Another
excellent day on the river. We met at the boat ramp below the Lake
Allatoona Dam. We began to set our shuttle at 10 am as everyone
seemed anxious to get on the water. We only shuttled four trucks
because we were exiting the river on private property and did not
want to over whelm that parking lot and wear out our welcome. The
fellow at the park (put-in) asked us to park our remaining vehicles
in a far parking lot which we did.

We
all did the safety dance. Not really. I just gave the GCA safety
reminder speech. Lamar Phillips generously volunteered to paddle
sweep and I led the flotilla. The beginning of this section has very
little current but the water is very pretty being almost clear. We
passed under several high way and train trestles and by one set of
bridge pilings that date to the civil war, known to real southerners
as the War of Northern Aggression. Three miles from the boat ramp is
a low head dam which requires a portage. There is no real way to put
a positive spin on a portage. I can report that everyone worked
together admirably to get all the boats and all the people through
the kudzu and back onto the river. The dam is pretty spectacular as
the water cascades down the 12 foot high backside in a big white
sheet then drops over a second ledge for a foot or two. But low head
dams are drowning machines and very dangerous so we kept our
distance. Everyone caught their breath from the portage and we
launched all the boats once more this time with Jamie Higgins in the
lead. Cynthia, Lamar, Jane, Teirnan, and I ran a sweep-a thon.

The
paddlers stopped for lunch at the Etowah Indian Mounds. Several
people wandered over to hike up to the mounds, the most ambitious
climbed the stairs to the top. There are over one hundred and fifty
thousand steps to get to the top. I didn’t actually go myself and
count each step but from where I was sitting on that big porch swing
besides the river I’m pretty confident in that count. After lunch
several people swam in the river. Then we jumped in the boats for the
last leg of the trip. Glen took over Jerard’s solo canoe while Jerard and
Jacob gave the tandem a spin. Lamar paddled off with my wife in my big
red canoe. I tried my best to keep up in Lamar’s borrowed Old Town
Pack canoe. Lamar finally took pity on me and gave a double bladed
paddle but still paddled away with my wife and my canoe.

About
a half mile from the take out the group stopped for another swim. By
the time the sweep boats arrived however everyone else was getting
back in their boats for the last hooray. We pulled all the boats and
the people out of the water and up onto the bank.

We
had only the four shuttle vehicles because we did not want to crowd
the area at the take out with too many cars. The idea was to get some of the
boats and people back to the put in at Allatoona Dam then bring back
cars to pick up the rest of the group. What happened is we loaded as
many boats as possible onto the four trucks. Soon we realized that we
had loaded all 22 boats, more that five per vehicle. Then we loaded
in the people and got all but two people into the cabs. Well we
refused to leave those two behind so we put those two brave souls in
the back of the trucks with the boats. They missed out on the aroma
of wet polypro in a confined space. In my truck alone we had seven
boats in the back and nine passengers in the cab. Yes we were snug.
Not impressed yet? Just remember in these tight quarters we also had
paddles, PFDs, coolers and all other manner of equipment required for
25 paddlers.

We
quickly checked the area for overlooked gear and trash, then headed
back. Once at the dam we transferred boats and people to their
rightful vehicles. I was able to reclaim my red canoe and my wife.
Then with hugs and handshakes we all departed for home. It was
another excellent day on the river. Thanks to everyone for making our
flotilla go so smoothly and for being patient during a remarkable
shuttle. I feel just a little bit closer to all of you, literally,
closer.

Our
band of intrepid adventurers included:

Solo
Canoers:

Lamar
Phillips, Jerard Aberson, Karen Saunders , Buddy Goolsby


Kayakers

Bill
Scott, Kelly Harbec, John Sampson, Jane Kelly, Tiernan Van Dyke,
Stephen Woolfitt, Jamie Higgins, Karla Vinnacombe, Sunny Waller,
Maria Goys, Donna Hoffman, Pat Martin, Trisha Esposito, Don Parker,
Jan Saul


Tandem
Canoers:

Glen
Nedza & Jacob Nedza

Larry
Gregory & Tim Gregory

Vincent
Payne & Cynthia Payne

by
Vincent Payne

From
The Eddy Line, November 2006