Alapahoochee River paddle, GA 135 to Sasser Landing, 2021-06-05

Leisurely paddle on the rarely visited Alapahoochee River from Georgia into the Alapaha River in Florida.

This is a short paddle but may have deadfalls to navigate depending on water levels. We’ve been trying to plan an outing on this river, also called Little River, Little Alapaha, or Grand Bay Canal, since 2014, so come on along! Bring ropes for the front and back of your boat.

Down this secluded winding blackwater river, we will cross the GA-FL line, see an antique road bridge, some Class II (moderate) rapids under the power line, and the very pretty Turket Creek waterfall, on the way to the Alapahoochee Confluence and our takeout on the Alapaha River.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 9:30 AM, end 11:30 AM, Saturday, June 5, 2021

Put In: GA 135 Bridge, 2.3 miles north of Jennings, Florida, 20 miles southeast of Lake Park, Georgia, by way of Jennings, and 12.5 miles south of Statenville, Georgia.
We’re hoping local musician Bird Chamberlain can direct us to the best side of the bridge and river to put in.
Be warned: “A take out can be done but it’s a steep 25 foot 45 degree slippery climb over sand covered rocks. Putting in would be less difficult but still not easy.” South Georgia Kayak Fishing, 2011-09-03.

GPS: 30.628652, -83.088283

Take Out: Sasser Landing

Bring: ropes on front and back of your boat, the usual personal flotation device, boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Come early or late and you can also help clean up trash at GA 376, where Elizabeth Reynolds reported a big mess more than a year ago.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay the $10 at the outing, or online:
https://wwals.net//donations/#outings

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Event: facebook, meetup

[Alapahoochee River, GA 135 Bridge, Swilley Road Bridge, Turket Creek waterfall]
Alapahoochee River, GA 135 Bridge, Swilley Road Bridge, Turket Creek waterfall

Duration: 2 hours

Shuttle: 8 miles, 12 minutes
This outing includes the traditional WWALS team shuttle. Everybody takes their boats to the put-in, most people drive to the take-out, and the drivers pile into one or two vehicles and go back to the put-in.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic will probably still not be over, we will require wearing masks and sitting by open windows on the team shuttle. If you can organize your own shuttle by having a relative drop you off, that’s even better.

Paddle distance: 3 miles

Paddle duration: 1.5 hours

Host: Bobby McKenzie

Contact: Bobby McKenzie

Gauge: USGS 02317500 Statenville Alapaha River.

USGS Statenville gauge

Right now the Alapaha is at 19.73 feet (95.83′ NAVD88). A year ago, on June 6, 2020, it was at 3.5′ (79.6′ NAVD88) and jumped to 12′ (88.1′ NAVD88) the next day.

Alapaha River levels of course don’t necessarily directly translate to Alapahoochee River levels, but both rivers get similar rainfall upstream, so they tend to have similar levels.

Paddlers at 2.5 feet (78.6′ NAVD88) reported “The float took less than two hours, we didn’t have to get out of the canoe at all and there were three or four excellent (for Florida) sets of rapids near the end of the run, including an over-the-edge drop of two feet in the last set.”

Paddlers at 1 foot (75.1′ NAVD88) reported for 2010-10-30-31:

A sense of adventure and humor were valuable assets to posses. Perhaps even more so than a paddle. Why, you ask? The forest canopies the river in beautiful arches along the entire run. The price you pay to enter this cathedral is that most of these lovely trees end their lives by falling across the very river they’ve shaded for so many years. We pulled through more branches than Cheetah and Tarzan ever did. Jack figured it had to be thirty fallen trees at least. I believe he boofed over all but two, but I may be mistaken. He’s absolutely disgusting. The rest of us Troglodites had to see the river the old fashioned way, we EARNED it.

deadfalls on the Alapahoochee River

As we progressed slowly downstream the embankments became more steep, and the rocks in the river bottom increased.

Below the Franklin Culpepper Bridge we encountered less fallen trees, but more shallow limestone riffles. We bumped our bottoms more than a fistful of toads in a marathon race. I don’t honestly know if we hit more rock, wood, or sand. There was plenty of each.

While the strainers were less in number the difficulty in passage increased, due to the higher banks on either side.

They started higher up at GA 376, and included our route as they went.

Backup: in case of high or low water is: Cancel due to water levels

More: For more WWALS outings and events as they are posted, see the WWALS calendar or the outings web page, https://wwals.net/outings/. 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!