Our last day of Paddle Georgia brought with it a mixed bag of emotions. Folks were excited to have made it this far and accomplished so much, but sad that it would all be over soon. Most folks were well rested given the fact that the Altamaha Regional Park was more than we could have asked for in a campground. Luxurious showers, awesome pavilion and interpretive boardwalk, mary-go-round for the kiddies, and an old timey general store with delectable ice cream.
The expression goes that ”Time and Tide waits for NO man’, and it was paddlers that had to wait to get on the river our last day of Paddle Georgia due to the tides- Needless to say everyone lined up to hit the water given they couldn’t shove off until almost 10 AM…..
The Girl Scouts showed off the big muscles they had developed over the past week and were giddy with excitement!
Project Wet trainer Ruth Mead gave a bonus topography lesson on the boardwalk – which was a big hit!
The 13 mile journey ahead was one of the most captivating of the entire trip with the dramatic change in landscape- from giant cypress draped in Spanish moss to Spartina grass marshes rooted in thick mud which housed, among many other critters, millions of shy fiddler crabs. A labyrinth of Alligator alley’s also carved their way through the mud banks.
Many beautiful flowers were in bloom and snags could be seen as far as the eye could see. Altamaha Waterfowl Area signs could be seen along the riverbank, which was encouraging considering the fact that this seemed to be an ideal habitat for such a wide variety of bird species. We were tickled to spot an Osprey parent feeding its young chicks in its huge nest. Quite a sight to behold!
Tears of joy filled paddler’s eyes and exclamations of ‘hallelujah’ and ‘we made it’ could be seen and heard!
Amazing moments that will be forever remembered and cherished!
A live band and $1 beers were awaiting us on the dock as well as an alligator! I was so excited to finally see one as it was the mascot of Paddle Georgia 2012 and only one person had seen a live gator on the entire trip- and it was a baby.
Paddle Georgia 2012 was a tremendous success and a journey that will stay forever in our hearts. The efforts of all 350 + paddlers has raised the level of awareness of the Altamaha and the resources, recreational opportunities, and beauty it provides to countless communities throughout the state and beyond. Everyone truly carried the spirit of the mighty river with them down our 105 mile journey.
Until next year!
~~~Keep on rollin’ on the river~~~