Upper Green: Tuxedo Power Plant to Big Hungry Creek Trail
Difficulty: Class II-III+
Length: 3.7 Miles
The Upper Green is a great run. It's steeper and more narrow than the runs earlier in the list. The Upper is the first run our list with well defined bedrock drops. These features, along with its dam-controlled releases, make it an excellent place to get introduced to the concepts you will need to run more difficult creeks.
The put-in of the upper is on the downstream side of the bridge on Pot Shoals Road. The take-out is a little more problematic, for two reasons. First is the hike out. Much is made of the hike from the river back to the car, were not going to lie, it's not fun, but it certainly not as bad as some make it out to be. Basically you have a 3/4 mile hike with around 400' of elevation change. The first 1/4 mile is on single track trail, the rest is along a forestry road. The hike out takes around 20-30 minutes, a small price to pay for such a fun run! Think of it as a paddling trip with a hike at the end, plus a little cardio and strength training. The second issue is a little easier to deal with. The Kayakers parking lot at the take out is a private lot . To access it, you need to buy or rent a key, Click Here for more info.
A couple of safety notes about the Upper. Tree falls are common on this stretch of river, so the possibility of wood or strainers is real. You may have room to navigate around any hazards, but stay vigilant and scout ahead if you can't see over the horizon line. It is always a good idea to check the AW page and see if there are any warning of hazards on the river. The other issue is that the Upper leads directly into the Green River Narrows. The Narrows is an amazing Class V run, but if you are just starting out I promise, you are not ready for the Narrows. Do not go past the take out. If you get to Big Hungry Creek coming in on river left, you have gone too far. Hike the 100 yards back upstream to the take-out. If you go through the Narrows the chances of getting more than your feelings hurt is very real.
American Whitewater is one of the best sources for finding information about a new river and current river conditions. Here is the AW page for the Upper Green.
The flow on the Green is measured a little differently than other rivers on our list. The water is controlled by Duke power and measured in percentages. The Upper Green is runnable between 60%-200%, but 60% is a bit rocky. You can check the Asheville Boating Beta for flow information. Check the page before you go! The schedule changes frequently.
Bayless Boof: This is the first of two "big" drops you will come to on this run. It is basically a big slide with a fun drop at the bottom. You will know you are at Bayless when you come to islands with horizon lines on both sides. You can get out on river left and there is a short trail that will let you scout Bayless before you run it, or portage back up to run it again! The classic line through Bayless has you approach the rapid from river left. The river will turn to the right at the top of Bayless, try to hug the left side of the slide as you go over. There is a hole on the right hand side you try to avoid. Remember your body position and keep paddling as you go over. If you hit it right the drop at the bottom, it will shoot you out over the boil line. One thing to note there is a piton rock the bottom right of center you may hit. It's always a good idea to have your bulkhead and padding installed before trying Bayless.
Wanda's Hole: Wanda's is just a few hundred yards below Bayless. Its a sticky hole that can surf you around if you're not prepared. It is quite shallow, which makes it an unpleasant place to be upside down. It is possible to punch through Wanda's, but the preferred line is to the right of the hole. It's a simple move that lets you practice your boat control and angles. Approach Wanda's from river right, and you will find a small tongue along this side. There is a flat rock at the bottom the current is pushing into. To avoid getting slammed into the rock, you need to go over the tongue with left boat angle and paddle hard. That will pull you past the hole. It's an easy move, but great practice to improve your boat control.
Pinball: The final rapid on the Upper we're going to talk about is Pinball. Pinball is a double drop. It is possible to scout Pinball from river left; however, sometimes the rhododendron is quite overgrown. Your best option is to boat scout. The line through Pinball has you enter the rapid slightly river left of center. There is a large eddy upstream and right of center you can stage in. From this eddy you can clearly see the tongue of first drop. There is a small eddy just left and above the drop if you want to get a final look at the rapid, of course if you miss the eddy you will risk going over Pinball backwards. Once you go over the first drop things start happening fast. The second drop is pretty much in line with the first, just slightly to the left. As you go over the first drop remember to keep good body position, keep you hips loose and paddle. You can eddy out to the left at the bottom.