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Stories from the Satilla Basin

8/21/2012 - Jekyll Creek

Paddle #11 - We put the kayaks in at the public boat ramp & paddled up Jekyll Creek.  The marsh was on our left; the Jekyll Wharf, Historic District, & airport were on our right.  Lonny saw a manatee, and there was a pelican & some seagulls at the wharf, but other than that, we didn’t see much wildlife.  We did see quite a few small planes & helicopters from the airport. We paddled under the Ben Fortson Parkway bridge that takes traffic on & off Jekyll.  It was cloudy, cooler than usual, & the current wasn’t strong.  After the historic district section, there wasn’t much to see. We had to be off of our campsite by noon, so we turned around after 50 minutes / a little over 2 miles.  We paddled 4.46 miles / 1 hour 35 minutes. 

Lonny & Rhonda Martin


8/20/2012 - Saint Simon's Sound

Paddle #10 - We saw dolphins off of the fishing pier on Jekyll & paddled out to watch them.  There were at least 10, & we watched them for several minutes. We could see Saint Simon’s Island just across the sound, & the water was calm, so we paddled towards the light house. We saw a sea turtle! The water was calm until a container ship & a large shrimp boat came close. It was a little choppier but still easy enough to paddle. Our GPS said 1.8 miles/38 minutes when we got as close as we could to the St. Simons lighthouse & shore.  The shoreline was rocky & the water was crashing against the rocks.  We couldn’t see any place close by to dock the boats, so we turned around & headed back towards Jekyll.  The water was as rough going back as it was calm going.  We got caught in a tidal bore.  I got scared.  I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere.  The Jekyll shore didn’t seem to be getting any closer.  There were swells & white caps.  I turned around to look for Lonny & couldn’t even see him.  When I FINALLY made it to a shore, it took him 12 more minutes to get there.  We had tried to paddle towards the fishing pier & ended up on a shore about .2 mile farther away.  We just couldn’t get there. We paddled along the shore line to get back to the fishing pier. In that stretch of beach, we saw almost every kind of shore bird...HUNDREDS of seagulls, herons, egrets, & sandpipers (I think).  The neatest thing we saw was 6 roseate spoonbills perched in a tree. It was starting to rain (again) or we would have parked the boats to watch the birds. Our GPS said 4.15 miles / 1 hour 37 minutes when we got back to the pier.  We pulled the boats to shore, & it started to POUR....just like while we were ON the Suwannee. We seem to be hitting LOTS of rain on this camping/paddling trip.

Lonny & Rhonda Martin  


8/20/2012 - Clam Creek on Jekyll Island

Paddle #9 - We started paddling a little before high tide, & the tide was going with us.  The creek was really up & wide at the beginning.  We were surrounded by marsh.  We saw fish jumping, herons, egrets, barn swallows, and SWARMS of dragonflies. The creek really snaked around, & the farther back we got, the narrower.  It was barely wide enough to paddle.  We paddled through some of the grasses when the turn was too sharp & the path too narrow.  There were THOUSANDS of snails all over the grass as we got farther back in the marsh & midges (little bitty clear looking bugs) got all over us when we hit the grass.  At about 1.9 miles, the creek got too narrow, & we had to back up to turn around. It was a 3.79 mile/1 hour 40 minute paddle. The tide had just stopped coming in when we got finished.  LOVED the birds, HATED the little bugs.   

Lonny & Rhonda Martin


8/19/2012 - Lathem River at Jekyll Island

Paddle #8 - We drove over to the public boat ramp & paddled across the intracoastal waterway/Jekyll Creek to Lathem River.  It was high tide & windy.  The current was a little strong, so we only paddled a little over 1 1/2 miles up.  The farther we went, the stronger the current got.  The marsh was on our left, & we could see Great Egrets standing up in the tall grasses fishing.  The Ben Fortson Parkway was on our right.  It’s easy to get lost in the marsh grasses, so I was glad to have the parkway as a guide.  When we got out of Lathem River, we paddled back Jekyll Creek & into the little waterway behind Summer Waves Water Park.  The clouds were getting darker, & the wind was picking up.  We paddled back to the ramp, & it started raining.  We paddled 4 1/4 miles in just a little under 2 hours.  

Lonny & Rhonda Martin

 

Stories from the Suwannee Basin

11/23/2012 – Suwannee River

I'm claiming another river toward my "12 in 12" challenge, the Suwannee River, which I paddled with two friends on a leisurely trip Nov. 23-25. We went from Griffis Fish Camp, which is just downstream from Stephen C. Foster State Park, down to Fargo. It was the first overnight trip I made in the 10-foot Liquidlogic Tuxedo that I acquired this year. I am attaching a photo in verification.

I'm still chasing my 12, and this makes 8: Oconee, Ocmulgee, Altamaha, North Oconee, Hudson, Broad, and the Chattahoochee.

Roger Nielson


Summer, 2012 - Suwannee River --- 12 RIVERS IN 2012 CHALLENGE FINISHED!!!

Paddle #12 - I paddled the Suwannee in Stephen Foster Park while camping and 'gator watching!

Bobby Marie


8/16/2012 - Okefenokee Swamp

Paddle #7 - We were paddling out of the boat basin about 9:00.  We’d paddled the same section of the Okefenokee Swamp two years ago & were heartsick to see the damage from the fires since we were there last.  We paddled to Billy’s Island but didn’t see much to look at, so we only walked around for a couple of minutes.  We paddled as far as we could go without a permit & then headed back towards the park.  We took the channel that went towards Minnie’s Lake & The Big Water, but after about 3 miles we got to a section that was impassable because of the lily pads etc. We saw quite a few alligators & birds & a few turtles.  We really enjoyed hearing all of the sounds of nature...especially some bullfrogs.  I would have been content just to sit & listen.  We paddled about 8.3 miles in 3 1/2 hours...including our stop at Billy’s Island.  It was a GREAT morning for paddling.  Sunny but not hot & only a few other boats.  

Lonny & Rhonda Martin


8/15/2012 - Suwannee River

Paddle #6 - We had a driver from Suwannee River Outfitters shuttle us & our boats from The Suwannee River Visitor Center in Fargo to The Sill on the Suwannee...not far inside the gates of the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge.  The cypress & tupelo trees were beautiful.  We expected to see a lot of alligators but only saw one.  We saw a lot of herons but not much other wildlife....not even ONE turtle. :(  The river took a few 90 degree turns, & at times we weren’t sure which way to go between the cypress trees.  We had to watch the river flow closely to see which way to go. A few times, we really had to duck down in the kayaks to float under tree branches.  We saw one huge hornets nest & a few wasp nests under construction.  We hit one small section of rain & thought the worst was over, but later we got caught in a DOWNPOUR!   It’s a good thing we had sit on tops, or we would have been doing some big time bailing.  We thought it was a 21 mile paddle, but it was only a little over 17, & we were glad.  It had just stopped raining when we got to visitor center where the truck was.  It was a nice paddle, but I was disappointed in not seeing more wildlife & not hearing more nature sounds.  We got out of the river just in time.  Just after we got back to our camper at Stephen Foster, there was a HEAVY rainstorm with thunder & lightning.  

Lonny & Rhonda Martin

  

 

Stories from the Oconee Basin

4/20/2012 - Tri-River Paddle: Oconee, Ocmugee, Altamaha  

This was a “three rivers” paddle with the GA Conservancy.  We camped overnight then paddled the Ocmulgee the next day to where it meets the Oconee to form the Altamaha.  There is something very inviting about paddling at the actual spot where a great river originates!  Most folks paddled through the confluence—which looks very much like a highway intersection, with three clearly delineated paths—and straight onto the Altamaha. But we wanted to have a true “three rivers” experience.  So off we went, upstream on the Oconee.  It was only half a mile or so, but since we spent a week on the Oconee last year on Paddle GA, we figured our old friend wouldn’t mind a brief visit. 

Suzi Parron


Mary Siceloff & Liz Williams' Paddle # 10...

https://12georgiarivers.com/2012/12/01/12-in-12-rivers-10-and-11-the-oconee-and-altamaha/ 


3/20/2012 - Oconee River

Paddle #4 - My fourth river to the Paddle 12 Rivers in 2012 challenge... this time in a new-to-me LiquidLogic Tuxedo -- I now have my own kayak! My maiden voyage in it, to celebrate the first day of spring, was March 20 on the North Oconee River. It was just a short jaunt, putting in at the College Avenue Bridge and paddling upstream to the Athens water intake dam and floating back. However, I plan to return to the North Oconee frequently -- I'm told that the section downstream from College Avenue to O'Malley's is even more scenic.

I'm attaching a photo showing the Tux the first time I got it wet, a picture of the intake dam and a photo of the smokestack or tower at the solid waste department that's visible as you head downstream approaching College Avenue.

Roger Nielsen


1/30/2012 – Oconee, Ocmulgee, and Altamaha Rivers

Here are some photos (see photos on Altamaha page) and a really short narrative for the first three of 12 rivers I paddled this year for the GRN Paddle 12 Rivers in 2012.

Our group of four kayakers, the Oconee Oarsome Expedition of 2012, paddled the lower Oconee, the lower Ocmulgee and the upper Altamaha on January 13-16, 2012. Joining me were Steve Craven, Brown Widener and Gary Crider, who also enrolled in the 12 in 12 challenge.

We put in January 13 on the Oconee at the U.S. 280 bridge just west of Mount Vernon, spent two nights camping on sandbars on the Oconee, then paddled to the confluence of the Oconee and Ocmulgee. We paddled up the Ocmulgee to camp on a sandbar, then returned to the Forks and headed east on the Altamaha two miles to the take-out where U.S. 221 crosses the river at Terry Landing.

Weather was clear but cold. Water levels were low. So, sandbars lined the outside of nearly every bend. Firewood was abundant on the bars, so we stayed pretty warm. We saw and heard many bird species (kingfishers and great blue herons were common), heard beavers and saw their tracks, and saw lots of other wildlife sign. The Oconee has only one highway bridge between U.S. 280 and the Forks. Traffic noise was light. So, we really felt like we were in the backwoods.

Roger Nielsen


1/29/2012 - Oconee River

"The Smith-Elliott Family starts our 12 in 2012 with the North Oconee and the Oconee."

Stacy Smith - commented on Facebook's 12 in 12 event page



 

Stories from the Tallapoosa Basin

10/23/12 - Tallapoosa River

Glen Smith and I thought it would be fun to find a river that neither of us had paddled so that we could share in the discovery. We decided on the Tallapoosa, made arrangements with an outfitter for a shuttle, and set out on a dreary Saturday. This is a pretty little river, and it was such a treat to have it all to ourselves! The water was a bit shallow, but for the most part we were able to find enough water to stay afloat. It was tricky, and we did walk two or three times, but we were too busy enjoying traveling unknown waters for that to make much of a difference. The slow paddle allowed us to enjoy the surroundings--yellow and red wildflowers, stalks of purple berries, and incredible gray rock formations. About midway, it started to drizzle; our hair and clothing were dampened, but our spirits weren't. The secluded surroundings provided just the getaway we needed .

- Suzi Parron


 

 

 

Stories from the Ocmulgee Basin

4/20/2012 - Tri-River Paddle: Oconee, Ocmulgee, Altamaha

This was a “three rivers” paddle with the GA Conservancy.  We camped overnight then paddled the Ocmulgee the next day to where it meets the Oconee to form the Altamaha.  There is something very inviting about paddling at the actual spot where a great river originates!  Most folks paddled through the confluence—which looks very much like a highway intersection, with three clearly delineated paths—and straight onto the Altamaha. But we wanted to have a true “three rivers” experience.  So off we went, upstream on the Oconee.  It was only half a mile or so, but since we spent a week on the Oconee last year on Paddle GA, we figured our old friend wouldn’t mind a brief visit. 

Suzi Parron


4/13/2012 - 4/15/2012 -- Alcovy River 



Two compatriots and I decided to paddle the Alcovy River from I-20 to Lake Jackson. Our planner, Richard, decided it would take 3 days to paddle this 28 miles. Brandon and I scoffed, "we paddled more than this every day of our previous 5 day trip.  We'll finish the first day!" Alas, 'twas not to be.

We put in under I-20 just east of Covington (don't look for the put-in, you won't find one ;-). Brandon and I dropped off with the boats then Richard drove to the Wal-Mart to leave the truck and walk back. While he was gone we prepared gear for the trip. Apparently many people lose dunnage along the interstate because Richard returned with an armload of straps and bungy cords.

We started paddling at 9:15. Shortly we ran into a river-wide deadfall. We're experienced paddlers and have paddled together several times so we crossed without any problem. Then another deadfall, then another. We crossed under, over, or around all without problem. Then we paddled into a cul-de-sac. Yes, a cul-de-sac on the river. None of us had ever seen such. After much discussion we got out of our boats and searched the swamp for the river. We took GPS to help find the river so we have a track of our search (see wheres-the-river.jpg ). Eventually we discovered that the feeder stream above on river left wasn't a feeder but was, in fact, our river, the Alcovy.

We hadn't paddled a mile before we again ran out of river. This time we didn't take the GPS while hiking, and never did figure out how they joined but we did find the river about 1/4 mile away through the woods. We walked our boats through the woods (see crossing-the-woods.jpg) and were on our way again. There was much more river-wide deadfall that day but we had a great time. We paddled a total of 4.3 miles that first day and started worrying that we might not make Lake Jackson in 3 days.

There was some deadfall on the second day but not nearly as much. We made 10.2 miles and felt much better. The third day we paddled more than walked but did have to rope our boats down the largest drop at Factory Shoals because the water was too low to paddle. We also had to walk some in the top of Lake Jackson due to the low water, but we paddled up to Martin's Marina at 6:00 p.m. on the third day, just in time to have a beer and a wonderful dinner before heading home.

All-in-all I had a great time on this trip and I think Brandon and Richard did too. I would not recommend the upper sections to inexperienced paddlers or to anyone who was uncomfortable with whatever-the-river holds, adventure paddling but would recommend the middle section. 

Glen Smith


Mary Siceloff & LIz Williams' Paddle # 9...

https://12georgiarivers.com/2012/11/23/12-in-12-river-9-the-ocmulgee/ 


Mary Siceloff & LIz Williams' Paddle # 8...

https://12georgiarivers.com/2012/11/23/12-in-12-rivers-8-the-little-ocmulgee/ 


November 4, 2012 - COMPLETION OF 12 IN 2012 CHALLENGE!!!

I finished my 12 rivers in 2012! Here they are:

1. Oconee March 6
2. Broad march 15
3. Etowah April 21, Aug 18
4. Notelly May 27
5. Chattahoochee June 9
6. Oostanaula Aug 11
7. Coosa Aug 18
8. Conasauga Sept 2
9. Chestatee Sept 8
10. Yellow Sept 15
11. Soque Sept 29
12. Ocmulgee Nov 4

It was fun and I'm glad to be done. Paddling the 12 was a great opportunity to experience some rivers that I had never been on before. I had hoped to get further south in Georgia to paddle some of the more southern rivers (Flint, Altamaha, Savannah, Ochlockonee), but I guess I'll have to try to hit those another time.
Now I'm going to start mountain biking again...

Patrick Phelps


Summer, 2012 - South River

Paddle # 11 - I and a small group of paddlers have spent several afternoons on the South River in Dekalb County paddling when we can and wading when we have to to clean the river. On ONE day we documented about 1000 tires in a three mile stretch as well as picked up nearly 500 golf balls from the creek! It is too bad that residents have used the creek as a tire dump for so very long. We are slowly cleaning short stretches and so far have taken 500 tires from 3 sections along the river.

- Bobby Marie

*** Thanks for your dedication and hard work on this one, Bobby!! - GRN crew


2/26/2012 – Ocmulgee River

Our 12 in 2012 River challenge has begun. For the past two weekends we have been paddling on the Ocmulgee River. I am uploading some of the photos from those trips on the website now. Check them out at https://tourforacurephotography.smugmug.com/Other/12-Rivers-in-2012/21354614_J3WF2f 

*** 10% of all proceeds from purchases from this gallery goes to Georgia River Network
Rena Johnson, Tour for A Cure Photography


1/30/2012 – Oconee, Ocmulgee, and Altamaha Rivers 

Here are some photos (see photos on Altamaha page) and a really short narrative for the first three of 12 rivers I paddled this year for the GRN Paddle 12 Rivers in 2012.

Our group of four kayakers, the Oconee Oarsome Expedition of 2012, paddled the lower Oconee, the lower Ocmulgee and the upper Altamaha on January 13-16, 2012. Joining me were Steve Craven, Brown Widener and Gary Crider, who also enrolled in the 12 in 12 challenge.

We put in January 13 on the Oconee at the U.S. 280 bridge just west of Mount Vernon, spent two nights camping on sandbars on the Oconee, then paddled to the confluence of the Oconee and Ocmulgee. We paddled up the Ocmulgee to camp on a sandbar, then returned to the Forks and headed east on the Altamaha two miles to the take-out where U.S. 221 crosses the river at Terry Landing.

Weather was clear but cold. Water levels were low. So, sandbars lined the outside of nearly every bend. Firewood was abundant on the bars, so we stayed pretty warm. We saw and heard many bird species (kingfishers and great blue herons were common), heard beavers and saw their tracks, and saw lots of other wildlife sign. The Oconee has only one highway bridge between U.S. 280 and the Forks. Traffic noise was light. So, we really felt like we were in the backwoods.

Roger Nielsen