With four inches of rain dumping on North Georgia this week, Georgia Canoe Association members who volunteer as Paddle Georgia safety boaters organized a scouting trip of the Upper Coosawattee and Day 1 of Paddle Georgia 2009–13 miles of fun whitewater punctuated by playful Class I & II rapids.
The rain swelled the river to 1.6 feet, nearly twice the level that Doc Stephens and I paddled this section back in October. The extra foot of water made for a lot more fun on this shoal-strewn section of river. Without question, this will be the first true “whitewater run” that Paddle Georgia has ever tackled. Rather than rapids interupted by long stretches of flatwater that we found on the Chattahoochee, Etowah, Ocmulgee and Flint, the Coosawattee offers up some quarter mile sections of continuous swiftwater; series of pools and ledges and some rather technical paddling sure to challenge less-experienced paddlers.
Working with Vincent Payne, Jamie Higgins and others from the Georgia Canoe Association (www.georgiacanoe.org), we’ll come up with a game plan for getting everyone down this thrilling run safely.
This will be the only day of whitewater on the PG 2009 itinerary, however. Day 1 will be followed by a day of lake paddling on Carters Lake, followed by gentle paddling on the Lower Coosawattee and Oostanaula rivers where only small shoals interupt long stretches of flatwater.
The Upper Coosawattee starts out slowly, but as it winds its way through the Coosawattee River Resort it flows over a series of ledges and reaches a crescendo as it approaches Mountaintown Creek where you must navigate nearly a half mile of almost continuous swiftwater, including at least two Class II shoals.
We’ve mapped these shoals on our topos and logged them in our GPSs and hopefully, our Day 1 map will reflect these details. With another run of the Upper Coosawattee under our belts, we are inching closer to having the entire PG 2009 route scouted. By year’s end, we’ll have paddled all seven days of the trip.
In other news, we continue to work with the Coosawattee Watershed Alliance and the Gilmer County Chamber of Commerce on plans for our stay in Ellijay. Look for some neat surprises from Georgia’s Apple Capital. You can learn more about Ellijay and Gilmer County by visiting www.gilmerchamber.com You can learn more about the Coosawattee Watershed Alliance, the local organization working to protect Gilmer County’s rivers and streams, by visiting www.coosawatteewatershedalliance.org.