By: Dwayne Parton

7 Things to Know Before You Go to the Green

So you want to go to the Green Race? If you don’t then you are seriously missing out. I don’t really know how to articulate my excitement about it, so I’ll quote American Whitewater on it.

“No doubt the single most famous, most respected, and most competitive creek race on the planet, the annual Green Race remains a fabulous and homespun little affair held each Fall on the steepest section of western North Carolina’s Green River Narrows.”
American Whitewater

Now to the heart of the post. Here are 7 tips that will help you and those you are with have an awesome Green Race experience!!!!

1) Safety First

A little bit of slippage could make for a not so fun day.

The water is cold, fast, and extremely dangerous. Over 1,000 spectators will be lining the banks*(cliffs, boulders, and things that are not easy to walk on)* of the narrows. Most will be wearing a jacket, pants, shoes, and no PFD. None of which are real conducive to swimming. You see where I’m going with this? It’s extremely important that you use good judgement. The rocks are slick. I watched several people fall on these “banks” as they were climbing around, and it would be easy to slip and accidentally fall in.

2) It’s Just A Hill

The race might be extreme, but hiking into the green is no cake walk. The first mile or so is a nice 4 wheeler sized trail and then it’s all down hill from there. Seriously. Most of my city friends would call it a cliff. It’s really steep and you pretty much have to use ropes to descend and ascend this mountain trail. If you fall, we are talking serious consequences. It takes between 45 min – 1.5 hour to get into the Narrows so plan ahead. Race day is really crowded, be respectful of others because there is a good chance you will get behind someone who is having trouble on the trail.

3) Flip Flops & Apparel

So last year, I hiked in wearing flip-flops. I know, I know, after I just said all that about the trail. Anyhow, my feet froze!!!! I was one of the first people there and even though I had socks it didn’t help. It’s a lot colder in the valley than you might think. Dress in layers and check the weather. As for me, lesson learned, this year I’m bringing 2 pairs of wool socks.

4) Parking

Don’t go looking for a parking lot. There isn’t one. Just find a safe place on the side of the road, not in it or in someones driveway. Get there early or you may have to walk a bit before you even make it to the trail head. Shuttles can usually be found so it’s not too big of a deal. A lot of people will be there so carpool if possible.

5) Waste Management – 1 or 2?

Yep, that’s right. There are some toilets right behind gorilla, but they are usually occupied. I almost don’t want to type “not really” but I imagine someone may actually believe me. If you think you might have to go before the day is over then bring a trowel and whatever amenities you need to do your business. Make sure you use trail etiquette. Dig, Cover, and Carry out your paper.

6) A Business Opportunity

You know, if you hiked in there with some food you could probably make a little money. That is if people actually carried their cash down and I highly doubt that. Bring your self a little snack, something to drink, and maybe even a thermos. Did I say it will probably be cold? Don’t forget to pick up any trash you might have.

7) Know What You Are Getting Into

The Green Race is an incredible event. The atmosphere is amazing, the scenery beautiful, and the action is non stop. Spectating the green could be just as dangerous as running it. It’s definitely not a place you where you would want to let you children run around. There is safety, but we got to be a little responsible for ourselves. Keep the environment clean, cheer loud, and throw up a Brown Claw. Oh and I would recommend hiking down to the Narrows before the race just to look around. It’s amazing.

A Little Gratuity

Make sure you bring your camera.