Antonio’s Adventures: Knorr seeks adventures by canoe [COLUMN]

Ray Knorr of Chelsea prepares to hit the water in his tandem canoe. (Contributed/Joe Antonio)

Ray Knorr of Chelsea prepares to hit the water in his tandem canoe. (Contributed/Joe Antonio)

By JOE ANTONIO/Community Columnist

CHELSEA —  Ray Knorr is just like any other resident of Chelsea, just perhaps a bit more daring. He is a so-called “adventurer” who enjoys roughing it in the wilderness, specifically when it comes to canoeing.

This came from many weekend day trips while growing up in Florida when his family would lazily canoe down flat-water passages. About six years ago he began reminiscing of those times and ended up buying a tandem canoe.

“I went through my first rapid when I hit white water in Alabama,” he said. “I was instantly hooked again.”

Ray got serious about his aquatic habits and started studying instructional videos from Bill Mason,a Canadian naturalist, author, and filmmaker, noted primarily for his popular canoeing books and films. He then supplemented this newfound knowledge with the help of a local friend and mentor in order to take his experience to the next level. After a couple flipped boats, a separated shoulder and a few bumps and bruises, Ray was on his way.

“My favorite place to canoe was West Virginia,” he said. “I actually got to paddle the New River Gorge, the second oldest river in the world.”

The water was nothing that Ray had ever seen before, with its deep crystal- blue color and waves that were as large as ten feet high.

“When you hit the current you get a sense of being connected to nature,” he said. “You are in control but at the mercy of the water. It’s basically controlled chaos.”

Ray has traveled to several far away destinations in the past and believes the best options are outside of Alabama, but with a growing family he is more realistic these days. In fact, his mainstay is Little River Canyon in Fort Payne.

“It’s a very reliable destination and one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to in the southeast,” he said. “It’s relatively unknown too.”

Ray explains that successful canoe trips take careful planning. This is because most of the rivers are naturally flowing and you have to follow the rain and the water, which can be an adventure in itself.