Cartecay at High Water


[The
trip described below was originally scheduled as a GCA trip, but due
to the unusual conditions, the GCA trip was canceled and the would be
participants formed a private trip.]

As
the week of my scheduled trip approached, the rain in the area was
disappointing. As of Thursday, the Cartecay River was at a dismal
1.5 feet. The forecast was for rain, so I was hopeful to have
sufficient water for a fun run.

Then
it started to rain. When Sunday arrived, the river at 101 Lower
Cartecay Road put in was running 7 feet at 9:00 a.m. According to
Jay (at MOE), the river changed from its lowest to its highest in the
shortest amount of time on record. As a frequent paddler of this
river, I was familiar with it at normal flows. It was an incredible
sight to see a novice/intermediate canoe and kayak river transform into a monster.
Seeing the river at this level made one curious. So, I went down to
“scout” Blackberry Falls.

The
river was unlike anything I had ever seen. From my poor vantage
point at the take-out, I could peer upriver to the Falls. The Falls
could have been run on river left, right, down the middle, anywhere
one would have the guts to try it. To give one a perspective, the
water was about 3 – 4 feet below the base of the covered bridge at
the Blackberry Mountain take-out.

As
expected, there were a large number of no shows. As the crew
developed, it consisted of John McCorvey, Glen Kent, Doug Ackerman,
another fellow (Jason) I met at the put-in, and myself. As 10:00
a.m. was the official meeting time, we discussed our options. Our
first was to run DNR to town as an alternate. Unfortunately, the DNR
access was closed. Then we thought of running the section along
Highway 52 in Ellijay. We scouted our route and decided to run from
Owl Town Creek to the public park in West Ellijay. At this point the
Cartecay has joined the Ellijay River and has formed the Coosawattee.

At
this level the only eddies were those behind submerged trees. We
decided running that section as a non-GCA trip would be our plan. As
you drive along Highway 52 eastbound, you may recall a small ripple
created by a small rock garden at normal flows. That day, those
ripples were 4 to 5 feet standing waves! As time crept away from
us, Doug decided that he would run shuttle for us.

The
run turned out to be quite interesting. We met other kayakers on the
river and hooked up with them to enjoy the fast moving Cartecay
water. A few hazards can be expected for this type of run. Lots of
debris filled the stream. Strainers were of concern. A good play
spot developed behind a water line that was about 3 feet above the
river level.

All
in all, it was an eventful day on the river at an unusual time. So
if you ever need a high water Cartecay trip, I can personally
recommend this one

by
Stacy Patterson
October 26, 1997


For more information on this river see:
Lower Cartecay Rd – Stegal
Mill

and
Stegall
Mill to DNR