Paddled 1-29-13: 16.4 miles (4.1 miles were repeated from previous week)
Trip: 1439.5 miles
Richard Grove and I went back below Rome Monday to work on the sections of the Coosa River and the Etowah that I had skipped. I’ve written about what a great day Monday was, knocking out seventeen miles that I had thought would take two days to paddle. We ate like kings that night in our camp at Lock and Dam Park, downriver from Rome—grilled steak, potatoes, whole grilled onions, and salad.
Tuesday was also great, for me, at least. Richard and I started out at GA 1 Loop on the east side of Rome, which was 4.1 miles below where I had left off in that section, but was the closest put-in available. That meant repaddling those miles, but it’s beautiful country, and I looked forward to it. Unfortunately, Richard injured his arm early on and had to turn back, which was particularly unfortunate because of the beautiful rock formations along this section of the Etowah. Richard is a fine paddling companion, and I missed his company, but still had a good day.
The river was much lower this day than it was when I was here earlier. The lower water level and velocity made my progress upriver easier, averaging just over 3 mph against the current. The lower level led to a good deal of river-walking, though. In all, I was out of the boat, pulling it up through shoals and over fish weirs six times. I was able to paddle through more shoals and up over more fish weirs than I had to drag the boat through, but I did have to switch from my preferred, single-bladed paddle to a two-bladed, kayak paddle for most of those. The two-bladed paddle allows me to deliver more power for pushing through really fast water, but I cannot sustain that level of effort all day like I can my cruising rhythm with the single-bladed, canoe paddle. Besides, I am a bit of a sloppy kayak paddler and tend to get pretty wet slinging that two-bladed paddle around.
I had already figured out that the approaching storm was going to dump quite a bit of rain and expected to be sidelined for a day or two. Unfortunately, it’s looking like it may be a bit longer. Here are the most recent river gage readings below Lake Allatoona, where I still have a little over 20 miles to paddle, and above Canton, the final section of the trip. The trends are looking like I may be sidelined a few more days.