Omussee Creek Report

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Report By:  tom    Date: 3/2/2013 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 4 photos     Map & Directions: View

Thre days of rain boosted rivers throughout the area, and this was an opportunity to see Omussee Creek in fine form. The weather was very cold, but the trip was worth it.

My Report:

The weather was bone-chilling cold when Kerrie suggested we take advantage of the recent rain to go to Omusssee Creek. I'd thought of it myself, but I hesitated because I was worried the creek might be at flood stage. But Kerrie said the creek has a small basin and drains fast even after its many floods.

We met Ronnie Fetzko at McDonalds on North Monroe to discuss directions and combine cars. Heading north, I was still worried about high water. The Ochlockonee River was swollen to flood stage. When we crossed Spring Creek in Georgia, it too was surging out of its banks. As we approached the Chattahoochee River, I peered off the road and saw that the flood-relief channel next to the bridge was, surprisingly, not filled. I took that as a good sign. And when we drove north out of Columbia, we saw that the nearby Hurricane Creek had a powerful flow, but it was within its banks.

We had a setback when we found that the gates to the Omussee Creek park were still locked! Kerrie decided to try instead taking out at the old mobile home park at the Highway 52 bridge. The park now has only a few RVs, and a local resident cheerfully told us it was OK, and pointed us to the old concrete boat ramp on the property. We thanked him and headed for the put-in

Years ago local paddlers painted depth markers on a bridge piling at the put-in, and the creek is usually at 2 feet. On this day it read 3 feet, the water was muddy and fast flowing. We put in at the slippery bank and headed downstream. We only needed minimal paddling to make fast speed.

We could see the recent water had been high and fast. Logs were stuck in high branches above the creek and the banks were dusted with sand washed down from higher locations. There were no wildflowers - the banks had been scoured by the flood waters, leaving the remaining bushes pointing downstream.

We started encountering rippling shoal waters that added a cheerful bouncing to our boats as they went downstream. At the railroad trestle, we were delighted to see the main channel was clear. Below the trestle, Hurricane Creek joined in and made a quarter-mile stretch of lively bouncing water. We saw several indignant kingfishers chattering at us, and heard a large *splash* that could have been a beaver jumping into the water.

On past trips we've had to help some boats across the old timber-frame dam at the derelict grist mill, but on this day they flew across. We approached the old hydroelectric dam, and we were delighted to see the flooding had swept plenty of sand and logs into the old intake channel, almost closing it. Then Kerrie whooped with delight when she saw that, once again, the water was flowing through both channels around the dam! Ronnie and I took our canoes through the left channel that bypasses the dam, and Kerrie took her `yak through the longer, right-hand channel. The canoes bumped once or twice but flowed through OK. Kerrie stayed in the whitewater, enjoying how lively the creeek was after so many low-water years.

The old concrete boat ramp at the trailer park was almost impossible to see from the water, but I had made a note that it was near a stump on the bank, and that helped me find it. Then we took turns struggling up the bank with our boats, getting muddier at the takeout than we had on the whole paddle - especially when I slipped on thick mud and fell. We were glad we'd brought extra clothes. After we were cleaned up and packed up, we headed to town to grab a thank-you gift for the fellow at Site No. 6 who'd invited us to use the takeout. We got chips, drinks, and a pack of cans of cat food for the felines hanging around his RV, which turned out to be a real hit with him.

On the way back we passed a roadside time and temperature sign that showed that the day's midafternoon temperature was 44 degrees. It was a good day to have multiple layers of quick-drying clothes ("and no cotton!").

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Location Data:

Distance (miles): 5
Fees/Costs $: n/a

Photos from Omussee Creek:    (Click image to view full size)

Securing the Gear No Comm
Securing the Gear

Ronnie made sure everything in her Mohawk was secured and stashed away just in case the creek turned out to be tricky.

The spillway is back No Comm
The spillway is back

Photo proof that once again, we had water flowing through the rock channels around the old dam!

Kerrie below the dam No Comm
Kerrie below the dam

Kerrie enjoyed the lively water in the route around the dam. The flat rock of the area makes it easy to walk up to the edge of the channel and take a pic like t

Trestle No Comm

The shoot through the trestle was smooth. We'd worried that fallen logs could have piled up here but, it was all good!

Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsThe USGS river gauges showed 7 feet this day for the Pea River at Ariton, 8 feet at the Choctawhatchee at Newton, Al and 15.5 feet for the Pea River at Elba.

Gasoline in Columbia, AL was about 11 cents cheaper than in Tallahassee!

Post Date: 3/5/2013

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