This
was supposed to be a canoe camping trip but the camping part got
cancelled due to iffy weather. I think interest in alternate day
paddle trips wained also due to the weather conditions and distance
to southeast Ga. The weather predictions were nice for Friday. Thanks
to relatives Jill and Harry helping me with a shuttle I was able to
get one paddle day in anyway. Due to the time spent on trip
preparation, love for the Ohoopee and limited club knowledge I
decided to write up and share this trip information. Hopefully this
information may be useful if someone wants to paddle it in the
future. I have canoe camped and paddled the Ohoopee before several
times before but always sections below US280. I stopped to check out
several river access points on on my drive down on Wednesday. This
info is included below also. I took several pictures and included the
link to the Flickr as well. There are descriptions on most of the
pictures. Photos

Trip Specifics:
Put in at US1, took out at
Ga152.

River level was 9.6 on Swainsboro gage.

Put in
time at 09:30 a.m.
Crossed Griffin Ferry Rd. bridge at 01:15 p.m.
I think this is about 1/2 way distance wise. Made it to take out at
04:15 p.m. Pretty much non-stop paddling due to length of trip, my
first time down this section and by myself.

Shuttle distance
from US1 to Ga152 was 11.1 mi. River trip distance estimated at 12+
miles as the crow flies but it felt more like 24 as the river
runs.The current seemed to get better below Griffin Ferry.I passed 2
fisherman in a john boat about 1 mile below Griffin Ferry otherwise
these were the only people I saw from put in to take out.

Trip
Comments:
I went over, around or through at least 10
strainers/deadfalls . I was able to make it past most of them without
getting out of my boat. I used a pair of anvil lopers to cut small
limbs out of the way on some of these when I could. There were 4
instances I had to portage over large trees totally blocking the
river right at water level. I was able to get out of my boat and drag
over 3 of these. I had to step out on the bank to drag over the other
one. There were other submerged logs I slid over that could be an
issue with lower water level. None of the strainer/deadfalls were a
big issue since the current was slow and my boat was not loaded with
camping gear. The situation would have been different with a loaded
boat. I think the high water in the spring of this year and ongoing
pine beetle infestation as added to strainer deadfall problem.
Several of the deadfalls were pines. Some oaks and cypress were just
washed in as the bank was washed away beneath them.

Small
sandbars began appearing about 2 miles after the put in. They became
larger and more numerous as the trip progressed, especially as I got
closer to Griffin Ferry Rd. and below.

There were numerous
stilt houses along the river. Most of them were usually on the bluff
side of the river. Often they would be on the opposite side of the
river from a sandbars. A lot of the stilt fishing shacks looked
unmaintained and/or unoccupied.

I did not see a lot of posted
signs along the river; therefore, I assume river camping is
acceptable in areas where it is not posted. There were several nice
sandbars that were not close to or opposite stilt houses. These would
be preferable camp sites to minimize the interaction with local
residents.

Bugs/misquotes were not a big problem, especially
when I was in my boat on the water. The time of day probably helped
also. I did not have to use any insect repellent.

I saw quiet
a few ducks, one great egret, a couple of great blue herons and one
large alligator. I saw signs of other alligators but they had slipped
in the water before I got to them. There was also the usual turtles,
kingfishers, flycatchers, buzzards,
hawks
and other bird life. I was treated at the take out to the calls of a
couple of horned owls whooping it up in the distance.

All in
all this is a beautiful river to me, even given the issue with
strainers. It is a wonderful contrast of black water, white sand,
green trees and today blue sky. Life is good as they say.

River
Access Notes:
Access at US1 is on river right east side of US1
just at the end of the bridge. It is good but fairly steep ramp to
road. Some potholes exist at end of the short paved ramp to
US1.

Access at Ga 152 (point B in Southern Ga. Canoeing Guide)
is real good, paved road ramp, river left on north side of Ga152 at
end of bridge.

Access (point C) at Ga 292 is real good, paved
road ramps, river right and left on south side of Ga292 at each end
of bridge.

Access (point E) at US280 is river right on south
side of US280 appx. 1000 ft. from end of bridge. Access here is
questionable. There are large mud holes that may be a problem just
off the roadway. I did not try to drive through them with my 2WD
pickup. If you can get through the mud holes it is good but otherwise
you have a long carry down to the river.

Access (point F) at
boat ramp at end of James B. Toler Rd. is very good. James B Toler
Rd. is on the south side of US280 bridge app.. 1 mile east of the
bridge . It is a good dirt road down to boat ramp.

Access
(point G) at Ga56 is good, river left, south side of Ga56 at end of
bridge.

Access (point I) at Ga 147 is real good, river right,
east side of Ga147, paved road ramp and paved boat landing.

Access
(point J) at CR191 is good, look for dirt road between 2 fields off
of Ga178 app. 5 miles south of where Ga 178 runs in to Ga147. It will
be on your left when going south. This appears to be all Ga. State
prison property but I did not see any no trespassing signs. The dirt
road runs all the way down to the river.

Access at Tattnall
County Landing at confluence of Ohoopee and Altamaha is good but
floods out when Altamaha river is high. There is a dirt road off of
paved road goes down to river. It was flooded out this spring when I
visited it and it was flooded out this time due to the rains the week
before in north Ga. If the Baxley gage for the Altamaha is 10 ft. or
above the Tattnall County Landing is about 2 ft under water.

By
Dickie Tillman
October 2009

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