river goddesses of wnc, dixie-marree

UPDATE! Check out the article that this post came from in the new issue of the excellent WNC Magazine,
The River Maidens, Ride the waves with WNC’s leading female kayakers featuring just five of the many river goddesses of the region.





Dixie-Marree Prickett is a self-described southern belle that likes to get her hands dirty and play outside. Dixie-Marree is from Clinton, SC, and, like Bunny Johns, was led to the mountains of WNC as a camper and a camp counselor, at Camp Greystone in Tuxedo, NC, and at Camp Green Cove in Zirconia, NC. After graduating in environmental policies at the College of Charleston, she moved to Jackson Hole, WY. The huge snows didn’t fit her. “I’m out,” she said, and headed back to her paddling community of Asheville. She became a kayak instructor with NOC’s satellite store in Asheville, competing and winning in rodeos and field meter races. Pyranha Kayaks picked her up as an athlete and she spent five years traveling in an RV, living on the river. “Every boating company had a team – a traveling gypsy band. I got the best of it.” Since then she’s boated in Ecuador, Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada, Turkey, France, Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia, Austria, Italy and the USA. Now a manufacturer’s rep for Patagonia, she spends six months on the road during the selling season. “I still get to travel but I’m not gone as long. It feels much more balanced.” Paddling 15 to 30 days a month when she’s home in Asheville. “You couldn’t ask for a nicer Class IV-V in your own backyard.”

Favorite river and why?
I just was in Tibet-we paddled several different stretches of the Tsang Po and we also ran many other smaller rivers and creeks. My favorite area was the Sum Sum River and Valley which flows into the Tsang Po. Po means river in Tibetan. It was so beautiful I couldn’t stop crying.
And the Green just feels like home. It is so special because of the community.

Favorite moment on the river
On the Gauley in 2004. On Gauley weekend they ramped it up after 2 pm, and Pillow was at 10,000 cfs. My friends Katie, Little Dave and I were in playboats. It was so exciting, my ribs hurt from laughing so hard.

Favorite music
Reggae. It calms me down.

Favorite food
Mexican/Latin American and peanut butter and jelly

Any hobbies?
I like to make jewelry. I blow my own glass beads. I also love to cook and garden.

Favorite restaurant?
Sunny Point. It is the one place I always want to get back to when I am away.

Insiders tip to WNC?
Get in a boat and get out there. There is something for everyone.
I am seeing more and more people getting out in the rivers and creeks, and not just in kayaks, but in inner tubes, duckies. And there are more and more paddling clubs, many in North Carolina. There are so many ways to try getting on the river, it’s very user-friendly.

Heroes
Buffy Bailey Burge. She is an amazing kayaker and friend…. And mother She has a three year old and twin babies who are almost a year old. She is so humble and top class. I feel the most comfortable on the water with her.
Daniel DeLavergne. He was a leader in whitewater videography. He passed away in 2006. I was lucky to travel around the country with him in an RV. Daniel was always ready to fire it up and he was a huge motivator for me in kayaking.

Philosophy
On a wooden plaque that Daniel’s family had made. “Live well. Love much. Laugh often.”

Big Dreams, Goals
I want to do a girl’s trip to Europe. Do an all girls Take Europe By Storm paddling trip. Then get all the ladies over to Tibet, where I recently spent three weeks.

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