We put in at Gilmer County Park (1561 S. Main St. Ellijay, Ga). The put in is at the far left of the rec area, under some trees.
It started off nice and calm, slow moving and we were able to watch birds and butterflies flitter around.
Two whitewater kayakers (in the full gear) passed us and took out. They had paddled through and camped over night on up the Cartecay/Coosawatee.
We continued on, going under 3 bridges and through some faster moving water, and passed some gorgeous homes and properties (even if some of them have landscaped with highly invasive English Ivy... Like seriously, w.t.heck!?).
Wildlife was abundant - ducks (and ducklings), Canada geese (and go
We hadn't made it half way when the excitement happened...
Maybe we were over confident, maybe we were ill-prepared, but we came upon some pretty good 'rapids' (not sure if they were even class II) and we both tipped. I was paddling my very first kayak- a sit in 9.0 ft Dagger Zydeco and she has a sit on top Wilderness Systems (i'll edit with length, etc). My boat swamped and swiftly left me behind (I was clutching my paddle, so there's that!!) Her boat flipped and she lost her phone (luckily our keys and other important stuff was in the dry wells). Strike 1 on my Zydeco for not having any...
We managed to get her boat flipped, and her back on it as we watched my boat float on down stream. Unfortunately the phone was never to be seen again. My phone was in a pocket on my life vest, and is somehow still functioning (Samsung Active, aka Bad-A-phone!!)
She went and got my boat and paddled over to some rocks and waited on me (for a while). There were a lot of rocks/boulders so i took the feet first floating position.
I got to them eventually and it was a major effort to dump the water from the boat. I DEFINITELY need a BILGE PUMP (ordered one)! (but it probably would have floated away with my water bottle :( ) I was not familiar enough with my boat to know where the drainage plug is! (24 hrs later and a lot of googling and I found it!)
We loaded back up and floated on. We were definitely more wary after this incident. She came off of her boat two more times. I had to pull over and attempt to dump the water from my boat again... I was literally almost at water level and I had very little control. (A spray skirt would have prevented this, and maybe also prevented me from tipping over?). I feel like I was doing something wrong...
There were a few sections where the paddler definitely needed some technical paddling skills. Which i definitely do not have. I will be looking into 'Paddling School'!! There was one pretty good drop off where I almost tipped over again. I attempted to check where we were on the river, but I had no service...
There was a short side paddle to a nice waterfall (See pic).
Eventually the river widened and slowed, this is where it opened up into Carter's Lake.
We saw a bald eagle fly over! That was pretty spectacular!
SO- from the opening to the boat launch, it is another 1. something mile... we were absolutely wrecked by then, and it was pretty miserable (we had both lost our water bottles in the melee.
In all, this was an 12-13 mile and 6 hour trip.
We took out at the Ridgeway boat launch, loaded the boats and drove back up the the drop off point at Gilmer Park.
Tips - have dry wells and/or dry bags (that are attached to your body or the boat), attach water bottles to something if they are not stowed, do not do this solo unless you are experienced... I would have been completely screwed had I been alone...
Also, take a rope/leash just in case.
This was definitely a learning experience!
Flat/Sheltered Water, River/Creek (Up to Class II)
Number of Portages:
Bilge pump - ordered
PFD with waterproof pockets - (DO THEY EXIST??? is this a unicorn/white whale situation???)