Four miles an hour, Nankin to Sullivan, Withlacoochee River 2021-08-07

Update 2021-08-16: Two Withlacoochee River 360-degree transits by WWALS on Earthviews 2021-08-16.

Rain poured during the shuttle from Nankin Boat Ramp to Sullivan Launch, but the weather relented as we started to paddle, just as expedition leader and weatherman Bobby McKenzie predicted.

22 people paddled in 21 boats, entering Florida three times, past McIntyre Spring, Arnold Springs, the Valdosta Railway Trestle, and Horn Bridge. Only a few took out at State Line Boat Ramp, because they were musicians and they had a gig that same evening.

Almost all continued past PCA and Jumping Gully Creek to Sullivan Launch for a total of 14.22 miles in barely four hours. Subtract half an hour for the lunch stop at State Line Boat Ramp, and that’s 3.5 hours, for 4 miles per hour.

[Valdosta Railway Trestle in the middle]
Valdosta Railway Trestle in the middle

WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman left her boat in the truck until the last minute, because she did not want to paddle in the rain. WWALS President Tom H. Johnson Jr. and Mary Carolyn Pindar drove four hours for this outing, so they were going to paddle anyway, as was I.

[Banners at Nankin Boat Ramp by Gretchen Quarterman]
Banners at Nankin Boat Ramp by Gretchen Quarterman

The water level was 15′ (98.5′ NAVD88) on the Quitman (US 84) gauge and 14.5′ (61′ NAVD88) on the Pinetta gauge, which is at Sullivan Launch. Since the wide range of boats and paddlers had no problems, and the river was within its banks, we’re raising our recommended high water levels to half a foot above those levels.

[WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman (l), President Tom H. Johson Jr. (r), 09:00:49, 30.6749856, -83.3939359]
WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman (l), President Tom H. Johson Jr. (r), 09:00:49, 30.6749856, -83.3939359

The Withlacoochee River was moving right along under the Clyattville-Nankin Road Bridge.

[River under bridge, 09:02:47, 30.6749591, -83.3942053]
River under bridge, 09:02:47, 30.6749591, -83.3942053

Everybody had a good time.

[Happy boaters, little drizzle, 11:02:44, 30.6594140, -83.3752342]
Happy boaters, little drizzle, 11:02:44, 30.6594140, -83.3752342

[More boats behind, 11:02:49, 30.6580924, -83.3735458]
More boats behind, 11:02:49, 30.6580924, -83.3735458

McIntyre Spring was identifiable by its location and the water boiling up. It was enough to push my boat upstream. Russell Allen McBride was sweep for this paddle, to be sure nobody was left behind.

[McIntyre Spring, 11:37:33, 30.6407445, -83.3655935]
McIntyre Spring, 11:37:33, 30.6407445, -83.3655935

Bobby stopped at the private Pear Way Boat Ramp just inside Florida the first time to change batteries on the Gopro MAX 360 camera on loan from FishView. Watch FishView’s site for those pictures appearing there soon. WWALS has also bought one of those cameras.

[Florida: Bobby McKenzie battery change, Pear Way private boat ramp, 11:44:42, 30.6375091, -83.3576569]
Florida: Bobby McKenzie battery change, Pear Way private boat ramp, 11:44:42, 30.6375091, -83.3576569

The Valdosta Railway Trestle was visible as always. The Madison County Four Freedoms Trail on the old railbed ends just downstream of the trestle, with an observation platform just above. This is the same railroad still in use from Valdosta to Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) at Clyattville, GA.

[Valdosta Railway Trestle, 11:50:21, 30.6366033, -83.3511418]
Valdosta Railway Trestle, 11:50:21, 30.6366033, -83.3511418

[Boats at RR Trestle, 11:50:49, 30.6366033, -83.3511418]
Boats at RR Trestle, 11:50:49, 30.6366033, -83.3511418

The many shoals were occasionally noticeable by some chop in the water. These shoals are just past the railroad trestle, as we entered Florida the second time.

[Onwards over shoals, in Florida again, 11:51:05, 30.6366033, -83.3511418]
Onwards over shoals

Arnold Springs was easily identifiable by its surrounding trees. The spring boil was visible, with water slightly different color from the river water. Gretchen examined the boil.

[Arnold Springs, 12:09:03, 30.6412773, -83.3367288]
Arnold Springs, 12:09:03, 30.6412773, -83.3367288

There were two paddleboards, one inflatable.

[Twin paddleboards, 12:13:49, 30.6405866, -83.3331697]
Twin paddleboards, 12:13:49, 30.6405866, -83.3331697

How you know you’re approaching the state line for the third time: Horn Bridge, carrying GA 31. It took barely more than 2 hours to get there, down almost 8.88 river miles. That’s about four miles an hour, and we were not paddling hard.

[Horn Bridge, 12:34:24, 30.6360480, -83.3153589]
Horn Bridge, 12:34:24, 30.6360480, -83.3153589

People should stop using the land behind State Line Boat Ramp for a dump.

[Old computer, 13:07:54, 30.6357933, -83.3111688]
Old computer, 13:07:54, 30.6357933, -83.3111688

[Junk by river, 13:08:01, 30.6358640, -83.3106150]
Junk by river, 13:08:01, 30.6358640, -83.3106150

Re-embarking after the lunch stop at State Line Boat Ramp.

[Tom H. Johnson Jr. prepares to embark, 13:09:46, 30.6359160, -83.3110400]
Tom H. Johnson Jr. prepares to embark, 13:09:46, 30.6359160, -83.3110400

[Horn Bridge, Russell Allen McBride, 13:10:13, 30.6359157, -83.3110401]
Horn Bridge, Russell Allen McBride, 13:10:13, 30.6359157, -83.3110401

Around the first bend beyond Horn Bridge, we entered Florida the third time.

[Florida third time, 13:18:55, 30.6348194, -83.3092460]
Florida third time, 13:18:55, 30.6348194, -83.3092460

PCA has some nice private steel steps to the river.

[PCA Steps, 14:04:02, 30.6227740, -83.2699370]
PCA Steps, 14:04:02, 30.6227740, -83.2699370

The PCA steps are just upstream from Jumping Gully Creek, with a bridge over the creek to reach the steps. PCA owns the whole creek down to the river. PCA has both a Georgia and a Florida wastewater treatment permit.

[Mary Carolyn Pindar at Jumping Gully Creek, Russell Allen McBride at PCA steps, 14:07:03, 30.6224745, -83.2693107]
Mary Carolyn Pindar at Jumping Gully Creek, Russell Allen McBride at PCA steps, 14:07:03, 30.6224745, -83.2693107

There’s a long stretch on the left bank in Hamilton County before Sullivan Launch where cows walk right down into the river.

[Closeup cow prints, Deas Brothers Farms Inc, 14:30:01, 30.6002209, -83.2624044]
Closeup cow prints, Deas Brothers Farms Inc, 14:30:01, 30.6002209, -83.2624044

Last bridge on this paddle.

[CR 150 Bridge, 14:33:10, 30.5971713, -83.2603469]
CR 150 Bridge, 14:33:10, 30.5971713, -83.2603469

Thanks to Bret Miller of NWXpeditions for carrying some orphaned Riverkeeper staff back to Nankin.

[Bret Miller climbing Sullivan Launch, 14:53:39, 30.5960124, -83.2603578]
Bret Miller climbing Sullivan Launch, 14:53:39, 30.5960124, -83.2603578

There are more pictures on the WWALS website: https://wwals.net/pictures/2021-08-07–nankin-state-line-sullivan-pictures

The same pictures are on facebook.

See also facebook pictures by:

For more WWALS outings as they are posted, see: https://wwals.net/outings/

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

1 thought on “Four miles an hour, Nankin to Sullivan, Withlacoochee River 2021-08-07

  1. Pingback: Two Withlacoochee River 360-degree transits by WWALS on Earthviews 2021-08-16 | WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) is Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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