The
weatherman’s forecasts got less and less optimistic as the date of
the trip approached, although at his worst he was just claiming
morning drizzle, cloudy all day, and highs in the upper 50’s.

I
was told that early Saturday morning had a bit of drizzle in the
Atlanta area, but as that paddler drove towards the river, the
weather got progressively better. It was sunny in Athens, and by the
time we got ready to put boats in the water we were suffering from
bright sun and temperatures that felt above 60.

I
had told some callers that the Broad River is a class I-II river, and
we could expect very comfortable water levels. There was some good
rain Friday, however, for the river was up to five feet when we got
to the put-in, although it dropped a couple of inches by the time we
ran shuttle, etc. But several of us were a bit apprehensive,
probably because as we looked at the section of river below the
Highway 172 bridge, all you could see were three foot or higher
irregular boiling waves, which would have had white caps on the
ocean, but were decorated with seasonal orange and browns of the
raging river. We calmed them with tales of 17 foot canoes doing
cartwheels in the bigger holes at that level, and pointing out that
their boats were much smaller.

No
mishaps on the trip, except for many potential surfing waves missed
because there were no rocks and no eddies on the river. If you did
not catch the wave on your float downstream, there was usually no way
for a canoe to paddle back upstream to try again. Lunch rock was
invisible, and we did not find a place to pull out to eat until the
pipeline cut. The water below the 172 bridge was wonderfully bouncy,
full of medium sized waves and no rocks, much friendlier than it had
looked in the morning. We checked the gauge on the trip home and
found it had dropped to somewhat over 4 feet.

Paddling
kayaks were Bonnie Semora and Will Aubry, the latter doing a great
job of lead and showing the sane way through the impressive looking
(and fun) rooster tail area. Open boaters were Dennis Colditz,
Sheila Small (who did an outstanding job of demonstrating how
slippery the mud at the take-out was), Doug Ackerman, Becky Engel and
trip coordinator (?) Jeff Engel.

by Jeff Engel
November 22,
1997

For more information on this river see:
Broad River