Tag Archives: rapids

Big Shoals Scouting, Suwannee River 2021-05-14

Bring boat wheels and be ready for a half-mile portage around Big Shoals in the WWALS outing tomorrow.

[Portage Now, Big Shoals, Beach eddy, Banner at beach below shoals]
Portage Now, Big Shoals, Beach eddy, Banner at beach below shoals

That’s the conclusion from the Friday scouting organized by Park Manager Manny Perez and Randy Madison of Florida Trails, in conjunction with WWALS Intern Bobby McKenzie and Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. Park Ranger Peter Shanks led Randy, Bobby, and me to three possible put-ins below BIG Shoals. The third one is best, with a nice slope to a beach.

We are all for reasonable accommodation per our WWALS nondiscrimination policy, which in this case means you’ll need to be able to climb up at the take-out before the shoals, pull your boat for a half mile, including dragging it over a couple of rough spots, and slide it back into the water at the beach put-in. We can help, but you’ll need to do most of the work, because we’ll be pulling our own boats.

Click on any of the small pictures below to see a bigger one. There’s also a google map of the locations of these pictures. Continue reading

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

Continue reading

Big Shoals, Suwannee River, Florida, 2021-05-19

Update 2021-05-18: It’s a half mile portage, so bring boat wheels and be prepared to haul over some rough spots down to the beach of the two gators.

Paddle to and portage past the biggest rapids in Florida: Big Shoals and Little Shoals on the Suwannee River, on this short weekday trip.

[Big Shoals, 20 and 21 Feb 2021, Map]
Big Shoals, 20 and 21 Feb 2021, Map

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, end 2 PM, Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Put In: Big Shoals Tract Launch.
From White Springs, travel north on CR 135 to SE 94 Street (Godwin Bridge Road); turn right and follow road to Big Shoals, in Hamilton County.

GPS: 30.353167, -82.687333

Portage: The portage is 400 feet long.
Participants must be able to carry everything they bring from the beginning of the portage to the re-launch. Also must have fairly good physical conditioning and balance to climb up and down banks to re-launch.

Shirley Kokidko, experienced with this section of the Suwannee, says, “I’m 65 and I can do it, but it’s not easy, and takes a good bit of teamwork to get everybody re-launched. No children. Let’s keep this group to a safe number. On a weekday that probably won’t be a problem.”

Everyone must have a bowline, rope of any sort, very much needed to help lower boats back into the water after the portage. Continue reading

Sulak’s Defeat at Jennings Defeat 2020-08-26

Explorer Dr. Ken Sulak has solved an Alapaha River rapids naming mystery. He recounts:


So in 1797, Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote a poem inspired by a dream.

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
   Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

Insert three ‘A” and the dreamscape river becomes the Alapaha, and appropriately so. Yesterday, I embarked on the foolish idea of a solo kayak journey up 3 miles of the Alapaha from Sasser Landing (just below the confluence of the Alapaha and the Alapahoochee rivers) to the site of the 1800s Roebucks Ferry and later Roebucks Bridge.

[Jennings Defeat Rapids, Ogeechee Gum, GS&F RR trestle below CR 150]
Jennings Defeat Rapids, Ogeechee Gum, GS&F RR trestle below CR 150

That crossing brought settlers and other travelers from Jacksonville and Fernandina along the GA/FL border across the Alapaha to Miccotown, the old Seminole Indian town in the triangle of land protected by the two flanking rivers. The road/trail (gone now on both sides) continued west across the Alapahoochee at the site of the early 1900s Beatty Bridge (undoubtedly preceded in the mid-1800s by an undocumented ferry), and on to Hickstown in Madison County and westward. Miccotown became the first county seat of Hamilton County as the settlers suppressed the Seminoles and the old Indian town faded into obscurity in 1839. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Troupville, Little River Confluence, shoals, creeks, and Spook Bridge 2019-06-15

Update 2019-07-05:: Some WWALS videos on YouTube.

The first day of #PaddleGA2019 was a fun day, with a confluence, greetings by VIPs, creeks, small rapids, a limpkin, Valdosta’s notorious Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant Outfall, one bad water quality reading (not there), swimming, an even more notorious fracked methane pipeline, and Spook Bridge, with a pet deer across the river. Thanks to The Langdale Company for that takeout and the Port-A-Potty location, and thanks to the Battery Source for the loan of the golf cart to WWALS.

Here’s Gwyneth Moody, Georgia River Network Water Trail coordinator, getting her orange kayak in the water.

[Load 'em up, 07:51:54, 30.8515032, -83.3476099]
Load ’em up, 07:51:54, 30.8515032, -83.3476099

Somebody was flying a drone. Continue reading

Cypress Creek South (CR 6) to Cone Bridge, Suwannee River, 2019-05-04

Rescheduled due to low water. Now we’re starting at Cypress Creek Launch on CR 6, and paddling to Cone Bridge Ramp.

A quiet, tranquil 9.4 mile section of the Suwannee River on a paddle appropriate for paddlers of any level.

When: Gather 9:00 AM, Launch 9:30 AM, Saturday, May 4, 2019

Put In: Cypress Creek South Launch @ CR 6. From White Springs, Travel north on CR 135 to SR 6, turn right; travel east to the bridge. At the foot of the bridge, turn left onto road shoulder and follow the road to the river.
From Valdosta, GA, travel south on I-75 to exit 460 for FL-6 toward Jasper, FL; travel east 11.4 miles, turn right to stay on FL 6. Continue through Jasper onto Hatley Street, which becomes CR 6. Continue 14.5 miles to the left turnoff just before the Suwannee River.

GPS: 30.50737, -82.71711

Take Out: Cone Bridge Ramp. From Lake City, travel north on US 441 to NW Cone Bridge Road; turn left and follow road to ramp.

Bring: a rope to drag 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.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

Photo: John S. Quarterman, Cypress Creek South Launch, 2016-09-05
Photo: John S. Quarterman, Cypress Creek South Launch, 2016-09-05.

This paddle is on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail (SRWT). Continue reading

Cone Bridge, Big Shoals Portage, to Suwannee Wayside Park, Suwannee River, 2019-05-04

Update 2019-04-18: Due to low water, changed to Cypress Creek South (CR 6) to Cone Bridge, Suwannee River, still May 4, 2019.

This 15.6 mile paddle includes a strenuous portage around Big Shoals, the biggest whitewater rapids in Florida and paddling over a smaller set of rapids at Little Shoals. Due to the portage which involves climbing up and down steep, sandy banks with kayaks, carrying kayaks 300 feet and lifting over downed trees, this trip is listed as difficult. You must be physically able to get back into your kayak on the slippery edge of this swift moving section of the Suwannee River. We help each other as much as possible, but ultimately you are responsible for your boat. We will take a break at the shoals and enjoy the outstanding view. No one is paddling over the shoals and this portage is the only way around.

When: Gather 8:30 AM, Launch 10 AM, Thursday, May 4, 2019

Put In: Cone Bridge Ramp, From Lake City, travel north on US 441 to NW Cone Bridge Road; turn left and follow road to ramp in Columbia County.

GPS: 30.445156, -82.670845

Take Out: Suwannee Wayside Ramp, From White Springs, travel south on US 41 to the river; the ramp is on the south side in the town park. Hamilton County.

Bring: a rope to drag 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.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Cone Bridge Boat Ramp, 2015-11-22
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Cone Bridge Boat Ramp, 2015-11-22

This paddle is on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail (SRWT). Continue reading

Pictures: US 84 to Mayday, Alapaha River 2016-05-07

Waterfalls on the Alapaha River?

[Movie: Waterfall (786K), 30.87078, -83.02267]
Movie: Waterfall (786K), 30.8707800, -83.0226700

Two weeks after the WWALS outing from US 84 to Mayday, some of us who didn’t make that one paddled the same stretch. The earlier crew had smooth sailing. We had rapids and waterfalls, because the Alapaha River was feet lower on the Statenville USGS Gauge. Continue reading

Karen and Tom Johnson Collage

Karen and Tom Johnson travelled many a time three or four hours from Pine Mountain, Georgia, to paddle with WWALS on our outings. Some of us are planning to go to Pine Mountain this Saturday:

HEAR YE! HEAR YE!
Memorial Service/Funeral for Karen Toms Johnson:

11:00 A.M., Saturday, September 22, 2018.
1st UMC Pine Mountain, Georgia.
Rev. Liza Marler, officiating pastor.
Luncheon to follow with Karen Storytelling emcee’d by T3.
Memorial Service attendees are STRONGLY encouraged to attend the luncheon.

When: Tuesday-Friday 18-21 September 2018

Where: Post your pictures online here.

Event: facebook, meetup

Here is the obituary Tom wrote for Karen.

We would like to take with us a collage of pictures of Karen and Tom on WWALS outings (or elsewhere). Please post your pictures here (on this blog post, facebook event, etc.) or email them to wwalswatershed@gmail.com.

Here are some examples:


Photo: Bret Wagenhorst, of Tom and Karen Johnson, winners, farthest, BIG Little River Paddle Race 29 April 2017.

Continue reading