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.

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This is the wrong video, but it is the right river section.

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 OC1 while Jerard and Jacob gave the OC2 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 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