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Although our arms and shoulders are a bit achy, our skin sun-kissed and crispy, and hands calloused and blistered, paddlers were sad that the last day of our journey on the Chattahoochee River had arrived.fam c

holeThe 15 mile journey today seemed like a breeze after 95 miles of paddling under 6 27 14 muskratour belts over the past 6 days.

Tunnel like tributaries could be seen every so often peeking through the vegetation draped river banks. We caught a muskrat enjoying its breakfast with such intensity that he didn’t even see us sneaking up to him. It’s whiskers and naked tail disappeared without a trace once we were practically upon it. It must have been a delicious meal!jump

The youth group had no trouble sharing their favorite parts of Paddle Georgia ranging from skipping rocks, the thrill of the shoals and rapids, water b (2)to learning how to paddle, seeing owls and other wildlife, and working very hard.waterfall fun

The most beautiful and definitely everyone’s favorite stop of the day was at Hilly Mill Falls, a majestic 40 ft waterfall cascading down into a cool deep swimming hole below.  It was arapidsn amazing and exhilarating feeling to go behind the water fall and look out from under the stream of water at everyone enjoying the pool beyond.

The rapids gave paddlers a thrilling hiatus from the lazy wide rolling river.fish frystand up

As expected, the end of our journey came too soon. To see the emotions pour forth from paddlers as the took their final strokes and drifted into the open arms, high fives, and kisses from loved ones awaiting them brought tears to our eyes.

The bluesy folk sound of the band, Heather Luttrelle and the Possum Den welcomed paddlers to the River’s End Celebration as well as juicy watermelon pfinishrovided by the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and fresh caught fried fish, hush puppies, sweet corn and cole slaw from the Flint Riverkeeper.

This was April Ingle’s last Paddle Georgia as Georgia River Network’s, Executive Director.  kidsJoe Cook gave a sentimental speech explaining their founding of Paddle Georgia together 10 years ago and how April’s unwavering support for going forward with the journey has in turn changed the course of his life and the future of Georgia’s rivers.

We love you April and we will miss you!

Can’t wait for Paddle Georgia 2015 on the Ogeechee River…P1060763

Keep on rollin’ down the river ~

 

 

Gwyneth Moody
Georgia River Network
Community Programs Coordinator

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After the short day on the river yesterday, paddlers were excited to spend a full day today paddling 17 miles on the Chattahoochee through southwest Metro Atlanta and beyond…teachers

The Scholarship Teacher group continued their training with ichthyologist Camm Swift learning how to seine for fish and macro invertebrates. Skills they will take home to their respective schools and teach to their students.

Unfortunately the torrential rains from the previous evening caught some singing bcampers off guard, including the youth group and their tents and contents within were completely soaked. However, you would have never guessed that today – with all of the singing that could be heard down the river.

Dog Creek Reservoir, reached from paddling up a small tributary, was an interesting special tour and a refreshing and relatively cledog aan swimming area for those folks who were wary of taking a dip in the Chattahoochee south of Atlanta.­­

Flowers paiflower bnted the riverbanks  throughout the day’s journey- Swamp Hibiscus, Trumpet Vine, Queen Anne’s Lace – to name a few

Butterflies and dragonflies fluttered from canoe to kayak, looking for a bit of sweet nectar, salts and minerals.

Sheronome lucky paddlers reported seeing beavers and we saw a beautiful Green Heron for the first time obutterflyn the journey.

The sun’s warmth and wide lazy river lulled some to sleep while adrift.

We arrived sooner than anticipated and headed off to our new home at Newnan High school.

Cedar Creek RV & Outdoor Center set up a 17,000 gallon pool on ttug dhe square in downtown Newnan for the famous Canoe Tug-o-War; newnanstreet vendors and non-profits had information booths set up; and a band and DJ entertained the crowd as they boogied down with great enthusiasm.

dancingWhat a fabulous way to end our 5th day on Paddle Georgia!

See y’all tomorrow!

 

keep on rollin’ down the river~

Gwyneth Moody

 

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Although we awoke to cool temperatures and overcast skies it was a nice respite Michelle Nunnfrom the hot steamy weather of the last few days.

Today was a particularly special day on Paddle Georgia as it is the one day that we invite professionals and legislators to join us on the paddle and get a taste for the adventure and all our river restoration and protection programs.S

We were delighted and honored to be joined by Michelle Nunn, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Georgia as well as representatives from watershed coalitions and environmental groups throughout the state.

This was also our ‘Trash Cleanup Day’ led by P1050119Trash Queen Bonny Putney. In the 10.5 mile stretch that we paddled- the shortest day on the water- paddlers collected a whopping 2500 lbs of P1050116trash!

And boy did we find some interesting, hilarious, strange, and scary things. From a larger than life-sized Bart Simpson, a Big Wheel tire, balls of all sports and sizes to crates, tires, old glass bottles and creepy baby dolls. It’s amazing what finds itself in the river.S

P1040056But amongst all the trash, we found wildlife such as an adorable baby soft shell turtle as well as fascinating artifacts such as pottery shards, arrow heads, and milk glass.

The Chattahoochee Riverkeeper team was P1050177instrumental in helping gather the large amount of trash overflowing from paddler’s kayaks and canoes with their snazzy motor boat.

Believe it or not, after 4 full days of paddling there were many pouty paddlers, who upon arriving at the take out wished that the day on the river was not over so soon.

Café Campesino’s delicious Ice Mochas and Fresh Fruit Smoothies awaited the sun-kissed paddlers – the perfect waP1050082y to ease into a lazy afternoon in a hammock with a book at Riverside Landing on the banks of the mighty Hooch.P1050185

Although the rain returned with a vengeance in the late afternoon, this didn’t put a damper on dinner and the informative ‘Politics of Water’ evening program.P1050226

It seems to just keep getting better with each passing day.

So glad to share it with everyone!

Keep on rollin’ on the river,

Gwyneth Moody

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AP1030923fter a taste of the week ahead, day 2 of Paddle Georgia 2014 started out with even more excitement than the first!

We set out for the days’ 15 mile adventure on Jones Bridge Shoals with gP1040058uidance from our savvy safety boaters. The chilly water splashed our faces giving everyone a second burst of energy.

Many paddlers took Joe Cook’s challenge of awarding a prize to whoever collected the most golf balls very seriously and could be seen braving the frigid water to collect their bounty of white gold.

The beautiful sunny hot weather felt amazing, and a cool spray-down from the devilish Paddle Georgia Pirates was a welcome reprieve to some and a jolting shock to others.

Paddlers have great pride in their personal canoes and kayaks and outfit their boats not only with fancy piratesseats and fishing rods, but also mascots of all shapes and sizes.  From Godzilla and King Kong to roses and flamingos, nothing is too geeky or posh for Paddle Georgian’s.P1040006

Although we are paddling through metro Atlanta, abundant wildlife could be seen above and below the  water. Red Shouldered Hawks, Mallard Ducks, Pileated woodpeckers, Spottail shiner, Yellow-Bellied Slifish boyder turtles, Crane Fly larvae,  Muskrat, and River Otter are just a few of the critters paddlers reported seeing along the way.P1040087

One of the awe-inspiring aspects of Paddle Georgia is the number of families that participate year after year and who have made this an essential part of their summer vacation. Georgia River Network’ staff have watched kids grow from boisterous bouncy boys and girls into mature young men and women in the 10 years Paddle Georgia  has been in existence.

The day ended with informative and entertaining presentations by Naturalist Drew Lanhan, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Sally Bethea, and yours truly about Georgia Water Trails.P1040133

Looking forward to another  fabulous day on the Hooch tomorrow!

Keep on rollin’ down the river ~

Gwyneth Moody
Community Programs Coordinator,
Georgia River Network

 

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Submit a Photo for this months PHOTO SHOWCASE and STAFF PICK!

This month’s topic is:

Funniest Paddling Photo

Paddling is so much fun and sometimes you can catch people acting pretty silly… Help others see the funny side of paddling by submitting a photo for our photo showcase and staff pick!

Don’t miss the previous photo showcases and staff pick winners and send your photo entry for August to Gwyneth@garivers.org

Also be sure to check out July’s showcase and winning photo for “Best Paddle Georgia 2013 Photo“:

July Photo showcase

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We could not have asked for a more beautiful day on the river with gorgeous P1010192blue skies, intermittent puffy clouds, and the perfect cool breeze.

Upon arriving at the Put-In, our attention was quickly drawn to a display by the Department of Natural P1010200Resources who were giving awe-inspiring information about the fascinating fishes and mussels that live in the Flint, which they had seined from the river the pP1010266revious evening.P1010406

Adopt A Stream and the Environmental Protection Division have been collecting water quality data at every tributary and spring entering the main channel and are now up to a total of 80 sites sampled! We are so grateful to have such an awesome team  involved with Paddle Georgia and to learn about the water quality of the river in which we swim and fish.P1010496P1010473

We were greeted by staff of the Jones Ecological Research Center along the way. A few staff had just gathered mussels and other organisms from the river bottom and were still in their wetsuits, while others gave educational tours and presentations about the Longleaf pine ecosystem, essential to the survival of many species of wildlife, such as the Gopher tortoise and Red-Cockaded woodpecker.P1010402

The trees on this section were exceptionally large and majestic, towering over you like giant gnomes with pointy hats.P1010410

The morning forays of raccoon, mink and deer were imprinted in the muddy riverbank along with the yummy clams they had pried open for a delicious snack.

After frolicking in the shoals and whirlpools and exploring the many islands formed from the dredging that occurred by the Army P1010234Corp in the early 1800’s to facilitate steamboat passage, we reached the cool, clear, and tannin rich Ichawaynochoway Creek- which almost looked like red tea.

The evening was filled with laughter and cheers of joy as paddlers teamed up to play the game shows ‘Family Feud & Paddle Wet’ Paddle Georgia style.

Excited about boppin’ in blue holes tomorrow!

Keep on rollin’ down the river….

Gwyneth MoodyP1010505

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For all those friends and family who cannot attend Paddle Georgia 2013 but would like to virtually paddle along with us, we have this new and exciting virtual map!

Throughout our journey we will be posting photos with their corresponding GPS locations to this map, so you can enjoy the trip right along with us.
Check it out and share with others!

Image
Click this link:  http://www.garivers.org/paddle_georgia/pgjourney.html#VJ

Keep on rollin’ on the river!

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