath and jump.
Sound fun? Hundreds of people think so, says Paul Fayard of
Franklin County Sport Center. The Sport Center, located on
Highway 56 in Louisburg, is the only parachuting center in the
area certified by the U.S. Parachuting Association.
Fayard and the staff at the Sport Center train beginning
parachuters and aid those who have jumped previously. First
timers pay a $55 fee, which covers the use of the equipment,
training and the actual jump itself. Prices go dowq considerably
the more the parachuter jumps. The second jump is only $12.
' First-timers get five to six hours of training, depending on the
individual. The object, Fayard said, is to train the student
"enough so he can enjoy thr jump on a personalized basis."
Training starts wth ;or ientation with the equipment and
continues by explaining how to enter the aircraft and become
comfortable in it. Next, snidents are taught how to exit the plane
and what to expect once they do exit, said Fayard. Students are
taught how to steer, land and prepare, for unusual landing .
conditions. ' t
Beginning parachuters ido not pull the rip cord that releases
the parachute. A static line is pulled by the jumpirusier in the
plane, although Fayard said that there is a dummy rip cord that
students can practice with. A back-up chute is used if the main
chute does, not open properly. ; 1
ParachutCTs must jump a minimum of five times before they
can jump without a static line and pull their own rip cord.
Parachuters must also be critiqued by the jumpmaster. Their last
three jump! must be successful in all phases as judged by the
jumpmaster for them to jump without the static cord.
"It's really not that difficult," Fayard said. "It's just a matter of
getting your head (mind) to catch up with your Ixxly."
In seven years, there has been one death at the Sjxirt Center.
The jumper was an experienced parachuter, Fayard said, who
did "several things wrong he knew better not to do." The
jumper's first chute did not open, and instead of pulling his
back-up chute he tried to fix his first chute. By the time he finally
did pull his second chute, it was too late. Favard said.
Most parachuting centers in North Carolina, other than the
ones at Louisburg, Midland and Raeford, are small "fly-by-night,
out-of-the-trunk" operations, Fayard said.
The Franklin County Sport Center has 11 instructors, who
give on-the-ground training, and 15 jumprnasters, who control
activity inside the aircraft and critique the students. The Sport
CenteT is open from 10 a.m. until dark on weekdays and from 8
a.m. until dark on weekends.
Caynor Collester (above left) of the C
Shop with bike outfitted for cross-c
Equipment for safety and comfort includ
luggage rack and panniers or saddle bag
also can be worn.
By Sarah West
Bicycling, a long-standing mode of ttam
the American preteen, is taking on an expand'
gas prices spiraling even higher, bicycles pre
economical means of getting around for all at;
has also become increasingly pular as a m
According loGrady Ballengrr of 1 hr Chajv
Shop, there is a big interest in eross-countn
bikes. Ballenger, who dcx-s a lot of touri
advocates it as a good way to mrci x-eplr.
"When you come into a small town on a hie
less of an intruder than if you war in a c ar. Ye
people more easily and jx-ople arr moir mtrt
Gaynor Collester, who works at I hr C.h.tjw
Shop, say Charxl Hill is a good lexatioi
because of the surrounding country sidr. "W
minute ride, you'll find some gex roads wit
Bikers interested in long-distance touting s
out the cross-North Carolina trail Ire m Murph
as well as the cross-America trail. Maps !
Carolina trail, which runs through Chajw
WoiT SQf ty I Stayouf of hoi wafer this summer by remembering rules while af loaf
By Martha Johnson
Play it safe this summer, say outdoors specialists in
the Chapel Hill area. Whether you're going to the
beach, the park, the lake, or just the apartment pool,
it's good to keep some summer safety tips in mind.
No matter what the summer exercise, start out
slowly. "People need to gradually increase their
physical activity," says Skip Hunter, physical
therapist at the Student Health Service. "There are
too many weekend athletes around who don't
consider that they've been sitting around all week
If you are planning on taking a dip in any
swimming environment, remember never to swim
alone. "Always swim with a buddy or friend," says
Cindy Billings, senior program director at the Chapel
Hill-Carrboro YMCA. "Find out what his swimming
abilities are and then keep an eye on him."
"You should never swim in . an unguarded
apartment pool by yourself," says Ann Colvard,
YMCA aquatic director. "If you hit your head or
suddenly get a cramp, there'd be no one to help."
If you are going to a lake or beach that is new to
you,- always check out the site before taking the
"Look for posted rules and available safety
equipment ring buoys, logs, balls, anything that
floats," Billings says. "Check the water to see if it
appears to be clean, if it is moving and free of algae."
If diving is your forte, don't take the dare to dive off
that cliff before checking out the water below. "If you
are in a lake where you can't see the bottom, you need
to determine the depth by a feet-first surface dive,"
Billings says. "Neck and back injuries are usually
: severe in water accidents so hands should always be
over the head when diving."
Even at a pool you should check out the diving
area. "Most apartment complex pools are shallow,"
Colvard says. "I would not recommend a lot of fancy
diving or back flips off the side. Look before you dive
to avoid collisions."
Children need special attention in the water. "Keep
children out of those commerical swans and
innertubes, especially if they can't swim," Billings
says. "Unless they are strictly supervised, children are
likely to become overconfident and swim into areas
over their heads."
Weather conditions can also affect your safety in
the water. "Never swim when you can see lightning,
whether in an outdoor or indoor pool," Colvard says.
"If you hear thundeT, get out because there's the
danger of electric shock."
At the beach the ocean is a harsher environment.
"Ride with the outgoing current rather than tiring
yoursejf fighting it," Colvard says. "If you get tangled
in weeds, remember to say calm and slowly untangle
yourself. Quick thrashing movements only get you
"Also be award of the marine life and know wliat to
do in case of jellyfish stings and so on."
When boating otheT safety precautions need to be
taken. "All passengers in boats must have U.S. Coast
Guardtapproved personal floatation devices." says
Myers Braxton, superintendent of the Crabtree
Section of Umstcad State Park near Raleigh.
Although in North Carolina you are not required
to wear life-vests, you must have one available for
each person. "When boating, always keep that vest on
if you can't swim," says Colvard. "Also anyone that is
around the water should have basic swimming skills
and learn how to survival float."
A situation involving a person who is in trouble in
the water or drowning is one that should be
approached with great caution, Billings says. Often
the first impulse is to dive in and rush to the person's
aid. However, this is often the worst action to take,
and may result in the loss of two lives.
Billings stresses that unless you are skilletl in
lifesaving techniques, it is best not to attempt a
rescue. Instead, you should throw or hold out an
object for the prrvm in trouble to grasp.
A significant number of water and boating
drownings are the result of combining drinking with
water activities. "Don't mix drinking and water
sports," says Sparky Carpenter, social research
assistant at the Center for Alcohol Studies. "It causes
weakness and makes you physically incapable of
what you normally would be able to do.
"You could eventually become confused or
disoriented in tlx water." says Carpenter. "The
potential risk is tlx-re even with small levels of ale ohol
because of your increased activity."
Whether you are swimming or boating, you should
have some sort of emergency plan. "The most
important thing is to find out where the nearest
phone is and know what numbm to call for help."
Billings says. "Drcide who would go fejr lielp tv
what your procedure will be."
SummeT sports axe fun, but only if they're safe.
"Just use common sense at all times." Billings says.
'Vnd remember, we are our brother's kee-r."
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