Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Behind the Scenes: Rabun Gap Ramble

This week I have two segments in the upcoming show, Rabun Gap Ramble. And both endangered my life. Kind of.

My two day shoot in Northeast Georgia started out well. I rode horses at the Dillard House Stables. And this was not life endangering part at all. It was a fun, beautiful ride through pastures, woods and the Little Tennessee River. Pam Thompson, the stable manager, was kind and accommodating. The horses were gentle and handsome-- although mine kept stopping to drink water from the river and thereby holding up the rest of the party.

No, the life endangering part came at lunch and then again at dinner and by breakfast I was nearly dead. Fed to death. That's what my tombstone might have read. The food at Dillard House is good. The quality is great. Mostly from local area farms, I'm told. But the quantity! Oh my, the masses of food they bring to the table. Even Phil couldn't help me polish it off. My advice: the restaurant is called "family style" so don't, I repeat, don't forget to bring your family. All of them. Including distant cousins and maiden aunts. Don't leave anyone behind. You'll need all the recruits you can muster.

The second life endangering part came the next morning. Phil and I met up with the crew at the Nantahala Outdoors Center, an outfitter on the Chattooga River. The staff was great and friendly-- but that "trip talk"! Whew! This was scarier that any moment on the river. Of course, there are inherent elements of risk on a class 4 river-- but the warnings and video animations were intense. When we got to the river I asked John, our photographer, what he was thinking about he answered, "Three things. One last smoke. Breaking this camera. And death." Yes, death is on your mind when you're on the Chattooga. But all was well. Everyone not only survived but had a awesome experience.

Again, my advice: before you raft don't google "Chattooga deaths" and don't watch Deliverance. Save both those things for after you return safely home-- which you inevitably will --with a perma-grin which will last the rest of the day.

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