Ok, I think I have procrastinated on this report for too long, so I am sure that some details have already slipped away. Probably best to issue a paddle report as close to the trip as possible.
This trip was the first multi day excursion of 2019, and was planned for a little over a month to celebrate a friends birthday. It was potentially going to be 4 guys, then 3, then 2, this is how it goes sometimes. We initially had 3 different river options, but the weather took us to Wetumpka Alabama to float a 51 mile (or is it 45? Or is it 49? more on that soon) stretch of of the Tallapoosa River. The plan was to arrive on a Thursday night (March 21), camp at the outfitters and put in on Friday to start the trip. We would take out Sunday March 22. So 3 days, 2 nights on the river with 51 miles to go.
We used http://www.coosariveradventures.com/ to stay with the night prior to the trip, and to rent one canoe and shuttle us and my kayak to the put in. Chris the owner was very responsive in setting up the trip, and loves to talk details. It was all pretty seamless and easy in that regard.
A couple of details worth noting, this is a damn controlled river so it’s worth paying attention to river conditions https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?site_no=02419890 We also made sure to camp fairly high and to secure the boats at night. There is also cell service for AT&T pretty much the whole trip, my friend on this trip had Verizon and had service most of the way I think.
We put in around 10.30am Friday March 22, a mile or two below Thurlow Dam. The river was really moving when we put in, so I was hoping it would be a slightly more technical river than it turned out to be. The Tallapoosa is also apparently mined for silica, and when we went it, it was pretty brown and looked like someone had let off a glitter bomb! Not sure if it’s always like that or not. The river has a fairly quick flow to it, and we managed to average a pace of about 4 mph throughout the weekend, but the river doesn’t have many features both in the water and on the banks, so the pace seems really slow! It more or less has one view to it, so be prepared to put your head down and paddle away the hours!
We did 17-19 miles day 1 and found the worlds best camp spot. This is where dry sand is great, and makes things nice and comfy…but gets in everything! Plenty of good music, conversation and whiskey were had at this location.
Day 2, we didn’t push off till 12.30, because whiskey. Coffee, bacon and hard boiled eggs nursed us slowly back to health. We did another 17-19 miles of hard, hard monotonous paddling, and because of the late start, we didn’t make camp till almost 7pm. Campsite was at the tree line of a large sandy beach (maybe 50’ or more across). We pulled our boats all the way up to the tree line which turned out to be a great decision because in the morning the beach was half the size! The final day we did about 3 hours of paddling to get to the take out at Fort Toulouse Boat Ramp, with a short 10 minute drive back to the truck.
I loved that we didn’t see anyone else on the entire trip, and it was a good start to the season, especially since I was in a new kayak. But the struggle is real, and there were a few times I wanted to call it quits. I felt like I had gotten in a work out after this trip, and that doesn’t usually happen on most of these trips. I’m certainly glad I did this route, and I think if you’re up for some work it’s worth doing, but once.
Oh, apparently this trip has been rated before as a 45 mile, a 49 mile and a 51 mile. There are times it felt like a 100 mile trip.
2-3 Day Trip
Kayaking, Canoeing, Kayak Fishing, Fishing
Flat/Sheltered Water, River/Creek (Up to Class II)
Number of Portages:
Check river conditions for sure!
Riot Enduro 12' Angler
Old Town Canoe (Rental)
70º/40º No Rain.