Sunday, June 23, 2013

Next Leg on Ocmulgee

We completed the next leg of our Ocmulgee adventures this weekend, the stretch from Juliette Dam to Pope's Ferry (9.8 river miles).  The water was still pretty high from all the recent rain (about 4.5-5 ft at Dames and CFS of around 2500) per my river data app.  The weather was nice, it was warm 85 degrees or so but fairly cloudy, no rain, and not terribly humid.  About 45 minutes into there is an old rusted building on river right that looks like it might have to do with waterworks or something of that sort.  There were a bunch of guys that had climbed up on it and were jumping off.  We watched a few jumping while we made our way by.

Lauren and I shared the new pink sit on top kayak.  Those seats on that boat are great!  They come up higher on your back and you sit on part of it which keeps it still.

There are shoals at the put in right below Juliette Dam and made for a fun minute or so of paddling right when we got in.  Then it calmed down a lot and most of the river was smooth paddling like above.  About every half mile or so there were shoals but the water level was high enough that our boats only got hung up once or twice.  The problem we ran into was finding somewhere to stop.  There are many residences along this stretch and other than their private ramps the banks were too steep for stopping.  We did find a rocky outcropping on river left about 2.5 hours into the paddle that we were able to pull into and hop out for lunch.  
We had a surprise visitor there however.  When I was pulling Clay and his boat further in on the rocks something slithered by my foot in the water.  I screamed, Lauren screamed and jumped way up on a rock, and Clay laughed.  It was a little snake, maybe 2-2.5 feet long, but I HATE a snake in the water!  
I found this picture on Auburn University's Website and it appears to be the type of snake we saw.  A banded water snake is what they call it.

 Further downstream we saw the high bridge (the only bridge on this stretch) that marked Dames Ferry.  We knew from driving over this bridge many times in the past that there was a drop and a lot of shoals here.  The concerning part in this area is that above the drop there were large old metal rods sticking up out of the water, I am assuming they were part of an old bridge here.  We made it down the rocky drop without incident and it ended up being a fun little run.  Clay made it down ok but could get around or over a fallen tree on the route he had chosen.  We paddled back upstream to where he was and found this awesome little spot below.  We swam there and enjoyed a little shade before heading out for the last little bit of the trip.

 This area was actually about waist deep, Clay was sitting on the rocks and letting the waterfall cascade on him.  I sat up on the rock next to him for a while and the water felt great!   It was about another hour to the take out at Pope's ferry.  The entire trip took us 6.5 hours, this included our 30-45 minute stop for lunch and another 45-1 hour for swimming.  We also leisurely paddled or just let the current move us for most of the trip.

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