According to Your Smokies, the body of a 27 year kayaker Isaac Ludwig was found last week in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, approximately 1,000 feet downstream from the confluence of the Road Prong and the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River.
Isaac Ludwig of Hartford, Tennessee, was paddling with 23 year old Jared Seiler of Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, and 24 year old James Donahue of Nashville, Tennessee. They entered the Road Prong River near the Chimney Tops Trailhead and planed to kayak the rain-swollen rapids on the lower section of the Road Prong and take their kayaks out of the water before they reached the West Prong.
Once in the water Seiler and Donahue realized that the water was running too swift and pulled their kayaks out. Ludwig pushed on downstream.
Ludwig was an experienced kayaker who worked for Rafting in the Smokies. He was wearing appropriate safety gear while he was in his yellow Liquid Logic whitewater kayak.
Amazingly another kayaker who was unrelated to this accident lost a similar boat of the same color which was found wrapped around a tree near the Chimney Tops Picnic Area.
Smoky Mountains National Park Rangers and Gatlinburg Fire Department’s Swift Water Rescue Team were involved in a search effort, but the body of Ludwig was found above the water line entangled in vegetation by two other kayakers.
Ludwig had an interest in clean water environmental issues, and in his free time wrote for a magazine called Sidetracked, which promotes adventure sports. He was also involved in environmentally friendly kayaking products.
After car accidents, accidental drowning is one of the most common causes of serious injury or death to visitors of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Commonly after large rainfall, many kayakers take on the streams and rivers of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While many put in along the roadside of the Little River, some will hike deep into areas to put in.