Waterfalls, rapids, and a lawn chair: Statenville to Sasser Landing 2019-07-06

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.

[Ronnie, Shirley, Fountain, 13:50:02, 30.6253002, -83.0480667]
Ronnie, Shirley, Fountain, 13:50:02, 30.6253002, -83.0480667

Around every corner, a waterfall.

[Coles, BST north Waterfall, 10:47:12, 30.6952380, -83.0410148]
Coles, BST north Waterfall, 10:47:12, 30.6952380, -83.0410148

Outing leader and Outings Committee Chair Ronnie Thomas gave the safety briefing before we started.

[by Ronnie Thomas, 09:25:08, 30.7045025, -83.0334917]
by Ronnie Thomas, 09:25:08, 30.7045025, -83.0334917

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.

[Debbie Smith, 09:32:20, 30.7044533, -83.0326463]
Debbie Smith, 09:32:20, 30.7044533, -83.0326463

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.

[Drops, 10:55:37, 30.6936321, -83.0469900]
Drops, 10:55:37, 30.6936321, -83.0469900

Every WWALS outing is a cleanup, and everybody helped pick up all those beer cans and other stuff somebody left at Statenville Boat Ramp.

[Picking up, 09:37:17, 30.7045310, -83.0327155]
Picking up, 09:37:17, 30.7045310, -83.0327155

Waterfalls everywhere. I’ve given them names after their property owners. If any of them have real names, please let me know.

[With Coles, 11:11:25, 30.6876453, -83.0505680]
With Coles, 11:11:25, 30.6876453, -83.0505680

Yes, we are proud of the Alapaha River Water Trail road signs, which tell you where to turn from either direction on GA 94. You can be proud, too, by donating to help pay for them.

[Echols County, 08:47:27, 30.70445, -83.0367]
Statenville Boat Ramp, Echols County, 08:47:27, 30.7044500, -83.0367000

And lots of streams that weren’t waterfalls, most of them not in the USGS database.

[Shirley Kokidko, 11:20:03, 30.6856990, -83.0542965]
Shirley Kokidko at Rayonier Runoff, 11:20:03, 30.6856990, -83.0542965

A sand boat ramp, by Pine Bluff Baptist Church.

[Sand ramp, 12:00:35, 30.6687150, -83.0479270]
Gretchen Quarterman, Sand ramp, 12:00:35, 30.6687150, -83.0479270

Lunch is always one of the most popular stops, and somebody found an excellent waterfall for it.

[Lunch stop, 12:10:09, 30.6624446, -83.0460562]
Lunch stop, 12:10:09, 30.6624446, -83.0460562

The famous lawn chair will get its own separate post.

[Lawn Chair, 12:46:50, 30.6602371, -83.0471064]
Lawn Chair, 12:46:50, 30.6602371, -83.0471064

The oddest thing we saw was a volleyball net stretched across the river.

[Volleyball , 12:53:28, 30.6570615, -83.0497135]
Volleyball , 12:53:28, 30.6570615, -83.0497135

Next to a fancy concrete boat ramp, owned by Bowfin Properties, LLC.

[Quite a ramp, 12:53:55, 30.6570613, -83.0497135]
Quite a ramp, 12:53:55, 30.6570613, -83.0497135

Some of the streams were stunning.

[Cascades, 13:14:01, 30.6462111, -83.0522520]
Cascades, 13:14:01, 30.6462111, -83.0522520

Fallen island

[Steep pyramid, 13:25:34, 30.6387262, -83.0508057]
Steep pyramid, 13:25:34, 30.6387262, -83.0508057

There were lots of little shoals, or ripples.

[Two more boats, 13:36:33, 30.6329473, -83.0480180]
Two more boats, 13:36:33, 30.6329473, -83.0480180

Strickland waterfall, 03110202007212

[Closeup, 13:38:48, 30.6318560, -83.0475760]
Closeup, 13:38:48, 30.6318560, -83.0475760

Random parts of the river look like postcards of some exotic subtropical locale.

[Branches, Bend to the left, 13:45:52, 30.6274375, -83.0483853]
Branches, Bend to the left, 13:45:52, 30.6274375, -83.0483853

Halberdleaf Rosemallow

This is the biggest clump I’ve seen on a river of these flowers that each bloom only one day.

[Right bank roots, 13:55:38, 30.6221661, -83.0507693]
Right bank roots, 13:55:38, 30.6221661, -83.0507693

Soon after entering Florida, we got both rapids and a big stream incoming.

[20190706 141848, 14:18:48, 30.61535, -83.05679]
Upper Alapaha Conservation Area Creek, 14:18:48, 30.6153500, -83.0567900

Alapaha Real Rapids

These rapids will get their own blog post, with video.

[Extensive, 14:40:38, 30.6092122, -83.0619875]
Extensive, 14:40:38, 30.6092122, -83.0619875

Alapahoochee River

Nobody succeeded in paddling up that. So nobody saw Turket Creek or Turket Creek Waterfall.

[Coming down fast, 30.60204, -83.07403]
Coming down fast, 30.6020400, -83.0740300

Sasser Boat Ramp

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.

[Taking out, 15:41:00, 30.6007800, -83.0734857]
Taking out, 15:41:00, 30.6007800, -83.0734857

CR 150 Bridge

There were more rapids towards the CR 150 Bridge, but everybody had had enough for one day.

[Downstream, 15:42:54, 30.59878, -83.07333]
Downstream, 15:42:54, 30.5987800, -83.0733300

Google map

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.

[Lots of interesting sights]
Lots of interesting sights

As mentioned, there will be a couple more blog posts about this outing: the rapids! The lawn chair!

For more WWALS outings and events as they are posted, see the WWALS calendar or the WWALS outings and events web page. WWALS members also get an upcoming list in the Tannin Times newsletter.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!