This canoe and
kayak trip was the fourth in a series that began in 1996 on the
rivers and creeks of northwest Georgia. I had previously led trips
on Big Cedar Creek, West Chickamauga Creek and the Chattooga River of
Chattooga County. I believe that these have been the only club trips
north of 1-20 and west of 1-75 since I joined the club in 1991.

The
apparent lack of interest in this area may be due to the scarcity of
white water. With a few exceptions, the creeks and rivers in this
region are either smooth water or class I. Most paddlers simply seem
to prefer white water. Or the problem may be a shortage of qualified
trip leaders familiar with this section of the state. In my short
career as a trip leader, I haven’t done much to eliminate this
perception. On my first trip, I got lost on the
shuttle.

The
first problem I encountered on this trip occurred during the planning
stage. Aware that part of the upper section of Armuchee Creek is off
limits due to a recent Supreme Court ruling, I tried to telephone
club member Benny Young (who is intimately familiar with this court
case) to find out just where we could canoe on the upper section.
Unfortunately, Benny was out of town on an extended vacation.

By
default, I chose to paddle a twelve mile stretch of the creek
extending from Hwy. 27 (near its intersection with Hwy. 156) to Old
Dalton Road. Being just a few miles from my house, I am very
familiar with this section and have always known it as a safe, easy
float with good access.

But
it was not to be on this day. Highway construction rendered the put
in a muddy mess. Then, less than an hour after embarking, we were
confronted by a stretch of creek that was in the field of fire for a
well attended turkey shoot. After admiring our paddling attire, the
camouflage clad mountain men graciously agreed to cease firing for
ten minutes to allow our safe passage. We then made our way
downstream hugging the left bank and keeping our heads low. Possibly
this was the first GCA trip to endure live fire.

After
these obstacles, we settled in for what proved to be a nice trip on
this class I creek. We enjoyed quite a display of wildlife (turkeys,
beaver and an Alfred Hitchcock size flock of starlings), some
interesting rock formations, and the remnants of the fall foliage.

Joining
me (OC-1) on a cold, cloudy afternoon were Marion “Tippy Canoe”
Webb (OC-1) and Sheila (No Passage is to Narrow for My Boat) Small
(OC-1) who proved to be good paddling companions.

by
Dan Roper
November 15, 1997