Ramblings about my paddling experiences and my journey to becoming a river advocate

June 2012
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Friday June 15, 2012 Arriving at Paddle Georgia
Filed under: Paddle Georgia
Posted by: @ 6:16 pm

I am determined to document my experiences and thoughts about Paddle Georgia 2012 albeit after the fact.  I have more time now to contemplate my journey and also to articulate these thoughts in a mildly entertaining way.  I have received some great feedback on the few posts so far so I will continue to forge ahead.

This year was a little different in terms of logistics, Dan Jones, Dee Stone, Bonny Putney and I decided to go the hotel/self shuttle route.

We agreed that we would carpool from a central location in Atlanta and drive to Reidsville as a group.  The reasoning also was that this would somewhat reduce the carbon footprint of our trip. A kayak trailer was also available making this possible.  We met around 9 in the morning and were on the road by about 9:30. Little River Guy came along by popular demand.  The trip to Reidsville was about a four hour ride but this group has traveled together before and conversation flowed easily, making the time pass quickly.  Every time you spend time with folks in a car on an extended journey you always learn new things about them. Not everything learned will appear in this blog…. It turns out Dee loves ice cream as much as I do.  This made the fact that every small town in Georgia seems to have a Dairy Queen almost cruel. You never want to be the one to ask to stop for an ice cream but there was very little resistance (actually no resistance) to the suggestion and this leads me to believe that Dan and Bonny may be casual about the need for ice cream but are secretly ice cream fanatics like Dee and me.  Once we arrived at Deen’s Landing the magic that is Paddle Georgia began to unfold.  Deen’s Landing was the starting point for our Paddle on Saturday.

The logistics of moving 350 people down a river for a week have been refined over the 8 previous years that Paddle Georgia has been in existence.  The reality is at this point everyone is pretty darn good at it.  First order of business is to drop off your boat IF you are not taking the end of river shuttle back to Reidsville at the end of the trip. They say timing is everything and if you are taking the end of river shuttle back you load you boat in Darien (the end of the trip) on a semi and these boats are transported to Deen’s landing.  Of course as we were about to leave Deen’s landing the truck from Darien pulled up, there were a handful of folks on hand and none of us wanted to leave the task of unloading the 70 or so boats to them without lending a hand. Joe Cook mumbled something like “well you can go if you want to…..” with the look of a puppy in need of adoption.  This was also an opportunity for Joe to meet Little River Guy for the first time. For those of you that do not know Joe, he is the Executive Director of the Coosa River Basin Initiative.  Joe is also the visionary who came up with the idea that is now Paddle Georgia.

As an added bonus LRG also got to meet the legendary Doc Stephens who would be our paddling as our lead boat for the trip.

When the work is done here is one shot of what 400 kayaks and canoes (and 1 paddle board) in one place looks like. 

Photo by Alan Kendall

The work done, we prepare to leave Deen’s Landing but not before Little River Guy contemplates the trip ahead from Mile 0 on Paddle Georgia 2012.

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