A
total of 21 canoes and kayak paddlers showed up at the Highway 53 bridge on this
Groundhog Day. The Amicalola was at .6, which is a bit on the low
side. I suggested we just do the run from Devil’s Elbow to the
bridge, due to the low water and the fact that we had two tandem
canoes on the trip. However, a couple of people said they had run the
entire Upper section at .6, and that it wasn’t that bad, and
everybody seemed to want to paddle. So we did the entire run from
Six-mile put-in to the Highway 53 bridge, a total of about nine
miles. Since we had such a large number of boaters, we broke into
two trips. Pat Hagan and Dave Chaney agreed to coordinate the first
group, and they got started while the rest of us waited the requisite
15 minutes past the meeting time for any late-comers.

The
first group consisted of Dave Chaney, Pat Hagan, Chris McElroy, Peter
Chau, Ennis James, Bill Convis, Charles Bruce, Jennifer Bruce, John
Roberts, Ben Whittle and Inge Webb.

The
second group was made up of Becca Brown, John Everly, Jeff Garrow,
Dickie Tillman, Joe Banister, Howard Rogers, Helene Kirk, Don
Clements, Steve Cramer and Brannen Proctor.

Everyone
had good runs, and there were only a couple of minor swims. As we
paddled, we wondered whether or not the groundhog had seen his
shadow, and whether we would have six more weeks of winter. The
temperature during most of the day was around 60, and skies were
partly sunny. All in all, excellent weather for the second day of
February. We decided six more weeks of this wouldn’t be that bad!

The
Amicalola is a beautiful stream. The only house on either the Upper
or Lower Sections is the ranger’s house at the Highway 53 bridge,
which is the dividing point between the Upper and Lower. The only
other sign of civilization is at Devil’s Elbow, where the river makes
an S-turn. A dirt road crosses the Amicalola there, via a steel
bridge. There’s a beach formed from sand deposited by the river.
It’s a favorite hang-out and swimming area of the locals, but on this
cool day it was deserted.

Thanks
to everybody for an enjoyable trip. Special thanks to Dave Chaney
and Pat Hagan for taking half the group, and to Becca Brown for her
help in scouting, particularly at the falls.

by
Brannen Proctor
February 2, 1997.