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 .
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!
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 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!