Lower Oconee Hidden Gem Paddle

MARK YOUR CALENDARS PADDLERS! Join @GeorgiaRiverNetwork for a Hidden Gem Paddle & Campout on September 17th and 18th! Come and explore the Lower Oconee Water Trail with your fellow river lovers, and experience a delicious dinner party with a campout after! This paddle includes meals along the route, live entertainment, games, and presentations about river health, history and more! REGISTER HERE: http://LowerOconee.eventbrite.com

Almost Paradise ~ Hump day all the way!

Endurance is an understatement for those paddlers that braved the 22 miles from Jaycee Landing to Paradise Park and Penholloway Creek today.

There were 4 shuttles, not just one, that left at 7AM for the put-in- as EVERYONE wanted to get an early start for the many miles ahead- and to enjoy the cool morning air.

Dana Schroeder and Heather Wilson of Hike Inn paddled past Rayonier which peeked out behind a large containment wall smoke billowing out and becoming white puffy clouds.  The aroma from Rayonier resembled the strong smell of pepper vinegar sauce used on collard greens. A few miles down we passed an ominous thick pipe from which black stinky water bubbled.

I came across James Holland, former Altamaha Riverkeeper in a motor boat and upon interviewing him- a Mullet jumped out of the water, thumping him on the back and landing in our canoe flipping and flopping around- he scooped it up and said “You wanna know what the fish are trying to tell you? ‘I’m trying to get out of this darn water!'”…. to say the least it was pretty hilarious.

We passed the railroad bridge – still in operation and the sunken steamboat paddle wheeler “Gulfmist” –slowly rotting away on it’s side since the 1950’s- probably the last Paddlewheeler to carry lumber down the Altamaha  to Darien .

Tammy Griffin and Lisa Hascal enjoyed blowing healing bubbles to the Altamaha river spirit, while Keith Hascal displayed a dead crab he found on a sanbar.

Locals fisherman Roy Colvin of Waycross and Ted Alexander of Brantley County expressed their surprise at the seemingly never-ending flow of kayaks and canoes passing them as they reclined in their motor boats. They exclaimed they had never seen anything like it!

Not everyone paddle hard the entire 22 miles! Little Emily Sheffield was lulled to sleep by the lullaby of paddle strokes by her older brother and father.

Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies lapped up the sweet nectar from a Buttonbush’s poofy flowers so intently that they disregarded my camera only a foot away. Another beautiful flower seen at the mouths of a few tributaries was the Yellow Pond Lily also attracting many a hungry bug.

Dobson Fly egg cases could be seen attached to the underside of of leaves dangling over the river- in the perfect position to drop right into the water upon hatching.

Everyone stopped for lunch at sandbars midday, but only a few braved the  odorous water for a cool swim.

But despite the limitations, Paddle Georgia peeps can’t help but to make do, keep positive, and enjoy themselves!

After paddling 21 miles, everyone had to dip into their reserve energy supply and paddle the last mile UPSTREAM!

Elliot Lewis popped out of his cockpit-cubby after a nap to help his mom Lisa paddle. His Gatorade smile was precious!

Everyone did fabulously and toughed it out. The Girls Scouts impressed us all as they sprint paddled in to the take out.

We are SO PROUD!


Welcome to the Paddle Georgia Participant Forum.  Use the forum to find paddle partners for the trip or organize a carpool to the event.  Use the Boat Share page to locate paddle partners and the Ride Share page for carpools.  Click in the Leave A Comment box to make a post.  Make sure you include your name and contact information so others can contact you directly.