Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chattooga River, Section IV: A Southeastern Classic

Remember Deliverance, the movie? Not the nasty bits, but the river scenery and the rapids? That's Section IV of the Chattooga River along the GA-SC border.

It thawed a bit and warmed up ten degrees, but there was still ice hanging from the bluffs and Tim forgot his drysuit. We lucked out though as there were boaters at the put in who offered to shuttle us back. And Tim found himself a spray top in town. Plus it was sunny much of the run.

Oh, what a run it is.

For you Alaskans, think Six Mile but all stretched out, and then five drops in a row with nice, calm pools in between. If Tellico was a Southeastern version of Ship Creek, then the "Corkscrew" was a double-sized Staircase; the "Crack in the Rock" an inside-out Suckhole; "Jawbone" a Merry Go Round without the hateful entrance, and "Socker Mom" (Sock 'em Dog) a fantastic double Jaws sized boof.

Luc said it was harder than Six Mile and Tim pointed out that it has worse consequences with sieves and potholes and entrapment. Over its 40 year boating history there have been many deaths.

The river flows through what feels like Piedmont as there are no mountains in view. Soon after leaving the bridge, the river left, northwest facing South Carolina side has icicles and rhododendron and fat pine. The river right southeast facing Georgia side had dry open woods, no rhodos and more oaks. It was striking: Appalachians at water line left and hot sunny south right side. It's a broad river, too except where it necks down to powerful chutes and chundering holes.

We all paddled the 2011 style Llama, Luc and Tim in the new spray decks which seem to be staying dry. None of us swam. I made a combat roll, dropping off a slide and trying to follow Adam with a quick turn in a lateral hole. He was amazed to see that packrafts roll. I swear that for me the foot pad makes all the difference.

The kayakers, Adam from Asheville, smiling Kate and her dad Mike, Kevin the ten year NOC instructor, and Dallas the itinerant boater who saw us on Tellico day before yesterday, were super fun to cross paths with. They caught us on the Five Falls, there at the end then chatted with us during the 2 mile lake paddle (kind of a buzz kill).

Luc shot amazing photos and video, but you're going to have to wait for it.

Until then, make do with my quick take on this super fun southern river.


  1. Great post & good times. You're in my backyard on this one. This post was a nice escape for me. I'm stacked up on the couch surfing on heavy pain meds ... surgery Friday AM to fix my neck. :P Keep them coming!!!

  2. Awesome! The video of you running Hazel Creek is what reassured me a PR would be usable here in the SE. I'm in Asheville so shoot me a heads next time you guys come down. I'd love to meet up, although I'm not sure I'm ready for 4s and 5s.


/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */