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About a week ago I was on the Ocoee…headed towards Tablesaw. I glanced over my shoulder and thought I saw a familiar face…Marc Lyle.  And indeed it was. 


Seeing Marc back on the river reminded me of a question I had recently posed to a friend/paddler with lots of river history with Marc–Tim Williams.  Tim and Marc were two of the original “Ocoee Rodeo boaters” as well as leaders of the pack on the rivers around Chattanooga.  The reason for my question was having just spent some time at Hell Hole on a day in which Hell Hole seemed to be dominated by an age bracket of 10-14 year olds (with one or two dads thrown in to ruin the curve—and/or to drive everyone involved to Hell Hole!!)…the scene made me think back on the 90’s at Hell Hole and what the crowd/boat designs were then versus now.


My random question was what boat it was that Tim was paddling when the whole Hell Hole phenomena was happening.  My “Walk Down Memory Lane” question caught up to Tim in an Internet Café in India.


“I am in Varanasi India at the moment – strange place to be thinking about throwing ends in an RPM!  I think that was probably the boat we were in at the time you mention.  A good ride for me was 10 or 12 ends .  A few more for Marc – maybe over 20.  My best rides were in an RPM converted to a flat hull with minicell foam:)  Things rotated slowly back then.”


While the boat designs have certainly changed and the age bracket has definitely changed, being on the river is still a whole bunch of fun!