|Report By: || paddlesolo|| Date: 10/9/2010|| |
See 25 photos
|| Map & Directions: View|
|A group of paddlers put in at the Chattahoochee Park and Boat Landing right below Jim Woodruff Dam at the very beginning of the Apalachicola River and paddled 12 miles to Ocheesee Landing, passing Torreya State Park and the Gregory Mansion.|
Paddling the Apalachicola River had intrigued me, but I thought it was beyond my paddling level. This fall the water levels have been at a historical low, and a couple weeks ago two of my paddling friends took me on a short 5 mile paddle, and one of the fellows brought his tandem kayak and offered to paddle with me which made me feel comfortably safe. Using my gps I determined the current averaged between 2-3 miles an hour, and there were very shallow spots along the sandbars. Immediately I started planning a longer paddle.
I had been advised that one should avoid the buoys because the current could sweep one against them and tip a boater. Another experienced paddler told me that the Apalachicola had the fastest current of any river in Florida, and that since the Army Corps of Engineers stopped dredging it is returning to its natural state. Another interesting feature of the river is it has mile markers, just like on the interstate. They start at the town of Apalachicola, so as one paddles downstream the numbers decrease.
Fourteen paddlers from the Florida Panhandle Canoe and Kayak Connection met at the park and boat ramp in Chattahoochee right below Jim Woodruff Dam. This is the spot where the Flint and Chattahoochee meet in Lake Seminole and create the Apalachicola River. The paddle took us past the Port of Sneads, which was built but never used, and the Gulf Power Plant which uses water from the river and discharges it back into the stream. Five miles downstream we paddled past Aspalaga Landing on the east bank of the river.
The group stopped for lunch at a spring run from a Blue Springs. One paddler called it Aspalaga Blue Springs, it definitely is not the Jackson Blue Springs that creates Merrit's Millpond. Two of the guy hiked through the woods and surprised a snake, and then found the spring which had a gator in it. They said it wasn't a clear spring, but rather scummy and cloudy. After that break we paddled and paddled. The river is so large it was almost like paddling on a lake. I only notice how strong the current was if I tried to paddle across the river, or saw the buoys and markers as I passed them.
About a quarter of a mile from Ocheesee Landing we passed the Gregory Mansion on the east bank. It sits high on a bluff. It was moved across the river and up the steep bank during the CCC era. It has been restored and has period furniture and people may tour it when visiting Torreya State Park. The land belonging to Torreya State Park extends downstream and is directly across from Ocheesee Landing. While the only sign of Aspalaga Landing was the boat ramp, there is a house boat community at Ocheesee Landing and it was not difficult to find our take-out.
A wonderful day on a fascinating river and another event crossed off of my paddling "bucket list". The descriptive pictures included with this report were taken by James Parker.
|Location Type: ||River|
|Boat Type: ||Kayak|
|Distance (miles): ||12|
|Fees/Costs $: ||free|
Photos from Apalachicola at Chattahoochee: (Click image to view full size)
Special Interests and Comments:
|Torreya River State Park is on the eastern side of the river, and has very hilly hiking trails that go up and down the ravines that have small creeks that drain into the river. Unique flora and fauna.|
Post Date: 10/13/2010
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