This section of Mountaintown Creek is not mentioned in the guide books. Saturday, March 7th. Dave Chaney (Kayak) was a wonderful leader in showing 3 newcomers down Mountaintown Creek (class I-II), in Gilmer County. The newcomers to the creek were Kay Hess (solo canoe), Tony Colquitt (Kayak), and me (solo canoe), although Tony had previously done the last section of our trip.
We put in the river at the GA 52 bridge with a light rain, which ended by 1:00. Within the first few feet we encountered a narrow, technical, rock strewn section which got our adrenaline pumping. After paddling just a VERY short way we had to scout our first dead fall.The creek has many of these, so let a paddler with experience on Mountaintown Creek take you down the first time. We were just able to get our boats over the dead fall. I wish I knew what the level was. Any less water and we would have had to get out of our canoes to make it over the dead fall.
As we paddled, we had to be very observant because just below the surface loomed many unforeseen hazards like rocks and tree limbs. The creek gradually increased in width, but not much. Houses were few and the ones encountered were very tastefully blended into the setting.As we proceeded down the creek we encountered 4 to5 more dead falls. One we HAD to portage. With Dave’s help the steep banks were no obstacle.
Another dead fall which gave us some problems appeared to be clear across the creek at the top of one of the toughest rapids. Dave went down to scout it and instructed us to run it far, far river left, actually skirting the bank’s tree limbs. As we sat below this rapid we all commented how all its play spots were now covered by the pine’s branches,and all the fun ways to run it were now obstructed by the pine tree. This massive tree had only left room enough for a canoe to pass by what once had been it’s top.
Another dead fall was encountered which seemed to pose some problems. Dave’s scouting again solved the problem. The dead fall had fallen so there was just enough room to get under it at it’s base, but a large rock loomed only a few feet past the low tree. We could see that the horizon line was visible about 40 feet past the downed tree. Upset here and you’re not sure what you’re getting into. Dave positioned his kayak right below the opening under the tree and helped push us away from the large rock just a few feet away. We all made it under the tree unscathed, but a couple of rock laden small drops lay beyond. We finally got off the creek about 4:00 at the Rt. 282bridge.
What a wonderful trip! It’s too bad the creek has so-o-o-o many dead falls and it can only be run after a good rain. If you care to try this section of Mountaintown Creek, make sure you go with someone who knows the creek. It may only be a class I-II run, but the hazards make it a class III, and you need to have practiced your safety skills. Danger can loom around every bend. Thanks again Dave, Kay and Tony for a MOST enjoyable trip.
by Cathee Gallant
From The Eddy Line, April 1990