Pick Your Line

The weekend before last, a buddy and I decided to take a trip to Long Creek, SC, camping and spending time on the beautiful Chattooga River,  doing things we probably shouldn’t have been doing. But, it was all in good fun. Besides, a little whitewater heart rate elevation isn’t a bad thing. 

On the trip we met some really awesome people. The whole community surrounding Long Creek has to be one of the most laid back in the country. Complete with samplings from all walks of life that have blended together over passion, lifestyle and love to form a really peaceful and serene environment. 

I can’t say enough nice things about the people that we encountered on this trip. From Matt and Teresa and all of the staff at the Chattooga River Lodge and Campground to the owner of The Gauge Coffeehouse and Chatooga Whitewater Shop, Trey. We were well taken care of and always met with a smile, no matter where we were.

Trey was the person that set us up for our first day on the water. We had stopped by his shop to possibly rent some wetsuits, anticipating the water temps to be more on the colder side. Our original plan had been to run a portion of the river in a canoe, a la Burt Reynolds and cast in Deliverance. Which, if you haven’t seen, that movie really showcases the force of the Chattooga and they used zero stuntmen for that film. But, we didn’t need Burt, we had Trey, who calmly talked us out of running a canoe and instead taking some inflatable kayaks down the river since it was our first time and we didn’t really know what we were getting into. These inflatables were like smaller versions of whitewater rafts, they were tanks on the water but that didn’t mean things couldn’t go wrong. 

As Trey broke the trip down for us, one thing stuck out. He told us how to properly navigate all of the obstacles we would encounter and the ones we might want to avoid, given current conditions. He had a wealth of information about the river. The problem was it was left to us to remember everything he told us. Spoiler alert: We didn’t. However, before we jumped in the truck and rolled out of his parking lot, he told us, “Just pick your line and hit it straight on. That’s your best chance at success.”

Pick your line and hit it straight on. 

Those words stuck with me all day. During the times of calm, I would drift along with the river, thinking about those words and how they not only applied to the river but to life as well. So, with the birds singing from the banks and amidst the roar of the river, I found a message. 

Life is a lot like the river: There are moments of peace and serenity, bookended by periods of turmoil and uncertainty. Obstacles are thrown at us from all directions, testing our resolve and our tenacity. During these moments in life, it’s important that we hit things head on, doing otherwise is just delaying the inevitable. No second guessing. Pick your line and hit it head on. That truly is your best chance at success and doing so makes navigating the obstacles we encounter much easier over time. A lot of what is in front of you may look impossible to overcome, but it isn’t. Head up, shoulders square, commit and hit it head on. 

I hated to leave Long Creek. In fact, I stayed an extra night just because I couldn’t bring myself to leave such a great environment. Well, that and everyone at my house had a stomach bug that sounded mighty unfriendly and I wanted no parts of that. So, staying another night, hanging in my hammock, seemed more reasonable. Since I’ve been back, all I can think about is my next trip down there. I shall return soon! 


Gentle blue


Winding valleys

Mighty roar


Through boulders

White caps


Washing over

Life smiles


On bare shoulders.

Copyright © 2022 Allen Keith  – All Rights Reserved.