So, as part of my duties for the GCA, I’ve been spying on dissident groups within the state, and doing scouting trips into Alabama, to make sure they aren’t planning an invasion (There does seem to be a build up of boats along the border at Columbus, GA, so, just to be safe, let’s take it to Paddle-Con 3.) As far as dissidents, I infiltrated the gang of outlaw paddlers centered around Buford (the so called “BRP”), and traveled to Alabama with them as I was concerned about their growing interactions with out of state paddlers.
We travelled to the Mulberry, which was a new river for me. After looking at the AW site, I was feeling a little dismissive of this river; it seemed to be rated somewhere around the Metro Hooch and Tuckaseegee. After checking with Alabama Whitewater website (which for that state is a much better resource on rivers) it seemed that this river had lots of good play spots. I would personally rate this river at a similar difficulty to the Nanty. The river is fairly broad and non technical. But the rapids were more exciting than I expected, and the river was just ate up with good play spots, both holes and waves. This river was surf city. Although the river is just class II/II+ for a simple run, it has several surf features that go well beyond the “Trained Beginner” level of skill. Many of the play spots would have kept an intermediate or advanced playboater very happy! We made 2 laps, cause you know, you always float by some features your first time on a river. Of course we ended up being cold and tired on the second lap anyway.
This past Summer, I was on the Ocoee, getting ready to go into Witch’s Hole for a surf, and I later complained that there just wasn’t many river with lots of good class II hydraulics to train on. Well, the Mulberry is the cure for that. The Locust Fork and the Mulberry Fork are the same drive as the Cartecay and Upper Hooch for me, and in some ways they are better training rivers. The scenery is nice, the geology is atypical of what you find in GA rivers. The best playwave (5-O) is at the take out, and I imagine it’s a very popular park and play spot. The Birmingham Canoe Club owns the take out (thanks!) and there have been some landowner issues near the take out, so don’t trespass and use the changing rooms at the take out. As usual the locals were very friendly. We got to watch a couple of slalom boats work the river, that was cool.
Thanks to Vander for showing us down!