Nineteen paddlers in fifteen boats braved the early morning deluge, which quit just in time to start paddling the Alapaha River from Statenville Boat Ramp to Sasser Landing, past many waterfalls, quite a few shoals, one real rapid, and an incoming river too fast to paddle up. Even a couple of unexpected boat ramps, one of them concrete.
Around every corner, a waterfall.
Outing leader and Outings Committee Chair Ronnie Thomas gave the safety briefing before we started.
It’s astonishing how many people showed up, considering the weather. Only two days ago, we didn’t know if there would be enough water.
Then it rained cats and dogs, which I thought would scare people off. Nope. Plenty of paddlers.
We had 78.1 feet NAVD88 (2 feet old-style) on the Statenville Gauge and 62.6′ NAVD88 (2′) on the Jennings Gauge, both rising as we paddled; the Jennings Gauge went up about half a foot before we got to it.
The downpour stopped, but a drizzle continued for a couple of hours. This was quite pleasant, keeping the heat down. And the water was still so shallow you can see the bottom.
Every WWALS outing is a cleanup, and everybody helped pick up all those beer cans and other stuff somebody left at Statenville Boat Ramp.
Waterfalls everywhere. I’ve given them names after their property owners. If any of them have real names, please let me know.
And lots of streams that weren’t waterfalls, most of them not in the USGS database.
A sand boat ramp, by Pine Bluff Baptist Church.
Lunch is always one of the most popular stops, and somebody found an excellent waterfall for it.
The famous lawn chair will get its own separate post.
The oddest thing we saw was a volleyball net stretched across the river.
Next to a fancy concrete boat ramp, owned by Bowfin Properties, LLC.
Some of the streams were stunning.
There were lots of little shoals, or ripples.
Random parts of the river look like postcards of some exotic subtropical locale.
This is the biggest clump I’ve seen on a river of these flowers that each bloom only one day.
Soon after entering Florida, we got both rapids and a big stream incoming.
These rapids will get their own blog post, with video.
Nobody succeeded in paddling up that. So nobody saw Turket Creek or Turket Creek Waterfall.
We made it!
Some of us didn’t even start paddling until about 10:30, but everybody was off the water by 3:45, so call it five hours and a bit. Some people apparently did it in four hours or less.
There were more rapids towards the CR 150 Bridge, but everybody had had enough for one day.
There are 100 more pictures on the WWALS website.
Here is a google map with links to each picture.
We will add most of the obvious sites to the Alapaha River Water Trail map.
As mentioned, there will be a couple more blog posts about this outing: the rapids! The lawn chair!
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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