After a week of flash floods I decided to take advantage of the higher-than-usual waters at Chunky with my paddleboard. The point was to get in as much distance in a single day as possible so I put in off Hwy 80 about 2 miles west of Chunky (32°19'28.1"N 88°58'34.1"W – no public ramp) around 7:30 am. The river was just above 4 feet (3 feet is pretty much the minimum for paddling Chunky River. My first few miles were spent negotiating dead-fall against a pretty decent current in a really narrow section. I definitely didn’t stand on my board until somewhere around the second mile and even then I had to drop a few times (sometimes all the way to a prone position) to clear low hanging branches or fallen trees. Twice I had to get off my board and carry over an obstruction but somewhere around mile 5 the river widened and by the time I reached Chunky River Recreational’s ramp it was pretty much an open path.
Even with the higher level my fin still caught rocks several times. Fortunately I was paddling with a flexible fin that handled those with no problem. Also, I should mention I did this all on an inflatable board (Red Paddle 11’ Sport) which tends to bounce off stumps, rocks, and limbs where other boards might take a serious knock.
I was surprised at how litter-free my stretch generally was and I was also surprised at how beautiful parts were, particularly around my 17th mile (32°15'41.8"N 88°52'43.7"W), again nearing Stuckey’s Bridge (32°15'20.9"N 88°51'18.6"W), and also around Dunn’s Falls (32°13'43.9"N 88°49'18.4"W). Also, I kept myself coated with repellent so I went the entire day without a single mosquito bite.
I finished after 27.5 miles a few miles past Dunn’s Falls at Hwy 11 just north of Enterprise (32°11'31.4"N 88°49'30.6"W – no public ramp) at around 3:00 pm. Actual paddling time was almost 6 ½ hours, breaks added another hour or so to that. I’d definitely recommend the trip to other SUP boarders but I’d recommend them using public ramps. I'm only calling this "intermediate" because of the distance and because of the work making it through those first few miles. Aside from that there wasn't much to it.
Stand Up Paddling
River/Creek (Up to Class II)
Number of Portages:
There was hardly anything to the portages - just stepping out and right back in to cross a fallen tree.
Be aware of rocks, limbs, trees, stumps. Use mosquito repellent.
Nothing much - my paddleboard (Red Paddle Co 11' Sport), carbon fiber paddle, cooler bag with water and lunch, phone for GPS so my wife could track my location, field charger, GoPro
River was at approx 4.3 ft. Decent current. Still plenty of limbs, trees, and rocks to dodge.