Like I say, the past two days have been a whirlwind. Forgive your dear blogger, but let’s play a little catch-up!
Thursday morning found our paddlers putting their boats into the main stem of the Savannah River just below Clarks Hill Dam. At somewhere near 200 feet tall, the dam is a marvel of river engineering. Not only that, but the water coming out of it (from the bottom of the reservoir) is frigid.
The Savannah is a big river, and it was a big change from the Broad. We didn’t head far downstream from our put-in before we reached the slack water backed up behind the low-head electric power dam where Stevens Creek enters the river from the South Carolina side.
Our paddlers sweated through the portage of the Stevens Creek Dam, and then paddled just a mile more downriver to reach another low-head dam at the head of the Augusta Canal (which was built in the mid-19th century).
Then the real fun began. At the Savannah Rapids Pavilion, a new Columbia County facility overlooking the dam and the river, Paddle Georgia and the Georgia Water Coalition, with other environmental and conservation groups, hosted a gubernatorial candidate forum on water issues and the environment. Instead of having supper back at camp, our paddlers dined at the pavilion and then stayed for the candidate forum. The best part? All the PG folks were wearing buttons that say “I Float & I Vote.” It was rad.
Today, Friday, has been a hot one, but the water is still really, really cold. The mist over the river this morning was beautiful. Unfortunately we had to put in on the Augusta Canal itself, paddle a short way (or carry), and then go up and over a footbridge and levee, and down some steps into the river.
The Savannah River here is stunning. It widens out into huge, wide shoals as it spills across the Fall Line. We had a lively day for most of the paddle, and finished up on flat water in downtown Augusta, where the river is backed up a bit by the New Savannah Bluffs Lock and Dam that’s several miles downstream.
And after all that time in the woods and hills of the Broad River country, we found ourselves smack in the middle of a big city. (Hearing ambulance sirens from the river was the first clue!) We reached our destination at the Savannah Riverkeeper’s office along the riverfront just downstream from downtown, and as I type we’re getting ready for the River’s End Celebration and supper.
Photos to come: I promise! But know for now that we’ve reached the end of our journey. Go paddlers!