Spring arrived March 21 and with it warmer weather for paddling. Today, we scouted another stretch of Paddle Georgia 2009, Day 5–a paddle soon-to-be known as the Mussel Minuet. Alas, the river was running full and fast and the sand and gravel bars where mussels are to be found were under several feet of water. But, the more cuddly mammals were out in full force. Among the sightings were…one otter, one muskrat, one loner beaver, a family of four beavers emerging from their river bank den and one groundhog.
As a mussel advocate (that would be someone who extols the virtues of the 27 mussel species in the Upper Coosa River Basin) and using the mussel as the Coosa River Basin Initiative’s “mascot” (we call ourselves “Musselheads”), I’m often asked why CRBI does not choose a more appealing “mascot”–a fish, at least…perhaps an otter, even a heron or kingfisher would do. But a slimy, shelled invertebrate that’s rarely seen alive by anyone but the biologists that study these creatures? Surely, there’s a better face for this basin?
My answer is this: if I could be another animal, I would be a mussel. Keep your soaring hawks, your lighting fast cheetahs, your swift swimming dolphins; if I could come back to this world as another creature it would be the mussel.
A mussel is in no particular hurry to get anything done. It sits all day long with its feet buried in the sand, soaking in the cool water, sipping its favorite cocktail. For a mussel, life is a beach…and if they are lucky they can outlive many humans.
Yes, the life of a mussel would be a welcome change from the harried life that us bipedals lead.
On this trip, we floated above the mussels, taking note of all the
Oostanaula has to offer. The river alternately winds between stretches of low-lying floodplain occupied by cows, crops and sod farms to steep rock bluffs bristling with spring wildflowers (and occasionally topped by a riverfront home). We covered the 17-miles in a little more than five hours with enough time for a relaxing lunch, water fetch with Ramsey’s dog Dasher and a chilly swim for Jennifer and Ramsey (April and I had the good sense to keep our fannies dry!).
In other news…
The Deserving Design with Vern Yip show will air Saturday April 4 at 4:30 p.m. We’re throwing a little party at Old Havana Cigar Co. in Rome, Georgia to celebrate the debute. In addition to showing my house get “redesigned” the 30-minute HGTV program will also feature Paddle Georgia sailors April Ingle, Tim & James Watson and John Branch. You can join us for the event by RSVPing to email@example.com.
And, if you can’t make it to Rome for that event, join us April 17-18 for CRBI’S WATERFEST IX, our paddlesports and environmental education extravaganza. The event includes a 13-mile paddle on the Oostanaula, Georgia’s only canoe & kayak tug-o-wars, a live snake show, a concert by Andy “Offutt” Irwin and much more. You can learn more and register to participate at www.coosa.org.