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.
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.
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.
The Withlacoochee River was moving right along under the Clyattville-Nankin Road Bridge.
Everybody had a good time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There were two paddleboards, one inflatable.
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.
People should stop using the land behind State Line Boat Ramp for a dump.
Re-embarking after the lunch stop at State Line Boat Ramp.
Around the first bend beyond Horn Bridge, we entered Florida the third time.
PCA has some nice private steel steps to the river.
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.
There’s a long stretch on the left bank in Hamilton County before Sullivan Launch where cows walk right down into the river.
Last bridge on this paddle.
Thanks to Bret Miller of NWXpeditions for carrying some orphaned Riverkeeper staff back to Nankin.
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:
- Gretchen Quarterman
- Helen Chaney
- Russell Allen McBride,
- Bobby McKenzie,
- Tom H. Johnson Jr.,
- Bret Miller,
- and no doubt others.
For more WWALS outings as they are posted, see: https://wwals.net/outings/
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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