Monday John E. drove down from Atlanta and met me at Suwannee River State Park. We spent the night. Tuesday morning we shuttled Johns van to the take-out at Hwy. 133 near Troupville. We then drove up to Reed Bingham State Park just off of Hwy. 37. We were on the river by 11:00 AM. There has been a lot of rain in south GA. The current was about 2 mph but the river is a continual series of twist and turns so we still needed to paddle. At the high water level all of the sandbars that we would normally camp on were under water but we found a nice spot of dry ground around 4 PM and set up camp. We paddled about 14 miles. On Wednesday we set out and continued to enjoy the river. It was overcast for most of the trip. After paddling about 18 miles we found a dry place to set up our tents. I gathered a large pile of firewood and was about to start heating my supper when the rain started. I got my soup hot before the clouds broke. The rain came hard and heavy from 5:30 PM until 7:00 AM then it stopped. Tents are wonderful inventions. All the wind and rain and still stay dry with just a little bit of thin fabric shielding.
Thursday we set out and the sky looked like rain so I put on my foul weather gear and my waterproof boots. Wearing this gear I learned a lesson. The river was moving fast because of the heavy evening rain. A loaded canoe does not turn as easily as an empty one or a kayak. About noon my boat came sideways with a branch that was too low for me to duck under but too high for the canoe to be stopped against. I was stuck with the choice of jumping from my canoe and making my way to shore or dumping the canoe with all my gear in the river and holding onto the canoe. Having been in this predicament before I know that one seldom dumps a loaded canoe. So I was in the water with a fast current. As I am a good swimmer this is not much of a problem but I was having a difficult time swimming. I finally got to a log and on dry land. What I discovered was that my foul weather gear is very waterproof and as I had the jacket unzipped it had filled with water along with my waterproof boots. So I was not just swimming myself to shore against a current but was being weighted down by several gallons of water that was trapped in my clothes.
I always try to learn something from each trip and I learned a lesson that could save my life. Do not paddle wearing gear that holds water unless it is absolutely necessary. And take it off as soon as it is not necessary. Anyway I carry extra gear and dried off and we paddled the remainder of the trip. The total trip was about 48 miles. We saw only two gators but both were over ten feet long, we surmised that they had eaten the rest of them. The Little River was a great trip my only recommendations is that it is probably not paddleable at normal water levels.