Awesome, awesome scenery. A dark wall of metamorphic rock rises almost 100 feet opposite a long sand bar that paddlers named Son of a Beach. Between the beach and facing wall is a deep, wide pool that’s just short of breath taking. At proper levels for swimming the hole will appear to have a riffle at the top before it broadens to 50 or 60 feet of deep water running for several hundred feet! Raven Rock is easily the best big-river swimming hole in the Southeast. All it lacks is a jumping rock. Too bad that big wall has no jump.
In 1999 a woman tried to ford fast moving water at the top of the hole. She went down and became trapped in a hydraulic and drowned. The body was not immediately recovered and the search became an public issue when family got permission to divert the river. Her body was finally recovered several months later. All of which points to the safety tips at the front of this book and the section on how to avoid foot entrapment.
Locals also complain about traffic on the gravel roads. Tim Welsh is a farrier who lives in a distinctive house trailer on Camp Creek Rd. “We got dogs, chickens, young’uns. I cussed some of them. Don’t do no good. They still fly through here.”
Welsh has made a few trips to the river himself. Asked for personal experiences, he doesn’t hesitate.
“I had plenty good pieces of ass down at the river,” Welsh said. “Before I was married and after.”