Chattahoochee Sautee Creek to Ga. 255

Meeting place, time and date:

Just past Old Sautee Store on Ga. 255, 10:00 a.m., March 13, 2010

Put in:     

River left on Sautee Creek at Lynch Mountain Rd. 

Take out:     

River left downstream side of Ga. 255 bridge

Trip distance:     

Appx. 6.5 miles river miles, 10 shuttle miles

Trip notes and comments (paddlers, good stuff, bad stuff, river level, lunch stop, etc):     

We met on time at the Old Sautee Store which is a Helen Ga. landmark and drove the short distance down the to put in.    I’m guessing we actually put on at approximately 11:00 a.m.  or a little after.    The Chattahoochee was about 1.5 or  260 cfs on the Helen gage.   Paddlers were Pat Banford, Kelly Harbac, Robert Harris, Lee Tillman and Dickie Tillman.    It was a cool mostly cloudy day with a predicted high of about 50.   We got rained on a little during the trip and at one time it we had a rain sleet mix.   Fortunately the rain had stopped and the sun came out by the time we stopped for lunch at about 1:15 p.m.   It was a nice but small sandy beach area on river left which I think is probably a little over half way down the run.   We did not play a lot due to the cool air temps and clouds and cooler water temps.   We had one paddler test the water and reported that it was actually “cold”.    

There is a downed tree on the Chattahoochee that spans the width of the river. It is about 1/4 mile downstream of the Sautee Creek confluence.    There was enough water at today’s level to paddle over the trunk of the tree on river left.     Immediately after the downed tree is a large trash/debris pile that requires a hard right to avoid.  If the gage was about 1 foot I think it would have to be portaged around or boats pulled over.  There was another large trash/debris pile just after our lunch stop.   This also has to be ran on the right side.    

There is a one lane steel bridge about 1 mile after the Chattahoochee is entered.   River left downstream side of this bridge would be an alternate lunch stop if you wanted an earlier break.   Soon after you pass this bridge the river has quite a bit of development/houses on both sides of the river or steep banks that make stopping a problem for a group.   

To summarize this is a nice trained beginner level run with no intimidating rapids.   It has about two or three class 1 rapids and one class 1+ rapid with several other shoals that provide nice surf/play spots along the way.   The banks have lot of rhododendron and mountain laurel that should be beautiful in bloom.   I look forward to going back in warmer weather to enjoy the scenery and play in the rapids.    In warmer weather this would be a beginner level run.